In the past, I have been an advocate of certain traditional dishes and spaghetti carbonara was at the top of that list. I don’t think all grains are hell-sent or that carbs will jump out at you in the middle of the night, but at this stage in my life a giant plate of pasta just isn’t part of my eating plan. The ensuing blood sugar rollercoaster isn't optimal for a lot of other athletes, either.


For a long while, I skulked around, missing my favourite dish. Occasionally I just had it because I don’t believe in denying myself anything, but I felt like crap afterwards. Then by chance, I bought a discount hamper of short-dated stuff from a local deli which included a couple of tins of cannellini beans. They sat there for a week or so before it occurred to me to make this dish with them.


I've swapped out the refined flour pasta for a pulse-based dish even more convenient than the original classic. For those training hard, the beans are similar in calorie density to pasta with the added bonuses of essential minerals, protein, and fibre. Cannellini carbonara. It even sounds good.


Cannellini Carbonara

Breaking Muscle Shop

This recipe even more convenient than the original spaghetti carbonara.


Prep Time: 2 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Yield: Serves 4



  • 2 400g tins of cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 250g lardons or diced streaky bacon
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 100g Parmesan cheese
  • 6 egg yolks
  • Salt and pepper



  1. Put a saucepan of salted water on to boil.
  2. Put the bacon and garlic cloves into a large frying pan and set over a high heat. Stir regularly to ensure even cooking. It should take about 10 minutes until the pancetta and garlic are crispy.
  3. Whilst this is cooking, pour the beans into the saucepan of salted water and turn the heat down to a simmer.
  4. In a separate jug, mix the egg yolks with the parmesan. A little pro tip: grab a fork to stir the egg and cheese mixture, then slowly add a ladle full of the simmering bean water to the mixture and stir it continuously.
  5. When the bacon is crispy, take if off the heat. Add a little of the bean water to this pan to lift any of the delicious flavour off the bottom of the pan.
  6. Drain the beans, add them to the bacon pan and mix thoroughly. Then add the egg mix and stir briskly.
  7. Serve on warm plates topped with copious amounts of fresh black pepper and more parmesan. Boom - done.


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Photo courtesy of Tim Harrison.

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