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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.

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

  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.

Notes

- 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
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