I’m seriously in love with black garlic. Aside from its treacly, balsamic flavour I love the way the soft, velvety cloves squish effortlessly into whatever your cooking it with. And it’s good for you too, packing more antioxidants than regular garlic.
A quick, dairy-free paleo Carbonara recipe with salty pancetta, courgette spaghetti and antioxidant-rich black garlic.
So what is it that makes the garlic black in colour? The good news is that it’s just regular, fresh garlic that goes through a process including heat and humidity for about a month. It gets its distinctive colour from the reactions that take place, leaving behind sweet, sticky cloves that you can eat raw. If you don’t like the taste of raw, spicy garlic, I think you should definitely give black garlic a go. And if you love it as much as I do, you’ll probably end up snacking on it straight from its papery skin. There’s no garlic breath afterwards, either. Sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it?
Black garlic goes well with fish, especially white fish like bass or cod. It’s also gorgeous chopped and sprinkled into hot, sizzling roasted sweet potato chunks or cooked with chicken. Try it chopped and added to burgers or mashed up and whisked into salad dressings.
Before my Paleo days, I used to chop up black garlic and stir it into creamy spaghetti carbonara sauces for an unusual, savoury-sweet flavour. Now I don’t eat pasta or dairy I love it in this Paleo, dairy-free version. Spiralised courgettes have replaced the starchy pasta and I’ve made it using a couple of egg yolks, for a creamy, rich sauce. I love how the sweet, black garlic contrasts with the salty, crispy pancetta. One of the tricks with this recipe though is not to overcook the courgettes. I like them stir-fried for about 5–7 minutes, so they still have a bit of crunch to them as you bite. Leave it much longer and your courgette spaghetti might end up soggy, waterlogged and difficult to twirl around your fork.
To keep this carbonara dairy-free I’ve added in a pinch of nutritional yeast, which gives a slightly cheesy flavour to the sauce. If you do eat cheese, feel free to sprinkle over some grated Parmesan instead, or whisk a little in with the egg yolks before pouring them into the pan. This recipe is suitable for those on the Autoimmune Protocol if you’ve reintroduced egg yolks. If not, then just leave the egg yolks out and drizzle the finished dish with some extra virgin olive oil instead.
I hope you love it!
- 75g pancetta or smoked, streaky bacon, chopped
- 1 tsp mild unflavoured coconut oil, if needed
- 2 medium courgettes
- 2 large cloves black garlic, peeled from their skins and chopped roughly
- 2 egg yolks
- Pinch of nutritional yeast
- Salt to taste
- First, set a large frying pan or wok on a gentle heat and tumble in the pancetta or bacon. Allow it to come to a sizzle, rendering down the fat from the meat. If your pancetta or bacon isn't very fatty, then add a teaspoonful of coconut oil or your preferred cooking fat to help it along.
- While the pancetta is cooking, spiralise your courgettes on a medium setting. If you don't have a spiraliser just carefully cut them into strips using a vegetable peeler or julienne peeler.
- Once the pancetta is fully cooked and slightly golden, add the courgette spaghetti to the pan. Stir in the chopped black garlic. Leave the veggies to cook in the bacon-y fat until the courgette spaghetti is just cooked but still has a bit of crunch in the centre.
- Quickly beat the egg yolks with the nutritional yeast. Once the courgettes are cooked to your liking, turn off the heat under the pan and then quickly add the egg yolk mixture. Stir well, making sure the egg yolk coats all the courgette strands - it'll mix with the juices in the pan and create a silky sauce. Add a tiny splash of water if you think it needs it. Keep stirring for a minute or two, cooking the egg yolk sauce through gently in the residual heat of the pan.
- To finish, season the carbonara with a little salt and take to the table. Serve hot.