Entrees/ Recipes

Vegetarian Pasta Carbonara with Roasted Butternut Squash

Vegetarian Butternut Squash Carbonara

Vegetarian Pasta Carbonara with Roasted Butternut Squash

My husband and I went to Italy on our honeymoon earlier this summer and it is quite probable that after eating pasta for 12 days straight, I will never look at it the same way again. I’m sure you’re imagining that I got totally tired of it and never wanted to look at another carb again when I got home, but it actually had the opposite effect! All of the pasta dishes I ate in Italy were made with fresh noodles, simple sauces, clean flavors, and lots of veggies. Even the cream sauces somehow tasted light. I’m really not sure how they did it, but it definitely inspired me to try to infuse some of that Italian spirit into my pasta dishes when I got back home.

Summer is winding down and we are definitely entering a season where comfort food is king, but that doesn’t mean that all vegetable consumption has to come to a screeching halt! Enter this vegetarian butternut squash pasta carbonara, which has a very comfort food feel, but also packs a lot of veggie punch in every bite.

Vegetarian Pasta Carbonara with Roasted Butternut Squash

Pasta carbonara is a traditional Roman dish, usually consisting of some sort of noodle (fettuccine, linguine, spaghetti) mixed with an egg sauce, bacon, parmesan cheese, and black pepper. Here we’ve substituted vegetarian bacon for pork bacon, using it to add smoky umami flavor to the dish. The egg sauce is made by mixing raw eggs with parmesan cheese, and tossing the mixture with the just-drained hot pasta. The egg mixture starts to cook when it hits the hot pasta, but by constantly stirring as you mix it in, it forms a creamy sauce instead of becoming scrambled eggs in your pasta pot. I’ve used orecchiette here because I like how they scoop up the sauce, but really any pasta shape will do.

Butternut squash roasts away in the oven while this all cooks and it gets tossed in to the final pasta dish, adding a hint of seasonal sweetness and a lot of vitamin A. I can’t say that this is exactly how real deal Italians would make this dish, but I definitely have a feeling that they would approve.

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Vegetarian Pasta Carbonara with Roasted Butternut Squash

Vegetarian Butternut Squash Carbonara

With roasted butternut squash, this meatless version of Pasta Carbonara is perfect for fall.

  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: 4-6 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 1 pound orecchiette pasta
  • 6 ounces vegetarian bacon, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup grated parmesan cheese

Instructions

  1. Heat oven to 450ºF.
  2. Toss the butternut squash cubes with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and spread on a parchment-lined baking sheet in a single layer. Season with salt and black pepper. Roast for 30-40 minutes, or until tender. Remove from the oven and set aside.
  3. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook pasta according to package directions or desired tenderness. Drain and set aside, reserving 1/2 cup of cooking water.
  4. While the pasta cooks, heat the remaining olive oil in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the vegetarian bacon to the pan and saute for 5-6 minutes, or until crispy, stirring occasionally. Stir in the garlic and sauté until fragrant, another 30 seconds. Remove from the heat.
  5. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs and parmesan cheese. Slowly add the egg mixture to the hot pasta, stirring constantly so that the eggs will cook but not scramble. Add in cooking water as needed to reach a sauce of desired consistency. Stir in the butternut squash cubes and the bacon-garlic mixture. Season to taste with salt and black pepper. Serve warm.

Notes

I used Hickory & Sage Benevolent Bacon for this, but I’ve also had good results with Lightlife Fakin’ Bacon Tempeh Strips.

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12 Comments

  • Reply
    Lori @ RecipeGirl
    September 9, 2015 at 5:39 pm

    This looks like a fabulous fall dinner! I’m adding it to my must-try soon list!

    • Reply
      Joanne Bruno
      September 27, 2015 at 7:27 pm

      Thanks Lori! It definitely gets the fall spirit going.

  • Reply
    Laura @ Semi-Vegetarian.com
    September 10, 2015 at 2:25 pm

    This looks delicious! I love butternut squash in pasta recipes. A friend of mine has been living in Italy for about a year and a half and said she’s yet to tire of the pizza and pasta!

    • Reply
      Joanne Bruno
      September 27, 2015 at 7:28 pm

      I really think I could have stayed in Italy forever and never tired of the food. Hope you enjoy the pasta if you try it!

  • Reply
    Jennifer @ Delicious Everyday
    September 11, 2015 at 2:32 am

    This sounds absolutely delicious! Butternut squash or (butternut pumpkin) is my favourite pumpkin and I can already imagine its nutty sweetness when roasted.

    • Reply
      Joanne Bruno
      September 27, 2015 at 7:29 pm

      Totally agreed. Roasted butternut squash is nature’s candy!

  • Reply
    Ana @ Ana's Rocket Ship
    October 2, 2015 at 6:18 pm

    Wow – this looks delicious!!!!

  • Reply
    Victoria
    October 12, 2015 at 5:19 pm

    This dish sounds delicious 🙂 however, I’d have to substitute the parmesan cheese as it isn’t vegetarian.

    • Reply
      Morgan
      February 14, 2017 at 11:07 pm

      it is vegetarian.. just not vegan 🙂

  • Reply
    Connie
    March 21, 2017 at 10:15 am

    Parmesan isn’t vegetarian as it contains animal rennet. Substitutes are available 🙂

  • Reply
    amy
    July 19, 2018 at 11:32 pm

    I made this tonight and enjoyed it. I added thyme and substituted tofurkey brand italian sausage, sliced and sauteed for the veggie bacon.

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