Healthy, Grain-Free Cacio e Pepe


Yoga star Kathryn Budig is known for her ability to make yoga accessible and playful through her teaching and writings, but her skills extend beyond the yoga mat — all the way to the kitchen. Below, she shares her recipe for zucchini Cacio e Pepe.

Cacio e Pepe, or “cheese and pepper,” is a classic Roman pasta dish. It’s a testament to the statement “less is more.” It’s absolutely delicious and a quick solution to a rumbling belly, but I wanted to find a way to create it without the heavy feeling of cheese and pasta. Zucchini noodles replace the traditional spaghetti here, and I used my beloved nutritional yeast to add that warm, cheesy flavor. If you can’t handle any dairy you can substitute olive oil for the ghee, but ghee is casein-free (and personally painless for me as someone who doesn’t process dairy well).

This meal can be prepared in minutes and is in my weekly rotation. I find myself craving this on the regular (and drinking the sauce when I’m done. Whoops. Busted.)

Note: You will need a spiralizer to create zucchini noodles, or you can use a peeler to peel them into ribbons.


Zucchini ‘Cacio e Pepe’

Serves 2-3


  • 4 zucchinis, spiralized

  • 2 tablespoons ghee

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

  • 2 teaspoons freshly cracked black pepper

  • Sea salt to taste

  • ¾ cup nutritional yeast

Cashew Parmesan:

¾ cup raw cashews1/2 cup nutritional yeast1 teaspoon smoked paprika1 teaspoon garlic powder1 teaspoon sea salt


  1. Spiralize your zucchini into noodles and pat dry. Set aside.

  2. Combine all cashew parmesan ingredients into a food processor and whiz together until it becomes a crumbly powder.

  3. Warm your ghee and oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once the ghee/oil begins to shimmer (about 3-4 minutes), sprinkle in pepper, salt, and nutritional yeast. Stir well, then add your “noodles” to the mix.

  4. Toss well for about 1-2 minutes so that the noodles are evenly coated. You want the noodles to soften ever so slightly, so keep an eye on them so they don’t overcook.

  5. Remove from heat and transfer into individual bowls topped with cashew parmesan.

Kathryn Budig is a yoga teacher, author, and the founder of AIM TRUE. Find more healthy recipes on her blog.

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