We had our first real cold spell in New York City this past week and rather than spending time locating any item of winter running gear that has somehow misplaced itself in the past six months…I baked pasta.  Sensible, don’t you think?


So, yes, I may have shown up to my 19 mile run in 35 degree weather on Saturday wearing dri-fit capri leggings, a single long sleeved running shirt and fingers that were exposed to every near-frostbite-inducing natural element.

But at least I was carbloaded.  That has to count for something.


The best thing about this pasta is that with all of it’s melty cheese, creamy insides, and caramelized onion awesomeness…it tastes like it should be 1000 calories a serving.  When really, if we’re being brutally honest.  It’s less than half of that.  Win.


And so, while I can’t promise that it will keep your fingertips from turning a brilliant shade of blue violet by the end of mile five…I will say that it propelled me through 19 miles in almost exactly 3 hours.   Just the boost of confidence I needed on my last long run of this training season.

Let the taper begin.  But not without a serving of this autumnal deliciousness every day until race day.  I may not be able to dress weather appropriately to save my life…but I know a pan of good-luck-pasta when I see it.  And this. Is the real deal.

Again, THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU for all of your kind donations to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society on my behalf and to support me as I run in honor of my dad to cure cancer!

Also, this week’s Food Matters Project recipe is for Spinach-Tofu Burgers, which I’ve already made and loved!  Thanks so much to Matt and Claire for hosting this week!


{Vegetarian} Bacon and Butternut Pasta with Kale and Caramelized Onions
Serves 6, adapted from Cooking Light January 2012


  • 1 butternut squash, cubed
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 8 oz whole wheat pasta
  • 1 bunch lacinato kale, chopped
  • 2 slices tempeh bacon, sliced
  • 2 cups sliced onion
  • 1 tsp salt, divided
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups vegetable broth, divided
  • 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup greek yogurt
  • 1 cup shredded gruyere


  1. Preheat oven to 400.
  2. Toss the squash and the oil in a large bowl until well combine.  Spread squash out over a parchment-lined baking sheet.  Sprinkle with salt and bake until tender, about 30 minutes.
  3. Cook the pasta in boiling salted water for 7 minutes, until al dente.  Add the kale to the pot in the last two minutes of cooking and drain.
  4. Spray a large nonstick skillet with cooking spray.  Over medium heat, cook the tempeh until crispy.  Add the onion to the pan.  Cook 6 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add 1/2 tsp salt and garlic.  Cook for 1 minute, stirring occasionally.
  5. Bring 1 3/4 cups broth to boil in a small saucepan.  In a small bowl, combine the remaining 1/4 cup broth and the flour, whisking to combine.  Add the flour mixture, remaining 1/2 tsp salt, and the red pepper flakes to the pan.  Cook for 2 minutes or until slightly thickened.  Remove from heat and stir in the Greek yogurt.
  6. Combine the squash, pasta mixture, onion mixture, and sauce in a large bowl.  Toss gently.  Spread pasta into a 9×13-inch baking pan.  Sprinkle with gruyere and bake at 400 for 25 minutes or until bubbling and slightly browned.

I am submitting this to Presto Pasta Nights, which is being hosted this week by Lail of With A Spin.

You are reading this post on Eats Well With Others at Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author and or owner of Eats Well With Others. All rights reserved by Joanne Bruno.
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93 Responses to {Vegetarian} Bacon and Butternut Pasta with Caramelized Onions and Kale

  1. london bakes says:

    I have no justification for carb-loading and I still want to dive into a plate of this. It looks and sounds so delicious.

  2. Way to go, Joanne! I’ll be routing for you come race day!

    Curled up, at home, with a bowl of soup, of course! 🙂

  3. This looks amazing. Congrats on such a great run, so proud of you!

  4. Amy says:

    When the weather dipped down to the low 80’s I thought “Fall is finally here!” But alas, it’s back up in the 90’s this week. Soups and casseroles have to wait…again.

    My sister ran her annual half marathon last weekend in 1:58. It’s hard enough to get my mind around 13.1 miles. But 19? And eventually 26… I ran 4 miles yesterday and wanted to die.

  5. This is definitely a great meal to eat before a long run! Looks amazing. So many of my fav veggies in this.

  6. cquek says:

    This looks so delicious and filling

  7. daphne says:

    TOTALLY worth it- especially a 19 mile run. Woah. Champion! That looks delicious with so much vitamins and nutrition for your prep to do the marathon!

  8. Danielle says:

    I have bookmarked a few butternut pasta recipes but I think this one is going to the top of the list.

  9. Katerina says:

    Caramelized onions give such a rich flavor to the dish and fall is all about squash!

  10. Amazing! Baked pasta is definitely a good way to warm up. I love the flavors that you brought together for this!

  11. Marcia says:

    I am seeing a butternut/kale trend here…

  12. It may be asparagus everything for me right now, but we’re still getting a few evenings cool enough for dishes like this. Love the combination of flavours. I’d probably have to swap out kale for spinach as there’s no longer any kale around, but still plenty of butternut. Run or no run I could easily load up on a plateful of this.

  13. Erica says:

    What a creamy and comforting dish! I made a couple of your dishes this weekend for my vegetarian husband and He loved them!I will comment there so your followers can read the feedback! Thank you!

  14. This dish looks wonderful! The perfect dish for autumn.

  15. You are so right and sensible too! This looks totally awesome…of course how could it not with camramelized onions and melty cheese?!!! We still have wonderful summer weather here in Florida, and I am OK with that. Stay warm! 🙂

  16. Gloria says:

    I love caramelized onions! And this look awesome Joanne!

  17. Pam says:

    I love anything with caramelized onions in it. It looks comforting and delicious!

  18. Pam says:

    Oh my this looks good, though I think I might use regular bacon 🙂

  19. sandra says:

    I’ve been curious about tempeh but have not tried it out. Do you find it easy to use? Do you have a preferred brand? I have not had bacon in a million years and find it one of the few things I miss with a passion.

  20. What a mouthwatering fall dish. I can practically smell the amazing aroma from here! Definitely adding this to my to-try list. Thanks, Joanne!

  21. Candace says:

    All my favorite flavors! Yum!

  22. Man, that looks amazing Joanne – baked pasta sounds just right for the chill in the weather. I did the Rock N’ Roll Marathon in San Diego for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society in honor of my Aunt when she passed from NH Lymphoma – such a great organization!

  23. I’m not training for any race soon but I almost wish I was, so I can have an excuse to eat a bowl of this and carbo-load too… Good luck with the upcoming marathon!

  24. Eileen says:

    This looks so great. Baked pasta is absolutely what I want to make when it gets cold out! (It’s even sort of chilly in CA this week! YAY.)

  25. Butternut, caramelized onions, kale…Joanne, you have just combined all my favourites in one dish!

  26. Beth says:

    This looks fantastic. Wish I could eat it right now!

  27. Monet says:

    Um, yes please! We’re still too hot here, but that doesn’t mean I’m not bringing out the casseroles! This looks insanely delicious. Anything with caramelized onions is a must-make in my book!

  28. bacon- yes, butternut squash- yes- together in a bowl with cheesy pasta! YESSSSSSSS

  29. Patty says:

    I love your food…this one looks amazing!

  30. Catherine says:

    Dear Joanne, A delicious pasta bake! Blessings dear. Catherine xo

  31. Hotly Spiced says:

    I would certainly want a huge serving of this if I was going out for a 19 mile run. That’s more than a half-marathon. Well done. I hope you warmed up during the run. I can’t imagine running in such cold conditions xx

  32. kelsey says:

    this looks so delish. o m g.

  33. Pam says:

    It sounds and looks great. Baked pasta is the way to go in cool weather!

  34. Guru Uru says:

    I think this is the ultimate pasta comfort food 😀

    Choc Chip Uru

  35. I gotta get on the butternut in pasta train.
    I haven’t done this ……yet.
    Since I don’t eat a lot of pasta.
    I did try the pumpkin ravioli at trader joes and it was not good. I mean you really have to be a huge pumpkin fan and that’s not me.

  36. I want this so bad right now. Like an insane amount!

  37. Lynn says:

    I will definitely try this one.

  38. Drooling over here, Joanne! Saved.

  39. OohLookBel says:

    If there’s one thing I like, it’s delicious pasta that’s healthier than it looks. Yay!

  40. Donna says:

    Putting on running shpoes vs. Eating pasta. No choice there!

  41. Karis Ann says:

    Tempeh bacon intrigues me. I dislike the taste of every type of meat, except bacon, so it sounds like it might be a great alternative for me.

    I pulled out a hat and gloves this weekend because it’s been colder than heck here, and of course, just when I do the temps climb back into the 60s. Oh well, I’ll take it!

  42. Dining Alone says:

    I would have died from the cold 🙂 But I would have died happy with that in my belly, it looks so freaking good!

  43. Jessie says:

    Joanne, you crazy girl! You have to keep yourself warm! You need those fingers for whipping up fantastic dishes in the kitchen, so no frostbite, ya hear??

    Great job on your 19 miler — quite an accomplishment! I can see this bacon and butternut pasta fueling you to the very end (and I hope you got some after, too 😉 ).

  44. What a great dinner dish! I wonder if I could get my Husband to eat it if I use bacon in it? It just looks amazing!

  45. yum!! two weeks ago, it was about 39 when my husband & i went running. he put on a hat, gloves, long sleeves, and pants before we left. i thought he was crazy, then i stepped outside only to have to go in to get more clothing. i love fall but running in the crazy cold the first few times is no fun.

  46. Laura says:

    Yum, yum, and triple YUM. This just looks absolutely divine.

  47. Looks so good! With all of the veggie goodness in this, I’m thinking that a couple of slices of real bacon may just sneak into it though. Not sure I can even get tempeh bacon anywhere nearby. 🙂

  48. That Girl says:

    Pasta is perfect for the first taste of cold weather. Says the girl who had pasta for dinner tonight.

  49. I’m kind of jealous of your cold spell out there – it’s 90 out here in LA! But I’ll still make this amazing pasta and devour it like there’s no tomorrow!

  50. Kale and caramelized onions? Sign me up. I’m bookmarking this one!!

  51. Debbie says:

    Looks delicious Joanne and I love kale….haven’t had it an ages though and I need to make some soon. 19 miles…wow! I don’t think I could even do one!!!!!

  52. Kari says:

    Ohhhh yes…with all that running, you want to have rewards. This looks entirely suitable!

  53. Oooh, this sounds like the perfect fall pasta! Congrats on the great long run…and good luck at the marathon! I know Nate was super happy to have his last long run this past weekend too 🙂

  54. This looks so delicious! And wow — 19 miles! So impressive!!

  55. bellini says:

    It looks healthy and delicious as always Joanne.

  56. This looks like the perfect dish to serve up on a cold autumn night, yum!

  57. Definitely digging this. The Gruyere cheese is a perfect touch. So creamy!

  58. Barbara says:

    Quadruple yums on this dish, Joanne! Love that gruyere melted into everything.

  59. I’m a big fan a warming from the inside, being a yoga instructor and all. Most of the time I recommend breathing to warm your insides, but in extreme cases, pasta will do the trick. Who needs warm clothes. This looks so great and I think I’ll try making it with turkey bacon!

  60. I need to start running again just so I can load up on meals like this…definitely.

  61. I would really enjoy a nice big serving of that pasta!

  62. I’ve never had tempeh bacon…I’m intrigued!

  63. Shannon says:

    this is definitely a great way to warm up! but please, protect your extremities next time 😉

  64. I’m so intrigued about this tempeh-bacon. I am so proud of you, JO! I know his spirit will be with you when you run.

  65. I have a very odd attitude towards the changes of season with running. I stubbornly wear light clothing until I freeze to death, switch to winter running gear, and then don’t take it off until I’m pooling with sweat in the spring. I have issues with change, I guess. I bet this dish would also be great with cauliflower in place of pasta, for a slightly ‘lighter’ version or to use as a side dish.

  66. That looks absolutely incredibly! Literally drooling! I really like tempeh bacon but never tried it in a pasta before. I bet you could maybe use smoked tofu also?

  67. Oh wow, Joanne, that looks so delicious! You’ve got me thinking I need to make this for dinner tonight! Good luck with your training 🙂

  68. Blond Duck says:

    This would make a long run worth it! 🙂 I’ve been having fun with speed intervals!

  69. I don’t like butternut squash. At least, that’s what my taste buds tell me. HOWEVER, I am determined to change that, because I want to like B/N squash. It’s such a pretty color. This dish, I think, would do the trick. Especially with all that melted cheese and caramelized onion. Love.

  70. Reeni Pisano says:

    You have the ability to make healthy food that is utterly decadent! I love that. And everything about this. I might even get up the courage to try tempeh bacon.

  71. This pasta looks INCREDIBLY awesome! And I love that’s vegetarian 😀

  72. I can’t believe you went out running in the cold when you could have stayed home eating this pasta instead .. You have some crazy will power!

  73. Hannah says:

    Okay, that’s it- I need you to come live with me, or at least next door to me when it gets really cold this winter, because all I want are super-comforting, gooey, carb-tastic, warming dishes just like this. I’m seriously jealous of anyone who gets to share your amazing cooking right now, and I have a feeling that will only get worse as the temperatures continue to drop.

  74. Saguna says:

    Wow, tempeh bacon exists?! I think I need some in my life. And some of this pasta too. You’re incredibly brave- chilly weather is so motivating for the first few miles but I don’t think I could stand it quite that long!

  75. Big Dude says:

    Hard to beat a dish that’s healthy and so delicious looking.

  76. Sounds like you’re doing a great job with training and whatnot. And carb-loading. The most difficult aspect of training 🙂

  77. Johanna GGG says:

    this is my sort of pasta dish – perfect to get you excited about autumn

    I love the change of seasons but I hate how some seasonal habits and stuff just seems to get lost between seasons

  78. Emerald says:

    I just made this tonight and it was SO YUMMY! My Husband loved it too. Thanks for the great recipe! It was a perfect single dish as it had everything in it.. carbs, veggies, cheese, meat ( I used real bacon :/ ). Keep the deliciousness coming!

  79. Alone the color shades of your pasta make me want it so badly right now. Naughty girl, you got me all obsessed all of a sudden. =D

  80. Love this! I may try this with real bacon. Will let you know 🙂

  81. Cara says:

    If I could just eat pasta and squash all autumn long, I’d be one happy gal.

  82. tigerfish says:

    Well I may have missed some of your previous recipes that list bacon tempeh as one of the ingredient;as it is the first time seeing bacon tempeh here in this post. Where can I get that? It sounds really interesting. Does it taste like bacon but is tempeh? :O

  83. withaspin says:

    What a lovely recipe. I’ll have to try this someday. The gallery is up.

  84. Kevin says:

    I am liking the flavour combinations in this!

  85. Being a fellow lover of all things squash this looks amazing!!

  86. Lori says:

    Serious comfort food! Wow, this looks so good. And WOOT to that 19 miler! Hope the tapering goes well. Carb-up! 😉

  87. Chris says:

    The mere word “bacon” in your title made me do a double take, lol.

  88. elly says:

    This looks so awesome, Joanne. I like butternut squash well enough, but I’m not over the moon for it. But, I’m pretty sure I would be with bacon and lots of cheese.

  89. Elizabeth says:

    Can I eat this even if I don’t know where my running shoes are? It looks fabulously good! (Bookmarked)

  90. alifeaskew says:

    I’m making this right now. I’m not sure how much is going to make it in the oven because I keep snacking on the pasta with the sauce. I feel a little guilty for making it with meat, but man I can’t wait until it’s done! I made it ahead so I can pop it in the oven when we get home from trick or treating. Thanks so much for the recipe!

  91. Elizabeth says:

    I made this tonight for dinner. Even though I strayed a little with the ingredients, this was indeed as fabulously good as I expected it to be. Many thanks, Joanne!

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