Easy Keto Cacio e Pepe with Zucchini Noodles: A Delicious Low-Carb Recipe


Discover the Delight of Keto Cacio e Pepe with Zucchini Noodles

Imagine twirling your fork through a plate of creamy, peppery pasta without any of the carb guilt. That’s exactly what you get with Keto Cacio e Pepe with Zucchini Noodles. This dish is a keto enthusiast’s dream, transforming a beloved Italian classic into a low-carb feast. Here, we’ve swapped traditional pasta for nutritious zucchini noodles, ensuring every bite is aligned with your health goals while still bursting with flavor.

Not only is this recipe a perfect fit for those on a keto diet, but it’s also incredibly easy to prepare, making it an ideal choice for a quick dinner or a luxurious lunch. With its rich blend of cheeses and the bold kick of black pepper, you’ll be savoring each forkful without compromising your dietary needs.

Keto Cacio e Pepe with Zucchini Noodles

The Heart of Keto Cacio e Pepe with Zucchini Noodles

This recipe for Keto Cacio e Pepe is more than just a meal; it’s a testament to the versatility and creativity that the keto lifestyle affords. Born from the desire to enjoy the rich flavors of Italian cuisine without the carbs, this dish is a harmonious blend of simple ingredients that come together to create a complex tapestry of taste.

At the heart of this dish are the zucchini noodles, which stand in for traditional pasta. Zucchini is a keto powerhouse, low in carbs but high in essential nutrients like potassium, vitamin C, and antioxidants. When spiralized and cooked to perfection, they provide the perfect backdrop for the creamy cheese sauce.

The combination of Pecorino Romano and Parmesan cheese is what gives this dish its name and its soul. Both cheeses are keto-friendly, offering a good amount of fat and protein while being low in carbs. They melt together with butter and black pepper to create a sauce that’s both comforting and indulgent.

Each ingredient has been chosen not only for its flavor but also for its nutritional profile, ensuring that you can enjoy this Italian classic while staying firmly within the bounds of your keto diet. The result is a dish that’s as nourishing as it is delicious, perfect for anyone looking to indulge their pasta cravings without the carbs.

Creamy Cheese Sauce

Mastering the Keto Cacio e Pepe Method

The key to a successful Keto Cacio e Pepe lies in the preparation of the zucchini noodles. It’s crucial to remove as much moisture as possible to prevent a watery sauce. After spiralizing, a sprinkle of salt and a rest on paper towels will draw out excess liquid. A gentle squeeze ensures your noodles are ready for the pan.

When cooking the noodles, aim for an al dente texture. Just a few minutes in the skillet is enough. Overcooking will lead to mushy noodles, which won’t hold the sauce well. As for the sauce, the butter and cheese should meld into a velvety consistency that clings to your zoodles. If it’s too thick, a splash of water can help achieve the perfect creaminess.

Don’t rush the toasting of the black pepper; this step is what gives the dish its signature depth. The aromatic oils released during toasting are essential to the flavor profile. Combine the cheese and pepper with the butter over low heat to avoid separating the fats and proteins, which can result in a grainy sauce.

Zucchini Noodles Cooking

Variations to Spice Up Your Keto Cacio e Pepe

Spicy Keto Cacio e Pepe

For those who enjoy a little heat, adding a sprinkle of red chili flakes to the black pepper can elevate the dish. The warmth of the chili complements the sharpness of the cheeses, creating a more complex flavor profile.

Creamy Avocado Keto Cacio e Pepe

Introduce some healthy fats and a creamy texture by blending in ripe avocado with the cheese sauce. The subtle taste of the avocado won’t overpower the cheese and pepper but will add a rich smoothness to the dish.

Meaty Keto Cacio e Pepe

Incorporate some crispy pancetta or bacon into the recipe for an added savory element. The saltiness of the meat pairs well with the cheeses and can make the dish more satisfying as a main course.

Substitutions for Your Keto Cacio e Pepe

While the traditional recipe is already keto-friendly, you might find yourself in need of substitutions. If you don’t have Pecorino Romano, you can use more Parmesan or another hard, aged cheese like Asiago. These cheeses offer similar textures and flavors that work well in the sauce.

If you’re dairy-sensitive, ghee can replace the butter for its buttery taste without the lactose. And for a nuttier twist, almond flour can be used to thicken the sauce if needed, instead of traditional flour, keeping the dish gluten-free and keto.

For those avoiding dairy altogether, nutritional yeast can provide a cheesy flavor without the actual cheese. Combine it with a keto-friendly milk alternative for a creamy sauce that aligns with your dietary needs.

Frequently Asked Questions

Question Answer
Can I make this dish ahead of time? It’s best enjoyed fresh, but you can prep the zoodles and cheese sauce separately and combine before serving.
Can I freeze the zucchini noodles? Freezing is not recommended as it will change the texture and make them watery upon thawing.
Is this dish vegetarian? Yes, as long as you use cheeses that don’t contain animal rennet.
How can I make this dish creamier? Add a splash of heavy cream to the cheese sauce for extra richness.
What can I do if my sauce is too thin? Allow the sauce to simmer on low heat to reduce and thicken, or add more cheese gradually.


Keto Cacio e Pepe with Zucchini Noodles

Indulge in the creamy, peppery goodness of Cacio e Pepe transformed into a keto-friendly delight with spiralized zucchini noodles. A perfect blend of cheese and spice that allows you to enjoy an Italian classic while sticking to your low-carb lifestyle.
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Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Course Dinner
Cuisine Italian
Servings 2 people
Calories 325 kcal


  • Spiralizer
  • Large skillet
  • Cheese grater
  • Mixing bowls


  • 2 medium Zucchini (about 500g / 1.1 lbs)
  • 1 tablespoon Olive oil (15ml)
  • 1 teaspoon Freshly ground black pepper (2g)
  • ¾ cup Grated Pecorino Romano cheese (90g)
  • ¼ cup Grated Parmesan cheese (30g)
  • 2 tablespoons Unsalted butter (28g)
  • Salt to taste (optional, as the cheese is already salty)
  • Fresh parsley for garnish (optional)


  • Begin by preparing your zucchini noodles (zoodles). Wash and trim the ends of the zucchini, then use a spiralizer to create noodles. If you don't have a spiralizer, you can use a julienne peeler or a mandoline. Place the zoodles on paper towels and sprinkle with a little salt to draw out the moisture. Let them sit for 10 minutes, then gently squeeze out excess water.
  • Heat a large skillet over medium heat, and add the olive oil. Once hot, add the zucchini noodles to the skillet. Cook, tossing frequently with tongs, for about 2-3 minutes until they are slightly softened but still al dente. Remove from heat and set aside in a bowl.
  • In the same skillet, add the unsalted butter and melt over medium heat. Once melted, add the black pepper and toast it for about 1 minute until fragrant, being careful not to burn.
  • Reduce the heat to low and add the Pecorino Romano and Parmesan cheeses to the skillet, stirring quickly to combine with the butter and pepper. If the sauce is too thick, add a tablespoon of water at a time to reach the desired consistency. The sauce should be creamy and coat the back of a spoon.
  • Add the zucchini noodles back to the skillet with the cheese sauce. Toss everything together until the zoodles are well-coated and heated through. If necessary, adjust seasoning with salt, keeping in mind the cheeses are already salty.
  • Plate the Keto Cacio e Pepe with Zucchini Noodles and garnish with fresh parsley if desired. Serve immediately for the best texture and flavor.


Ensure to remove as much moisture as possible from the zucchini noodles before cooking to prevent a watery sauce. Adjust cheese and pepper to taste.


Calories: 325kcalCarbohydrates: 8gProtein: 15gFat: 27gFiber: 3gNet Carbs: 5g
Keyword Keto Cacio e Pepe, Keto Italian Recipe, Low Carb Pasta, Zoodles, Zucchini Noodles
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