Sweet Potato & Spinach Carbonara

in Carbonara, Pasta, Pork, potatoes, Spinach, Starches

Sweet Potato & Spinach Carbonara

My friend Katie has been called The Carbonara Queen. Crab, jalapeno & corn, BLT, lemon & spinach. If it can be whisked into that creamy sauce of bacon, pepper, eggs, and cheese, she has done it.

She’s kind of my Pasta Patronus. And I’d like to be just like her when I grow up:

Zucchini Carbonara Roasted Broccoli Carbonara Fettuccine alla Carbonara

One of her last Carbonara creations was a beautiful stomach-growl-inducing adaptation: Butternut Squash & Spinach Carbonara.

I didn’t have butternut squash – or the desire to put on pants and mascara to go get some (that’s my minimum to go in public) – but I did have sweet potatoes. I pulled out my favorite basic carbonara recipe, a few slices of bacon, and was on my way to what would quickly become a house-favorite carbonara.

Sweet Potato and Spinach Carbonara

It’s because there’s bacon. And diced sweet potatoes that are cooked in bacon drippings until nicely caramelized, and then tossed with hot pasta and wilted fresh spinach until a beautiful, peppery, creamy sauce forms from the bacon, eggs, and cheese.

And bacon.

Carbonara is really the closest thing I can get to meatless meal without the natives rebelling. Or complaining about “spinach again?” But with this one, everyone wins here.

Sweet Potato & Spinach Carbonara

Creamy, peppery carbonara with caramelized sweet potatoes and fresh spinach.


  • 1 large sweet potato, cut into 1/3-inch slices and then diced
  • 2 handfuls fresh baby spinach
  • 8 oz pasta
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 4 slices thick-cut bacon, diced
  • 1 1/2 tsp freshly cracked black pepper
  • 3 oz finely grated Parmesan (about 1 3/4 cup), divided
  • 3 eggs
  • Salt
  • Pepper


  1. Heat 1 tsp olive oil in a saute pan over high heat and add the bacon, cooking until almost completely crisped.
  2. When the bacon has completely browned, use a slotted spoon to transfer to a large bowl (big enough for mixing the entire recipe).
  3. Add the sweet potatoes and cook until nicely browned and fork-tender (but not mushy), about 3-4 minutes on each side.
  4. Add the black pepper and spinach, cover, and turn off the heat - let sit ~2 minutes, until the spinach has wilted.
  5. Mix the eggs and 1 1/2 cups cheese together with the bacon, stirring to mix well.
  6. Add pasta to boiling water and cook per package directions. Set aside 1 cup of pasta water and then drain the pasta.
  7. Immediately add the hot pasta and a splash or two of the hot pasta water (~2 Tbsp at a time) to the bowl with the bacon mixture, while stirring/tossing vigorously to create a creamy sauce.
  8. Toss in the sweet potato mixture and additional splashes of pasta water if necessary to adjust sauce consistency (and if you add too much water, just let the pasta stand for a few minutes).
  9. Serve sprinkled with remaining cheese


Yields: 4 servings

Inspired by So Tasty, So Yummy

Estimated time: 35 minutes

9 comments… add one
  • I love that you referred to someone as your “pasta patronus”. Made my Monday! This pasta dish looks amazing. Carbonara is one of my favorites ways to have pasta, but I’ve never tried it myself.

  • Two thoughts on this. The first being, be still my heart! You have combined my most favorite things in the whole world! And the second being, crap! I just got back from going to the grocery store, so it will have to wait until next week. Thanks for posting!

  • I really need to get on the carbonara train. Like, yesterday.

  • And this is the post in which you almost made me wish I eat bacon. Almost. 😛

  • Loving all this carbonara you’re whipping up lately! Can’t get enough!!

  • Pants are such a pain. I don’t make special trips to the grocery store either–mainly for that whole I-actually-have-to-look-like-a-responsible-adult bit. I think the Mr. and I would both adore this–me for the caramely sweet potatoes and him for the bacon. Who am I kidding? Me for the bacon too.

  • Looks appetizing! I will definitely add more bacon 🙂 mmm YUM!

  • This looks so good. Adding it to my ever growing Carbonara list. It is a sickness.

  • Vanessa F.

    I ended up making this tonight with acorn squash, since the 2 remaining sweet potatoes I had were already going south. My 9yo says it’s a keeper! One question, though … when do you add in the sweet potatoes (or squash) and spinach? I put it in with the bacon, eggs, and cheese before I added the pasta, but was curious if that’s what you had intended to tell us

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