Perfectly luscious and delicious dairy-free Squash Carbonara. This dairy-free squash carbonara recipe gets its silky texture from a butternut squash sauce – that’s correct, it’s packing veggies!
As summer turned into fall, my cravings went from easy light meals to more hearty, although still healthy, dishes. This is one of my favourites. It’s straightforward, with a limited ingredient list, and can easily be turned into a vegetarian or vegan meal by simply omitting the proscuitto / pancetta on top.
Although labeled “carbonara”, there are no eggs or dairy products, besides the cheese you you choose to shower on top – which can be easily omitted. I’ve made this dish frequently which speaks volumes on its flavour – it’s everything you want a yummy soul warming pasta to be. Only this one does it without too many extras and still has loads of vitamins at the forefront.
This original post is from October 2014, however I updated the photos in September 2016. I really wanted to portray the deep creamy yellow of the butternut squash purée. This pasta is pure velvety goodness without the weight and calories of a heavy cream pasta dish – hence the dairy-free carbonara recipe angle.
The pancetta/prosciutto adds just the right amount of crispy texture and additional salt to the dish, while the sage balances the dish through its fragrant herbaceous flavour. Both the bacon and the sage are crispy lending the dish a great balance of soft, silky pasta and crispy flavourful meat and herbs.
I can’t stress it enough to measure the squash out and to keep the pasta water nearby when tossing the pasta. That step is the difference between a silky perfectly coated pasta and a gummy one. And nobody wants gummy pasta for dinner.
More Fall recipes we love like this dairy-free carbonara recipe:
- Green Smoothie for Fall
- Fall Lentil Salad
- Squash and White Bean Soup with Quinoa
- Chicken and Squash Curry
Dairy-free comfort food, packed with butternut squash.Dairy-free comfort food, packed with butternut squash.
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 4 oz. cubed prosciutto or pancetta
- 1 tbsp finely chopped sage leaves
- 2 lbs butternut squash*, peeled, deseeded, and chopped into 1/2" pieces, approx. 2-3 cups
- 1 small onion chopped
- 2 medium cloves of garlic, finely chopped
- 1/4 tsp kosher salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 2 cups low sodium vegetable (or chicken) stock
- 12 oz. fettuccine or linguine pasta
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add prosciutto, reduce heat to medium, and cook, stirring occasionally, until crisp, 8–10 minutes. Add sage and toss to coat. Using a slotted spoon, transfer prosciutto and sage to a small bowl. Set aside.
Add squash, onion, and garlic to skillet; season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is translucent, 8–10 minutes. Add broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until squash is soft and liquid is reduced by half, 15–20 minutes. Let cool slightly, then purée in a blender until smooth; season with salt and pepper. Reserve skillet.
Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until al dente. Drain, reserving 1 cup pasta cooking liquid.
Combine pasta, squash purée, and ¼ cup pasta cooking liquid in reserved skillet and cook over medium heat, tossing and adding more pasta cooking liquid as needed, until sauce coats pasta, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
Serve pasta topped with reserved prosciutto and sage, and more pepper**.
* If I'm feeling more lazy than usual I'll buy frozen pre-cut butternut squash that comes in convenient 2 cup bags.
** plus a shower of pecorino or parmesan cheese if you're into that scene.
Recipe slightly adapted from Bon Appetit