Deconstructed Spaghetti Squash Carbonara… Paleo Style!

    

My goal was to make this as easy as possible without sacrificing flavor or adding things that are no-no’s (sorry, no parmesan to be found here). The only real deconstructed element is the poached egg in place of scrambled–it works, people!

I’m a fan of runny eggs, but the whole raw-scrambled egg sauce that allegedly cooks from the heat of the pasta has me kinda squeamish… no offense. Poaching gives me control over the doneness of the egg, so I know those whites are cooked and the yolk is at the ideal creamy texture and temperature.

Spoiler Alert: To send this over the moon, I fry thinly sliced garlic in reserved bacon fat and then toss in the spaghetti squash. Incredible depth of flavor through this step! Be careful though–garlic burns easily. So keep your spaghetti squash close and your tongs closer.

I hope you enjoy this one!

Ingredients:
1 spaghetti squash, roasted (harvested strands equal about 3 cups)
1 cup chopped, cooked bacon or pancetta
4 garlic cloves, sliced
1 TBSP chopped flat-leaf parsley
1/4 cup sliced scallions or shallots
1 tsp white wine vinegar
1/4 cup bacon (or pancetta) fat
Salt and pepper, to taste
4 to 6 poached eggs (one or two per person)
Garnish with chia seeds, optional

Prep:
Spaghetti squash – Slice lengthwise down the center, remove seeds and roast cut-side down for 40 minutes at 375°F (190°C). Flip cut-side up when roasting is complete and allow to cool slightly before harvesting strands with a fork by scraping with the grain until the squash is cleaned. Set aside for later. Allow to drain, if possible.

Bacon or pancetta – If using pancetta, cut into small cubes. If using sliced bacon, just cook as is. Brown the meat in a sauté pan, set aside to drain and reserve the fat in a separate container. Chop the bacon into bite-sized bits and set aside.

Poached eggs – Bring acidulated water to a simmer in a deep sauté pan or standard sauce pan.  I used white vinegar in my water; one teaspoon of vinegar for every cup of water (thank you, Alton Brown). Working with one egg at a time, crack it into a small bowl or ramekin.  Create a whirlpool in the simmering water and gently slide the egg into the center of it. Allow the egg to poach for 3 minutes, then remove with a slotted spoon. Place on a paper towel to drain the liquid from the egg.

To bring together the Carbonara - Chop the flat-leaf parsley, slice the scallions or shallots and the garlic.

In a clean sauté pan, heat the reserved quarter cup of bacon fat at medium-high heat.  When it has come to temp, place the thinly sliced garlic into the fat and gently stir. Garlic burns very easy, so be attentive at this step. As soon as the garlic has some color, reduce the heat to medium and add the spaghetti squash, tossing together right away. Moving quickly will save your garlic and create unique flavor to your pasta.

And FYI – Few things smell better than garlic fried in bacon fat.

Once the spaghetti squash is coated in fat and garlic, add in the teaspoon of white wine vinegar, chopped bacon, scallion or shallots and the parsley.  Toss to combine and let simmer for just a few minutes more.

To serve, place desired amount of spaghetti squash on a plate. Top with any extra bacon bits, scallions, parsley and one (or two) of the reserved poached eggs. I like to add a little bit of Celtic sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper at this point as well. I also decided to garnish with a bit of chia seeds — the color is great and they are so good for you! But if you don’t have any on hand, no worries.

Break open the yolk to create a silky, rich sauce for your Paleo Carbonara and dig in!

If you would like to dedicate a little more time to preparing this, I suggest using Paleo Cupboard’s Paleo Pasta in place of the squash. Talk about a decadent treat!

* * * * *

A few kitchen tools help this recipe come together: a roasting pan and a good knife for getting the spaghetti squash knocked out, a large skillet for sautéing, and a slotted spoon or spider for poaching the eggs.

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59 thoughts on “Deconstructed Spaghetti Squash Carbonara… Paleo Style!

    1. popularpaleo Post author

      Nope! We don’t track macros in Paleo. There are plenty of sites that will provide that info for you with any recipe you plug in. Google some options :-)

  1. Regina Brickett

    This has to be the best thing I have made in a very long time!!! The instructions were very well written and clear and easy to follow. Just like traditional carbonara, you have to move fast. And it was beautiful, I was going to take a picture but my batteries were dead and I didn’t want to let it get cold fooling around with the camera! So very good, I will be pouring over the rest of your recipes for next weeks special dish!

    Thanks so much!
    Regina

  2. Megan

    I’ve made this twice now and just wanted to thank you for this recipe! Last night I used spiralized butternut squash instead and it was literally one of the best (if not the best) dinner I have ever made. It was unbelievably good! Thank you for the easy instructions. It looks like something out of an expensive restaurant!

    1. popularpaleo Post author

      Thank you, Megan! <3 The squash noodles sound sooooooo good! I may have to try that — I’ve had a butternut squash hanging out in my kitchen for a week now… Thanks for your message :-)

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  6. Laurah

    This was amazing! I made this dish last night for a new years party, and it turned out even better than anticipated. Thanks so much for the great idea.

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  12. Jamie in TX

    I made this tonight & we had to refrain from licking our plates clean lmao! Thank you for such an amazing recipe ♥♥♥♥♥

    1. popularpaleo Post author

      Don’t worry, my (non-Paleo) husband did… It’s one of the best compliments I get! :-) Glad you guys liked it!

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  14. Mandy

    I made the the carbonara last night. I had never made or had poached eggs. I loved it! ! I was so surprised because i usually don’t ike a runny yolk, but it blended so well with all the flavors. Even my husband liked it and he doesn’t like spaghetti squash. Thanks for the awesome recipw!!

    1. PopularPaleo

      Awesome!! I hadn’t made a poached egg before this recipe either — aren’t they good?? So glad you guys enjoyed this! We’re spaghetti squash fans in this house and this is one of our faves :-)

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      1. Ashley Smigelsky

        Thank you! Olive oil sounds good :) what about coconut oil? I know it won’t give it as good of a flavor tho unfort. :( haha

        1. PopularPaleo

          How do you feel about butter or ghee? Now that I think about it, that would probably work too. Coconut oil might be a little off… Not sure how I feel about coconut oil and bacon annnnnnd eggs. Ya know?

          1. popularpaleo Post author

            The best resource is to find a farmer who raises pastured pigs and does not use additives/preservatives when prepping their bacon/pork belly. I like to use http://www.eatwild.com for researching places to buy meat from. Otherwise, check out your health food store or regular grocery store and read ingredients carefully. You want no preservatives like MSG and avoid anything that adds stuff for color (it’s usually gluten-based). The bacon should be sugar, gluten and nitrate-free. It exists, you just gotta look for it.

  16. Shannon

    Just made this tonight– still working on the poached egg (read: struggling with) but hopefully with practice! Anyway, we LOVED it. In fact, my boyfriend who usually needs a snack after dinner (bottomless pit) said, “I don’t even need anything to eat after that– I’m satisfied!” I haven’t had a “true” carbonara since I was in Rome in 2005- and this version definitely competes (for me!)

    1. PopularPaleo

      There is certainly an art to doing a poached egg! I’m SOOOO glad you enjoyed the recipe! I am a sucker for spaghetti squash, bacon and runny eggs so this one is a particular favorite of mine. If you make any more of my recipes, please let me know how you guys like them! All the best ~

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  18. Robert Quill

    I liked this recipe and I don’t like eggs so I omitted the egg on top. Instead I used three egg yolks to get that creamy sauce in the spaghetti squash mixture. In addition I didn’t use the bacon fat from the bacon I used coconut oil instead. Spaghetti squash or zuchini always reduces in size when cooked so I need to remind myself and purchase large amounts of both for future recipes. All in all everything turned out great.

  19. Lisa

    Ok – question – I was just diagnosed with high cholesterol. (Like scare my doctor into calling me herself take a low dose aspirin right now high) Obviously I have to make some major lifestyle changes as far as saturated fat content is concerned. This looks amazing, and the Paleo mentality makes sense to me, but will this work for what I am dealing with health wise? Any information or links to more info would be much appreciated.

    1. PopularPaleo

      I can’t give you any medical advice or anything, but I would love to direct you to these folks for more information on cholesterol:
      http://chriskresser.com and http://perfecthealthdiet.com. Search “cholesterol” on their site and you will find everything you need to know about how Paleo can and does impact those managing high levels of cholesterol.

      From personal experience, one of my best friends also had elevated cholesterol and after committing to Paleo, she dropped 50 points in less than 6 months.

      Many people find success like hers. Do some research and start making diet modifications you are comfortable with. You won’t regret it!

  20. MLR

    I just have to say, your runny egg yolk is less cooked than the original recipe where the egg cooks on the pasta, so that’s a bit weird..and no parm? it’s not real Carbonara without it…really do not get the whole Paleo thing…

    1. MLR

      ..had to add..we totally agree on Jason Statham in a loincloth..but I am at a loss as to how adding bacon to anything is doing without hormone laden/processed protein?

      1. PopularPaleo

        Hey MLR! Welcome to the world of Paleo…where thankfully Jason Statham is on the “approved-list” ;-)

        So what’s important to know about Paleo is that the meat we eat is carefully sourced from farms or stores that offer chemical-, gluten- and crap-free, ethically raised products. Curing is a natural process and it is more than possible to find bacon that meets the standard. Same for prosciutto or pancetta (which I’m actually surprised you didn’t point out! Same for using scallions. Thanks for not completely deflating my carbonara balloon! haha!). Also, most Paleo practitioners avoid dairy, so omitting parmesan is a given. It makes sense if you do this kinda thing… but from a culinary perspective, I totally get your point.

        As far as the whole egg thing… Um… It’s “deconstructed”. The idea was to pull the egg and out do something creative with it. Not make traditional carbonara by letting the heat of the squash cook it. So bummed that idea didn’t come across clearly.

        Are you looking into Paleo or just reviewing the recipe? I like to get to know my followers.

        1. MLR

          I really appreciate your reply! I was just checking out the recipe. Thank you for educating me on the bacon thing, that totally makes sense! …and I actually think the egg on top looks yummy. After rereading what I wrote, I am sorry I came across so critical, your “carbonara balloon” is fully inflated and judging from the comments it is delicious and will make it to my table very soon. I will let you know how it turns out!

          1. PopularPaleo

            No worries!!! This Paleo thing can look a little strange at times… You should see what I do with cauliflower! haha! If you do get a chance to make this, let me know how it goes and if you have any suggestions. I think I’ll use fresh parsley in lieu of the scallions next time myself… Take care!

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  24. meatified

    I LOVE carbonara and I LOVE runny eggs. Hellz yeah. I wish I could find some real pancetta somewhere – you totally reminded me to go look again!

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  26. Theresa

    OMG, made this for dinner tonight an it was amazing! I didn’t have the exact ingredients on hand so I chaned a couple of things. Used smoked venison sausage instead of bacon and I added kale just for some green goodness! YUM!

        1. PopularPaleo

          I’ve been eating salmon for the past two days… so very good! In fact, I bet salmon and spaghetti squash with a poached egg on top would be super tasty!!

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  28. OneMotherofaDay

    I’m so glad you posted this! I love chicken carbonara, but since going Paleo haven’t been able to have it. I will use this for one of my meals for next week!! I can’t wait to try it!

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