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Chicken and Cabbage Carbonara

I’m tired.  It’s been a long week, and it’s only Monday Tuesday Wednesday morning.  It feels like Friday.  Last week’s Friday Night Dinner seems like a whole week ago.  I am still trying to fathom out how so many days slipped past without me getting this post up.

The Friday Night Dinner was a complete experiment, encouraged by the success of this Friday Night Dinner side, from a few weeks ago.  I didn’t need much encouragement.  If cauliflower could totally replace rice, what on earth would happen if we found something to replace tagliatelle or spaghetti??  We could change the world.  Or at least make it all more manageable when we needed a pasta fix but didn’t want to turn into a hippo in the process.  We’d change the world, I tell you!

So I came up with a dastardly scheme to make Spaghetti Carbonara.  With no spaghetti.

Chicken and Cabbage Carbonara

I used Napa Cabbage because it looks the most like tagliatelle or spaghetti when thinly sliced crosswise.  Napa Cabbage also has a more delicate flavor then other cabbages, which seemed like it would work better when masquerading as a pasta imposter.  I used one of the most well-known pasta sauces as a base so that there would be something familiar to the taste buds.  And then I added a decent chunk of chicken because just changing the pasta to cabbage still wouldn’t make it *SANE.  *SANEr, for sure, but for some real *SANEity, it needed more protein.  And chicken starts with a “c”, so chicken it was.  Yes.  I really did pick the protein because of the first letter of its name.  Sometimes, that’s as good a reason as any.

It turned out rather well.  It didn’t look as much like Spaghetti Carbonara as I had dreamed it would; and it didn’t have the same texture as pasta – but it was very tasty and more way more filling.  Farmer Becky and The Big Guy loved it, but then it did have bacon in it.  I’ve fiddled with the recipe since I made it, to make it simpler and easier to cook.  Give it a whirl and see if it fixes your pasta cravings.

Chicken and Cabbage Carbonara

I made Gazpacho Salad to go with it – a big salad with big flavor, but any number of salads would do the trick here.  Given the large amount of cabbage in the main dish, I would suggest serving a salad that was mainly other veggies, rather than lettuce, just to mix it up.  There is an insane amount of cabbage in this dish – you’ll totally trick any non-veggie lovers into consuming vast quantities of the green stuff without realizing it.  The *SANEity quotient of this dish is huge.  We love that.

If you read the Gazpacho Salad post you’ll know that we were all exhausted.  I blame that for my creativity-lacking shots.  Sorry about that.  It looks much better in real life.  Rustle up a casserole dish for yourself, you’ll see.

Chicken and Cabbage Carbonara
Author: Carrie Brown |
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 4
  • 2 TBSP coconut oil
  • 1½ lb / 670g chicken meat, cut into thin strips
  • ½ lb / 225g bacon slices, chopped
  • 1 very large or 2 medium heads Napa Cabbage (3 – 4 lb / 1345 – 1790g), very thinly sliced crosswise
  • 4 eggs
  • ½ cup / 4 fl oz.heavy cream (double cream)
  • Sea salt and pepper
  1. Heat the coconut oil in a large skillet.
  2. Cook the chicken strips until they are golden brown.
  3. Remove from the skillet with a slotted spoon. Place the strips in a dish and cover with foil to keep warm.
  4. Cooked the chopped bacon in the same skillet until crisp.
  5. Add the shredded cabbage to the skillet and stir-fry with the bacon for two minutes, turning frequently.
  6. In a small bowl, beat together the eggs and cream. Season with salt and pepper.
  7. Add the egg mixture to the bacon and cabbage in the skillet and stir continually until it is all well mixed and the eggs and cream have thickened. This could take several minutes.
  8. Once the cream and eggs are thick, stir in the chicken strips and turn the mixture into a serving dish.
  9. Broil under a hot grill for a few minutes until the top bubbles and turns golden brown.

Chicken and Cabbage Carbonara with Gazpacho Salad



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  • Spaghetti carbonara. With no spaghetti. « Lipomachia[…] @ 30 lbs; triceps presses, 3×15 @ 80 lbs). So – I awarded myself with this recipe: Chicken and Cabbage Carbonara. I had made some cabbage lasagna with mushrooms before, so the concept of using cabbage in lieu of […]ReplyCancel

  • lizHi Carrie
    I came across the SANE podcast a few months ago and I am now totally hooked.
    Re tagliatelli. Have you ever tried using courgette? I have managed to fool my husband that he was eating spaghetti.
    You put it through a gadget called a spirali- German origin, big in the raw food scene.
    Raw food recipes and SANE have been a revelation for me. Thanks for all your contributions and awesome photos.
    You often say what I feel when chatting with Jonathon Bailor.
    40 years of confusion and yoyoing. Now in Remission from lymphoma my health is all the more important.
    Thank you for your help and enthusiasm

    • carrieHi Liz,

      Yes! There are courgette-for-spag recipes here: is one of them. I am so happy that you found SANEity and are finding it such a benefit to your life! We are honored and humbled to have been able to help in some small way with your health.ReplyCancel

  • lizthanks Carrie- so is courgette called squash in America? I was assuming you meant pumpkin/ spaghetti squash in this recipeReplyCancel

    • carrieCourgette = zucchini (green) or yellow squash (yellow). There’s a billion different types of squash in America, it’s very confusing! I used what you call courgette, some were yellow-skinned, some were green-skinned. Hope that helps!ReplyCancel

  • KanukGurlI tried my hand at this tonight. Somewhere I seem to have gone wrong. When I added the egg/cream mixture, I basically got scrambled eggs, nothing sauce like that would thicken. Any thoughts? The dish still turned out okay taste-wise, it just wasn’t what I was expecting.ReplyCancel

    • carrieHi KanukGurl – lower the heat and make sure that you are stirring continuously as soon as you add the egg / cream mixture. Hope that helps!ReplyCancel

  • Ladyp1234Made this tonight with the chicken on the side and with white cabbage. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and my veg hating daughters ate it. They wouldn’t go as far to say they enjoyed it but they did say it was the best cabbage they’d eaten!ReplyCancel

  • SarahYummy! Another hit from your recipe bank! I halved it for the husband and I and served it with your Gazpacho Salad. A great combo! Can’t wait to try more recipes.ReplyCancel

    • carrieHi Sarah – this carbonara was a huge hit when I first posted it. Glad it’s making you happy, too!ReplyCancel

  • GordonHi Carrie. Would I be right in saying that double cream in uk would be the equivalent of heavy cream? (PS. Love your blogs!)ReplyCancel

    • carrieGordon – yes! I normally put that in the recipe. I’ll go fix that right now!ReplyCancel

  • danielleDelish. Thank you. I sprinkled it with parm cheese before broiling. Sane?ReplyCancel

  • JenniferI just made this and it was amazing! I have never been a cabbage fan, although I know how healthy it is. Even my teen daughter, who is not the healthiest eater, asked for seconds. We will definitely be making this again. Thanks, Carrie, for sharing such delicious, nutritious, SANE recipes with us!!!ReplyCancel

  • 2014 Healthy Meal Plan: WEEK 3 | Half Size Me[…] Chicken and Cabbage Carbonara (from Marmalade and Mile Posts) […]ReplyCancel

  • angela@spinachtigerLove this. I’ve seen cabbage made with chicken. Not sure it’s carbonara but it sure looks fantastic. I’m thinking of adding in a little freshly braised fennel to the mix. Actually possibilities are endless. I’ve been eating Paelo for a few months now (with an 80% success rate) and when I see recipes like this, I don’t feel deprived in any way. I’m now thinking that bread filled dishes are less than desirable.ReplyCancel

  • Braised Cabbage » Carrie Brown | Life in the SANE lane[…] Shrimp, or any number of other SANE and saucy things.  I also used cabbage instead of pasta in my Chicken and Cabbage Carbonara, and that was all kinds of […]ReplyCancel

  • BethCarrie – greeting from Maine – thank you SO UCH for these wonderful recipes. I was beginning to get SO BORED on a keto diet (but doing awesome!!) and Carrie to the rescue!! Love the chicken cabbage carbonara so much. XxooBethReplyCancel