gordon ramsay's vegetarian carbonara

Gordon Ramsay’s Vegetarian Carbonara: Rich, Creamy, and Delicious

A classic Italian dish with Gordon Ramsay’s Vegetarian Carbonara, masterfully crafted to satisfy even the most discerning pasta connoisseurs without the meat. Reimagined by the culinary prowess of Hell’s Kitchen, this recipe offers a rich and delightful twist on the traditional carbonara. We’ve created a meat-free version that stands tall in flavor and comfort by harnessing the savory essence of earthy mushrooms and a delicate balance of spices.

So, grab your apron and prepare to transform simple ingredients into a symphony of taste with Gordon Ramsay’s Vegetarian Carbonara, a truly magnificent treat for your weeknight dinners or special gatherings alike.

Vegetarian Carbonara Recipe

Vegetarian Carbonara Recipe

Savor the rich and comforting flavors of a classic carbonara with a vegetarian twist that doesn’t compromise on taste. This Gordon Ramsay’s Vegetarian Carbonara recipe uses a clever blend of mushrooms and authentic Italian cheeses to create an induthat’sand meat-free dish.

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  • 1 Pound Dried Spaghetti, Bucatini, Fettuccine, or Linguine

  • 4 Large Eggs plus 2 Egg Yolks

  • 3/4 Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese or Pecorino Romano, plus more to garnish

  • 5 8 oz Fresh Mushrooms (such as Shiitake, Maitake, or King Trumpet) sliced into bite-size pieces

  • Kosher Salt, to taste

  • 2 Tablespoons Extra-Virgin Olive Oil

  • 3 Garlic Cloves, minced

  • 1 Teaspoon Smoked Paprika

  • Freshly Ground Black Pepper, to taste


  • Prepare the Egg Mixture:
  • Whisk the eggs, egg yolks, and grated Parmesan or Pecorino Romano cheese in a bowl. Set aside.
  • Cook the Pasta:
  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta according to package instructions until al dente. Reserve about 1 cup of pasta water, then drain the pasta.
  • Cook the Mushrooms:
  • While the pasta is cooking, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
  • Add the sliced mushrooms and sauté until they brown and release moisture.
  • Add the minced garlic and smoked paprika to the mushrooms. Cook for an additional minute, stirring frequently.
  • Combine Pasta and Mushrooms: Add the cooked pasta to the skillet with the mushrooms. Toss to combine, evenly distributing the mushrooms and garlic throughout the pasta.
  • Create the Carbonara Sauce:
  • Remove the skillet from the heat. Quickly pour the egg and cheese mixture over the pasta, continuously tossing the pasta to coat it with the sauce. The residual heat will cook the eggs, creating a creamy sauce.
  • If the sauce is too thick, add some reserved pasta water to reach the desired consistency.
  • Season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
  • Serve the vegetarian carbonara hot, garnished with additional grated Parmesan or Pecorino Romano cheese.

Recipe Video



Good Substitute for Meat in Carbonara

A popular substitute for meat in a carbonara for vegetarians is smoked tofu. It provides a similar texture and, when seasoned well, can offer a smoky flavor reminiscent of traditional carbonara meat. Other options include tempeh, seitan, or a variety of mushrooms, like shiitake or portobello, which can mimic the umami and earthy flavors of meat.

Carbonara Without Guanciale

Carbonara made without guanciale (or any other traditional pork meats like pancetta or bacon) is sometimes referred to simply as “vegetarian carbonara” or “carbonara-style pasta” when vegetarian substitutes are used. If no meat substitutes are used, it might be called an “egg and cheese pasta,” but it would lack the distinctive carbonara moniker due to the absence of the cured pork ingredient.

Necessity of Meat for Carbonara

Traditionally, meat is a key ingredient in carbonara, providing a salty, savory depth to the dish. However, it is not strictly necessary for the structure of the sauce, which is primarily based on eggs and cheese. Vegetarian and vegan versions of carbonara can be made without meat, using various substitutes to replicate the flavor and texture or omit it altogether for a simpler yet still creamy and satisfying pasta dish.

Substitutes for Bacon in Vegetarian Carbonara

For a vegetarian carbonara, you can substitute bacon with several options to achieve a similar smoky, savory taste. Options include:

  • Smoked or marinated tempeh
  • Smoked cheese, such as smoked gouda, finely chopped to mimic the texture of bacon bits
  • Vegan bacon substitutes made from soy or seitan
  • Smoked or seasoned mushrooms, like shiitake
  • Sun-dried tomatoes for a chewy texture and umami flavor

As we wrap up this culinary adventure, we hope you’re filled with the anticipation of tasting the rich and velvety flavors of Gordon Ramsay’s Vegetarian Carbonara, adapted for the modern, health-conscious kitchen. We’ve traded traditional meat for hearty mushrooms and a blend of exquisite spices, proving that vegetarian fare can be just as luxurious and satisfying.

Whether you’re cooking for a casual dinner or a festive gathering, this dish is sure to delight both vegetarians and meat-eaters alike. Gather round the table, share in the joy of good food, and savor each forkful of this comforting classic—redefined. Buon appetito!

Last Updated on January 29, 2024 by John Siracusa


  • John Siracusa

    Hi, I'm John. I've worked in the Food Service industry for over 25 years, working in my family's business. Cooking for me has always been an art infused with traditions. My career was inspired by Hell's Kitchen, the West Side of Manhattan, which has one of New York City's best independent restaurant communities. I also admire Gordon Ramsay's no-nonsense approach to always being your best.

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