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This spaghetti squash carbonara is as velvety and creamy as carbonara should be. It's infused with the smokiness of bacon, yet made without the carbs or cream – it's almost too good to be true! Authentic carbonara sauce, as you get in Italy, is made from luscious egg yolks, parmesan, and black pepper. Leave the cream in the fridge while achieving a luxurious, velvety coating on your spaghetti squash.
Loving the low-carb deliciousness of spaghetti squash? Make this spaghetti squash alfredo next!
If diving into a generous serving of vegetables disguised as carbs is your kind of thing, then you are in the right place. This spaghetti squash carbonara is a flavor-packed indulgence that mirrors the richness of the real deal but with just a fraction of the carbs. Plus, you get your daily dose of veggies – no stretchy jeans are required for this guilt-free meal; it's essentially veggies and eggs.
The sauce is made in a similar way as authentic carbonara with bacon, egg yolks, and parmesan so there is tons of flavor. All that is missing is the carbs from the noodles – the spaghetti squash gives a mild, slightly sweet flavor.
The golden rule of cooking carbonara is to keep it simple. Leave the heavy cream in the fridge – authentic carbonara doesn't use any! Rather, the rich and creamy consistency comes from egg yolks. This is what you need:
- Spaghetti squash: A low-carb and nutritious alternative to traditional pasta with a mild, slightly sweet flavor.
- Bacon: Contributes smokiness and texture.
- Garlic: Adds a savory depth.
- Egg yolks: Forms the rich, velvety base of the carbonara sauce.
- Parmesan cheese: For a sharp and salty kick while contributing to the creamy consistency.
- Salt and pepper: Salt enhances the savory notes and pepper provides a subtle heat.
- Parsley: Sprinkle minced parsley for a hint of freshness that complements the creaminess of the dish.
How to make spaghetti squash carbonara
This is a simple recipe – simply roast the squash and whip up the sauce while it's in the oven. Here are the instructions:
- Roast spaghetti squash: While the oven preheats, cut your spaghetti squash in half. Remove the membranes and seeds, then drizzle some olive oil over the squash. Place them cut-side up on a baking sheet and then bake.
- Prepare the carbonara sauce: Cook the bacon until it's crispy. Then remove it from the pan leaving a tablespoon of bacon grease behind. Add the garlic to the pan, cooking it for a minute, then take the pan off the heat. In a bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, salt and pepper, and parmesan cheese.
- Harvest the spaghetti: Remove the cooked squash and let it cool. Using a fork, scrape and remove long spaghetti-like strands, placing the spaghetti squash noodles in the pan with the garlic.
- Mix it up: Put the bacon in with the squash and pour the egg mixture into the pan, letting the residual heat from the squash cook the eggs so the sauce becomes creamy. Toss some minced parsley on top and enjoy!
What are the characteristics of spaghetti squash?
Using spaghetti squash is a great low-carb stand-in for traditional spaghetti noodles. There are obvious differences though, so you won't confuse the squash for spaghetti – but that's a good thing! The spaghetti squash has a mild, slightly sweet undertone. Texture-wise, the spaghetti squash forms long strands that resemble spaghetti noodles when you scrape it with a fork. The end result varies depending on how it's cooked, but roasting it tends to enhance the strands' firmness. It also absorbs the taste of accompanying sauces, making it a great choice for a lighter, low-carb, or gluten-free alternative to traditional pasta.
What to serve with spaghetti squash carbonara
Spaghetti squash carbonara works as a dreamy meal or as a side dish. Enjoy a bowl of creamy squash carbonara as a standalone meal or keep it low-carb and serve alongside a roasted broccoli salad, crispy kale salad with beets, or a brussels sprouts ceasar salad. Add an extra boost of nutrition with veggie sides, like garlic parmesan zucchini, garlic butter sugar snap peas, or roasted broccoli.
Can I replace the bacon with something to make this a vegetarian spaghetti squash carbonara?
The bacon imparts a smokiness that complements all the other flavors, so omitting it will change the final result. However, our top pick for a vegetarian alternative would be mushrooms. You can also try vegan bacon or other plant-based alternatives.
How do I prevent the egg sauce from scrambling?
You'll mix the egg and parmesan cheese sauce off the heat. Let the squash cool down after taking it out of the oven, so it won't be too hot when you combine the egg sauce and the squash. The residual heat should be sufficient to cook the eggs without scrambling. If needed, briefly return the pan to low heat.
Can I store leftovers?
Spaghetti squash carbonara is best enjoyed fresh, right after cooking. If you have leftovers, you can store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 1-2 days.
How do I reheat leftovers?
Be mindful when reheating the pasta as you don't want to overcook the egg – the goal is to reheat it gently so it's warm, but without cooking the eggs. Put a pan on the stovetop on low heat, and heat the pasta slowly while stirring it, being careful to make sure it doesn't get too hot.
- 2 medium spaghetti squashes
- 4 strips bacon (sliced)
- 2 cloves garlic (minced)
- 2 large egg yolks
- 1 cup grated parmesan cheese
- ½ teaspoon EACH: salt and pepper
- Minced parsley (to serve)
- Turn your oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Cut the spaghetti squashes in half and remove the seeds and membranes. Drizzle a little olive oil into the middle and place them cut side up on a baking sheet. Roast for 30-35 minutes, until they can be pierced with a knife.2 medium spaghetti squashes
- While the squash is baking, prepare the carbonara sauce. Cook the bacon in a large frying pan over medium-high heat until crispy. Remove the bacon from the pan and pour off all but a tablespoon of the bacon grease. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute and then remove the pan from the heat.4 strips bacon
- Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute and then remove the pan from the heat.
- In a medium-sized bowl, mix the egg yolks, parmesan cheese, salt, and pepper..2 cloves garlic, 2 large egg yolks, 1 cup grated parmesan cheese, ½ teaspoon EACH: salt and pepper
- Remove the cooked spaghetti squash from the oven and let them cool for a few minutes. Then scrape the insides with a fork to remove the long spaghetti-like strands and place it into the pan with the garlic
- Pour the egg mixture into the pan and mix everything together. NOTE: there should be enough heat from the hot spaghetti squash to cook the eggs and make a creamy sauce. If not, put the pan back on the heat for 1-2 minutes.Minced parsley
- Serve the spaghetti squash carbonara topped with the crispy bacon and some minced parsley.
We have thoroughly tested this recipe for accuracy. However, individual results may vary. See our full recipe disclosure here.