Zucchini Noodle Cacio e Pepe

gluten freevegetarian
Cacio e Pepe with Coconut Bacon

Cacio e Pepe with Coconut Bacon

The moment you’ve all been waiting for: my recipe for coconut bacon.

If you’re one of my readers who asked for this recipe last week when I posted it again and again on Instagram and Snapchat, then you’re in luck – the time has come!

Cacio e Pepe with Coconut Bacon

Lately, I’ve been reconsidering going vegan.

… crickets ….

I know that many of you are actually vegan and vegetarian that follow this website, but from past surveys, most of you are simply gluten-free, health conscious, Paleo or doing a Whole30.

Cacio e Pepe with Coconut Bacon

I hate to turn away my most loyal, happy readers by going vegan and not posting healthy meat-friendly recipes.

However, if I do decide to do go vegan or do a vegan month, I would always include something like, “Goes well with: [insert protein here.]” Just talking “out loud” here.

I’ve been wanting to share this coconut bacon recipe for a while, and I’m actually going to make a video on it soon, because it’s just that good! It really does have that smoked bacon-y flavor, it’s incredible!

Cacio e Pepe with Coconut Bacon

I first spotted it at a vegan restaurant in NYC, but I forgot about the concept until I saw it again over at Cookie and Kate (she’s my favorite vegetarian food blogger!)

So, I decided to make my own version to share with you all! Now, there are some flavorings you can add to the coconut bacon to suit your preferences – if you like a little more smoke, add in a pinch of smoked paprika. If you like it really salty, add in a more generous seasoning of salt.

There are also different flavors of liquid smoke – I chose hickory, because I love hickory smoked bacon!

The process is simple – you toss together maple syrup, soy sauce (or tamari), and liquid smoke, combine and then add in the coconut flakes and toss thoroughly to mix.

Then, you lay the coconut flakes out on a parchment apper lined baking sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes at 350 degrees F, flipping halfway through. When they’re nicely browned, you let them cool for 5 minutes and voila – coconut bacon!

Cacio e Pepe with Coconut Bacon

This recipe yields 1 cup of coconut bacon, so if you make this recipe, you’ll have extra to use for the week! You can also freeze coconut bacon for super future use!

This recipe is actually a vegetarian version of the Cacio e Pepe that’s in my cookbook and was first seen on the blog.

The Matrix Challenge with Mark Bittman

I also made this zucchini noodle recipe to join the #MatrixChallenge, in celebration of Mark Bittman’s Kitchen Matrix cookbook, coming out this late October! Actually, he’s a fellow Random House author (I mean, what an honor to share a publisher with one of the best food writers of all time!)

In this cookbook, he uses thematic matrices to show how simple changes in preparation and ingredient swaps in an original recipe can yield dishes that are each completely different from the original, and equally delicious.

This is obviously totally up my Inspiralized alley – this is what Inspiralized is all about – swapping in veggie noodles for pasta or changing the preparation of certain veggies to make totally innovative dishes!

For this #matrixchallenge, I’m using zucchini, obviously – here’s a quick excerpt from the zucchini section of his cookbook!  Inspiralized and Mark Bittman's Kitchen Matrix

Nutritional Information & Recipe

Weight Watchers PointsPlus* 5 points

*These points were calculated using the official Weight Watchers PointsPlus® calculator. We are in no way affiliated with Weight Watchers, we are providing this information based on popular demand.


Cacio e Pepe with Coconut Bacon

Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time35 mins
Servings: 2


  • For the coconut bacon:
  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes not shredded
  • 1 tablespoon liquid smoke I used hickory flavor, but you can use anyone you'd prefer
  • 1 tablespoon reduced sodium tamari or soy sauce
  • 1/2 tablespoon maple syrup
  • salt to taste
  • For the pasta:
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large garlic clove minced
  • 1 pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 2 medium zucchinis Blade D, noodles trimmed
  • freshly cracked black pepper from a grinder
  • 1/4 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese + more to garnish


  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking tray with parchment paper and set aside.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together the ingredients for the bacon, except for the coconut. Then, add in the coconut and toss together gently to mix well until all the coconut flakes are covered in the bacon dressing.
  • Spread the flakes out into an even layer on the prepared baking tray and season with salt. Bake for 10-12 minutes, flipping halfway, until flakes are mostly dry and turning golden on the edges. Keep in mind that the flakes will crisp as they cool, so don’t worry if your flakes aren’t crispy after 10-12 minutes.
  • Remove the “bacon” from the oven and set aside to cool.
  • While the bacon cools, place a large skillet over medium-high heat and add in the olive oil. Once oil heats, add in the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook for 30 seconds. Then, add in the zucchini noodles and toss to cook, for about 2-3 minutes.
  • Season the zucchini with a generous amount of freshly cracked pepper and add in the cheeses. Remove from heat, toss to combine thoroughly and then plate into two bowls. Top each bowl with a few more cranks of black pepper and 1 tablespoon of coconut bacon onto each plate. Garnish with additional Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, if desired.

Featured Product

The Inspiralizer by inspiralized

New to spiralizing? Grab your FREE eBook with our 20 Most Popular Blog Recipes!

Have a spiralizer and not sure where to start?How about making our fool-proof, most popularly made recipes from the blog? In this printable PDF eCookbook you’ll find photos and full recipes of our readers’ favorites to get you started!

Share on facebook
Share on google
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin

Leave a Comment

Want to share a photo of what you’ve made? Be sure to click the 'Choose file' button below to add your photos!

Recipe Rating

The maximum upload file size: 300 MB. You can upload: image. Drop file here


annie says:
You forgot the ingredients Ali.;)
Ali Maffucci says:
The recipe has been updated! Slight plugin glitch :)
Anonymous says:
You really should have someone proofread your posts. Should be paper not apper.
Love, love, LOVE! I've got to try making coconut bacon it sounds amazing!!
Ali Maffucci says:
Alyssa, you would LOVE it!!! Goes so well with quinoa too :)
Anonymous says:
How long can the coconut bacon be stored and what is the safest method of storage ... Thank you
Pat says:
Coconut Bacon sounds good but I am allergic to soy. Any suggestions for a substitute for soy that would work? Thanks!
Allegra says:
You can use Coconut Aminos. I think it actually tastes better than soy sauce. Coconut Secret The Original Amino Soy-Free Seasoning, 16.9 Ounce https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00LWQLCJ4/ref=cm_sw_r_awd_ZzQcwbHM2MVME
Beth Ann says:
Can you use something other than liquid smoke? Maybe just omit?
Ali Maffucci says:
The liquid smoke gives it that bacon-like taste, that's the whole point!
Jeremy says:
If you're adverse to liquid smoke or just don't have it on hand, try smoky/ earthy spices like paprika and cumin.
Anonymous says:
You can find liquid smoke on amazon!
Toni says:
I'll keep following you if you go vegan!
Janet T. says:
I think this sounds great, and we make our own coconut chips with a fresh coconut and the dehydrator. I love your vegan recipes, but my husband will not be on board with it. I would prefer a selection of both, but you have to follow your own needs.
Amy M. says:
While I am not vegan, my daughter is a vegetarian and I also look for vegan recipes to make for my son's vegan girlfriend. I think it's fairly easy to add or subtract meat from a recipe so for me I would love to see some of your creative takes on recipes. (I need some vegan ideas for Thanksgiving!) I will be roasting a turkey for some guests, but need some vegan options as well. Thanks!
Oooooh cannot wait to make this! I've been drooling ever since I saw it on your Instagram. I went vegan a few months ago and I love it. I think this is your blog, your life, so readers or haters will come and go no matter what you do. It's all about doing what makes you feel your best!
Jeremy says:
Very excited to hear about a potential return to a vegan diet. I am vegan and encourage it for not just health of body but also health of our planet and the health of mind peace that comes with not having to harm animals to eat. Looking forward to more great recipes!
I have been thinking about going back to vegetarian recently. Just don't crave meat that much anymore, but I'm still undecided!

Latest on Inspiralized

Subscribe to Inspiralized

Subscribe to one or all of our newsletters for amazing
recipes, inspirational content + our most popular recipe PDF.

  • Weekly Recap
  • Kidsletter
  • Products + Sales

made the roasted veggie green enchiladas 🥑 from @thedefineddish cookbook and despite only buying one can of diced green chiles instead of four, it was amazing! 👏🏼 perfect cold day dinner 🥶 looking forward to cooking more from this cookbook! has anyone else made anything from it? what should we try next?? 👇🏼

#thedefineddish #defineddish #enchiladas #vegetariandinner #vegetarianmeals

we’re flying back to new jersey on friday and already starting to miss it here in florida ☀️ the weather’s nice, but I’ll most miss all the time spent with our family together 🙏🏼 for the past (almost) 2 years, we’ve spent a lot of time in florida with my family and that’s been the silver lining of the pandemic 🙏🏼 right now, my grandmother is here and that time is extra special. I don’t think I’d ever have the chance to be with her for this amount of time otherwise, and I am so, so grateful for it 👵🏼💓 photos by @karlakorn 📸 ...