Comfort food with a twist. This Butternut Squash Noodles Carbonara with Mushroom Bacon is a great way to add more veggies to your plate!
This past weekend I was back in Buffalo, NY again, this time for my friend/sister-in-law’s baby shower. That’s right, in just a couple short months I’m gonna be an AUNTIE!! I’m so excited to meet my nephew and can’t wait to spoil the crap out of him :).
Whenever I go back home to Buffalo, there tends to be an abundance of heavier foods and since I would never deprive myself (because I know that deprivation doesn’t work), I indulge my cravings and move on. So after a weekend of eating things like peanut butter chocolate cake at the shower (which is my new FAV cake flavor combo, btw), doughnuts from my fav doughnut shop in Buffalo courtesy of Poppa Lydon and eggs benedict at a great brunch spot in Buffalo, my body was craving veggies. This often happens when I travel and eat out a lot; I come home and crave veggies, fish and whole grains. We have a running joke in our house that when either one of us comes back from a trip, we don’t even have to ask each other what to make for dinner, we always want the same meal: salmon, brown rice and kale.
I talk about this a lot with my clients who are trying to make peace with food and are worried that they will lose control if they allow themselves to have XYZ food. But you can only eat a certain food for so long before your body starts to tire of it and starts craving something else. Like I could only eat so many pieces of that peanut butter chocolate cake before I would get sick of it. Even though I really enjoyed my slice; I would eventually get sick of it if I kept eating it day after day. This topic of food habituation comes up a lot with my clients who are afraid they won’t be able to stop eating a certain food if they let themselves have it. You will but you have to learn to trust yourself first.
So this recipe that I’m sharing today is one that my body would crave after a weekend of traveling and indulging. It’s loaded with veggies – butternut squash, mushrooms and peas – but it still has a comfort food feel with the carbonara sauce.Carbonara is traditionally made with pasta and pancetta with a cheesy egg sauce. Not that there’s anything wrong with the OG but this version is vegetarian friendly with mushroom bacon and gluten-free friendly with the squash noodles. And yes, you heard right. I said mushroom bacon! Does it taste JUST LIKE BACON? I’d be lying if I said yes. BUT it does add a delicious crunchy, smoky and umami contrast to the creamy noodles that I think you’ll love.
Did I mention that this dish is packed with vitamins and minerals too? Butternut squash is loaded with vitamins A, C and E, B vitamins and folate. And mushrooms are a great source of B vitamins, selenium, potassium and vitamin D. And let’s not forget about the eggs – they pack in protein, choline, vitamin D and phytochemicals like lutein and zeaxanthin. Enjoy this meal while butternut squash is still available at your farmer’s market! And if you don’t have a spiralizer or want to save some time, look for pre-spiralized noodles in at your grocery store.
- 1 medium butternut squash, peeled and spiralized (about 7 cups noodles or 16 ounces)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 small yellow onion (3/4 cup diced)
- 3 cloves garlic (1 1/2 tbsp minced)
- 3 eggs
- 1 egg yolk
- 1/2 cup grated pecorino romano
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 3/4 cup peas
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1/2 pound portobello mushrooms, thinly sliced (about 1/8 inch thick)
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce or tamari (gf)
- 1 tablespoon molasses
- 1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke
- 1 teaspoon nutritional yeast
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Spiralize the peeled butternut squash using the medium blade on the spiralizer.*
- Heat olive oil over medium heat in a nonstick pan. Add onion and cook for 4-6 minutes, or until translucent. Add garlic and cook for 30-60 seconds, or until fragrant.
- Add spiralized butternut squash noodles and saute for 5-7 minutes, or until cooked through (but not until too soft that they become mushy).
- In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs and cheeses until combined.
- Remove noodles from heat. Slowly pour egg mixture over the noodles, stirring constantly, until eggs thicken but don't scramble.
- Stir in peas and salt and pepper to taste.
- Top with mushroom bacon and garnish with parsley and/or extra parmesan.
- Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Line mushrooms on baking sheet. Bake for 60 minutes, flipping over halfway between.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together soy sauce, molasses, liquid smoke and nutritional yeast until combined.
- Toss mushrooms with sauce until coated. Place back on baking sheet and bake for another 5-10 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste.
- Break apart mushroom bacon into bite-sized pieces and sprinkle over top of carbonara.
To make spiralizing butternut squash easier, cut it in half horizontally and spiralize one half at a time. Look for a squash that has a long neck - that is the part of the squash you'll spiralize. Save the bottom of the squash (with the seeds) for another use.