Autumn Dairy Free Egg Free Restricted Diet (e.g. GF, Vegan..) Savoury Vegan Winter

Vegan Butternut Squash ‘Carbonara’ with Coconut Bacon + Crispy Sage

Vegan Butternut Squash 'Carbonara' with Coconut Bacon + Crispy Sage

This recipe is my current wintery fave. It’s got it all: pasta, creamy sauce, fried sage AND lotsa coconut bacon.

The coconut bacon part is kind of the most exciting bit for me. I learnt about it a while ago via pinterest, of course. I didn’t get round to making any until this summer though and oh god it is beautiful. I’ve tweaked the recipe to my liking, using miso for an extra layer of umami plus I sometimes use smoked paprika if there’s no liquid smoke around. It’s delish. The only problem I had when I made it was: where/when do I use it?? It’s mega addictive and perfect as an on-the-go power snack but when it came to real-bacon applications I was kind of lost. I think the problem was that I only ever (rarely) use bacon cut up and fried like pancetta for bases of sauces/soups/stews. Once I’d started thinking about it as a crumbly garnish though, that’s when it got exciting.

Vegan Butternut Squash 'Carbonara' with Coconut Bacon + Crispy Sage

Vegan Butternut Squash 'Carbonara' with Coconut Bacon + Crispy Sage

Sprinkled on pancakes with maple syrup = fab. It’s also an EXCELLENT alternative to croutons on tomato soup (the flakes stay crunchy even when they’ve been sitting in the soup for a while). Then it hit me – vegan carbonara ft. coconut bacon.

The creamy sauce is adapted from Bon Appetit’s recipe but I added nutritional yeast (I refuse to say nutritional yeast has a cheesy flavour because it just doesn’t, to me) for a savoury touch. I also whacked in a blob of tahini because its earthy, creaminess was just what this sauce needed to counteract the sweetness of the squash. Crispy sage is just a bonus here so don’t worry if you don’t have it. OH and in a moment of weird genius, I microplaned a raw almond over the pasta to make ‘parmesan’ shavings. It’s purely a decorative thing but hey, we eat with our eyes first and that’s a tasty sight to see.

Vegan Butternut Squash 'Carbonara' with Coconut Bacon + Crispy Sage

Vegan Butternut Squash Carbonara with Coconut Bacon + Crispy Sage

Vegan Butternut Squash Carbonara with Coconut Bacon + Crispy Sage

Yield: serves 2


  • the neck of a medium butternut squash
  • 1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 to 5 sage leaves, , chiffonaded
  • 1 medium white onion, , diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, , crushed
  • 1/2 a vegetable stock cube, (see notes)
  • 3 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 2 tbsp tahini, (optional)
  • 125 ml (1/2 cup) hot water
  • 170 g dry spaghetti
  • 125 ml (1/2 cup) pasta water (reserved from cooking)
  • To serve:
  • coconut bacon, (see recipe below)
  • raw almonds, , for shaving


  1. Peel the neck of the squash and cut it into 1 inch cubes. Toss in 1/2 tbsp of oil and place onto a baking tray. Roast in an oven preheated to 180 C (350 F) for 30-40 minutes until tender.
  2. Meanwhile heat the remaining olive oil in a small frying pan over a medium-high heat. Add the sage leaves and fry until crispy - remove with a slotted spatula or spoon to a paper towel to drain.
  3. Cook your pasta according to the instructions on the packet - don't forget to reserve the 125ml (1/2 cup) of the cooking water for the sauce!!! Drain the pasta and return it to the pot (off the heat).
  4. Add the onions to the frying pan you were using earlier. If there isn't much oil left, add a splash more and cook the onion over a medium-low heat until translucent.
  5. Add the crushed garlic and saute for about a minute, just to remove the rawness, then transfer the onion and garlic to a blender.
  6. Add the stock cube, nutritional yeast, tahini and hot water and blend until smooth. Add the roasted squash and blend until smooth. Pour in the cooking water a little at a time, blending between additions, until a smooth, creamy sauce is achieved.
  7. Pour the sauce over the pasta in the pot stirring to coat (stir over a low heat if the sauce/pasta need warming up). Divide the pasta between 2 bowls and top with the crispy sage, coconut bacon and microplane over some almonds for a parmesan effect.


- Sauce adapted from Bon Appetit

- I find vegetable stock cubes quite salty so I haven't added any extra salt to the recipe here. However, as brands vary (and as you may use homemade veg stock instead), season to taste with salt if needed.

- the tahini isn't completely necessary as the sauce is creamy on its own but I find it makes it even richer + balances the sweet flavour of the sauce.

- If you're okay with consuming dairy, cream cheese can also replace the tahini

Vegan Coconut 'Bacon'

Vegan Coconut 'Bacon'

Yield: 2 cups


  • 1 tbsp brown miso paste
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp liquid smoke or 2 tsp sweet smoked paprika
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce or tamari
  • a few good grinds of black pepper
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil, , melted
  • 2 cups plain, (un-toasted, unsweetened) coconut flakes


  1. Preheat your oven to 160 C (325 F). Line a baking tray with a non-stick mat or a piece of baking paper.
  2. Place the miso paste into a small bowl with the maple syrup. Cream the two together using a spoon. Add the liquid smoke and stir that in until smooth. Mix in the soy sauce, black pepper and coconut oil.
  3. Place the coconut flakes into a large bowl and pour the miso mixture on top. Toss it all together with your hands until the flakes are fully coated.
  4. Spread the flakes out onto the baking tray and bake for 20-25 minutes, stirring and tossing the mixture every 5-10 minutes to prevent burning. The flakes should look dark and feel dry but they won't seem crisp until they've had a chance to cool.
  5. Once fully cooled, store in an airtight container in the freezer.


- adapted from the My New Roots cookbook, Cookie & Kate and Beard + Bonnet

- if the bacon loses its crispness after being in the container, just whack it back into the oven on a tray at 180 C (350 F) for 1 or 2 minutes to re-toast.

You Might Also Like

  • valentina | sweet kabocha December 14, 2015 at 3:19 am

    You just made me soooo hungry!

  • Miss Getaway December 14, 2015 at 9:01 am

    Oh my god that sounds like a dream come true! Definitely need to try that <3

    Love, Kerstin

  • Sarah | Broma Bakery December 14, 2015 at 2:03 pm

    Oh god what more could one want for a winter dinner? OM NOM NOM NOM

  • Dani Mendocha | Styled Variety December 14, 2015 at 5:39 pm

    This looks so perfect for a cozy dinner 🙂 I love that it is vegan and made with butternut squash (one of my favorites!).

    Dani |

  • edenpassante December 14, 2015 at 9:24 pm

    Everything about this sounds amazing! Looks like the perfect winter meal!

  • renee (will frolic for food) December 14, 2015 at 9:55 pm

    so gorgeous! making this tonight! comfort food win. <3

  • Aimee @ twiggstudios December 15, 2015 at 11:12 am

    This looks and sounds amazing I will have to try the coconut bacon.

  • Millie | Add A Little December 15, 2015 at 2:22 pm

    Oh my gosh Izy I can’t even handle this sauce – it looks too good!!!!! Thank you for creating this amazing vegan recipe – definitely trying it out this week!

  • Food | Butternut Squash ‘Carbonara’ with Coconut ‘Bacon’ | coco bean biscuit December 27, 2015 at 5:08 pm

    […] first saw this recipe earlier this month on Top with Cinnamon, and I have been obsessed ever since. I long decided that because its vegan, that automatically […]

  • Sage & Chestnut Patties with Parsnip Bacon December 30, 2015 at 5:36 pm

    […] crisps in the way we used to put streaky bacon on the turkey before we were vegan. So when I saw this coconut bacon over on Top with Cinnamon with the extra addition of miso paste, I knew what had to be […]

  • Sunday Things... 1.10.16 January 10, 2016 at 3:21 pm

    […] vegan butternut squash ‘carbonara’ with coconut bacon & crispy sage looks amazing – I love a good, healthy pasta […]

  • CLICK LIST 15/01 – Abigail Ahern January 15, 2016 at 2:59 pm

    […] or even a vegan January – I can definitely recommend this recipe from Top With Cinnamon: Vegan butternut squash ‘carbonara’ with coconut bacon and crispy sage. As I mentioned in this morning’s blog post I’m on a major diet overhaul at the moment. […]

  • Kristen @ The Endless Meal January 20, 2016 at 3:00 am

    This looks so good! I love the look of the coconut bacon. Pinned!

  • Vegan Butternut Squash ‘Carbonara’ with Coconut Bacon + Crispy Sage – Izy Hossack – Top With Cinnamon | yummyumm in a pinch January 21, 2016 at 2:59 am

    […] Source: Vegan Butternut Squash ‘Carbonara’ with Coconut Bacon + Crispy Sage – Izy Hossack … […]

  • CLICK LIST 22/01 – Abigail Ahern January 22, 2016 at 2:34 pm

    […] I’m obsessed with the latest addition to my cookbook collection (honestly there’s 20-odd and counting out stacked up on the kitchen island now, I think I might have a problem). Anyway I’ve definitely made space for the Hartwood cookbook. It’s packed with incredible photography and droolworthy recipes courtesy of one of the coolest restaurants in the world. Hartwood is a smokey atmospheric little shack in the Mexican jungle, and a slice of foodie heaven. Top photographers and professional cool-hunters like Todd Selby have jetted out there, and the food is TDF. For a taster, Chalkboard Mag have their roasted beets recipe, but the whole book is beautiful – not just to eat, but a visual treat too. […]

  • Lyf January 26, 2016 at 8:01 pm

    Hey Izy can you please clarify how much pumpkin is needed for this recipe? Would you say 1/2 a medium sized one (eg 1kg)?

  • Sunday Round-Up | My Hungry Heart March 6, 2016 at 1:53 pm

    […] Vegan Butternut Squash Carbonara with Coconut Bacon + Crispy Sage – I have made so many vegan style pasta with butternut squash as the base, and I think this might take the lead. You can of course leave out the sage or coconut bacon, and if you are not vegan sub out the nutritional yeast for parmesan, it’s great either way. […]

  • Recept: Vegan pompoenpasta - Kookpraatjes April 21, 2016 at 11:59 am

    […] kwam dit geweldige recept voor vegan pompoenpasta tegen op de blog van Izy Hossack en het water liep me meteen in de mond. Lees het recept en je weet […]

  • Britt May 11, 2016 at 7:25 pm

    Where did you get the pretty bowl?! Im looking for ones like it!

    • Izy May 20, 2016 at 2:00 pm

      my mum got it at an open studio sale in London at a place called Turning Earth!

  • Weekly Wanderings {week 43} on July 21, 2016 at 6:30 am

    […] aside, doesn’t this butternut squash carbonara look […]

  • Chris Edwards September 28, 2016 at 12:05 am

    Yes, sounds incredible, but also highly labor intensive! It would take hours to create and maybe 5 minutes to eat? Definitely NOT for a weekday evening meal.

    • Izy October 2, 2016 at 12:27 am

      takes about an hour to make, yes, as do most home-cooked meals! If you’re eating it all in 5 minutes, you really need to chew your food more man 😉

  • Fijne Recepten met Pompoen | Lauriekoek November 10, 2016 at 12:34 pm

    […] Vegan Butternut Squash Carbonara with Coconut Bacon + Crispy Sage van Top With Cinnamon. Salie past ontzettend goed bij pompoen! Deze pasta is trouwens gewoon met tarwepasta, de pompoen is de saus. […]

  • Susan December 11, 2016 at 6:59 pm

    This was incredible, i made it tonight. The bacon is seriously the best food discovery I have done this year. So crispy. I made it with smoked paprika, and the combination with the creamy sauce is just to die for!

  • Malin August 28, 2017 at 8:35 am

    This looks so good Izzy, don’t know how it passed by me earlier!
    Need to try it and what a neat idea using the almonds to look a little like cheese gratings 🙂

  • Skip to Recipe - powered by chloédigital