Vegetarian Carbonara Recipe: Delicious and Easy to Make

At first glance, carbonara might not seem like a vegetarian-friendly pasta dish. But with a few ingredient swaps, it’s easy to make a vegetarian carbonara that’s just as rich and creamy as the original. In this article, we’ll show you how to make an easy vegetarian carbonara recipe and share some tips for making the perfect sauce. (Check out How to Store Fresh Pasta for Longevity)

What Is Vegetarian Carbonara?

Carbonara is a classic Italian pasta dish with spaghetti, egg yolks, grated cheese, and pork belly or prosciutto. Vegetarian carbonara swaps the meat for vegetables like mushrooms, zucchini, or eggplant. The key to making a Delicious vegetarian carbonara that’s just as flavorful as the original is to use ingredients that provide a similar umami-forward effect.

Unlike alfredo sauce, made with heavy cream, a carbonara sauce relies on raw egg yolks, grated cheese, and a splash of starchy pasta water to create a creamy emulsified sauce that evenly coats the noodles. Vegetarian versions of carbonara can skip the pork or include substitutes like Mushroom Carbonara Recipe, coconut “bacon,” or your favorite plant-based meat alternatives.

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Tips for Vegetarian Carbonara

  1. Use the Right Pasta The traditional pasta shape for carbonara is spaghetti. Spaghetti carbonara is easy to manipulate in the pan with tongs, and the creamy sauce coats each thin strand of pasta beautifully. Use a long pasta and additional surface area to get the sauce’s texture right. You can also use other long pasta shapes like fettuccine, linguine, or bucatini.
  2. To make a vegan carbonara, swap out the egg yolks and cheese for a combination of miso, silken Tofu Bacon Carbonara, and nutritional yeast. This provides a similar savory flavor and creaminess to the sauce.
  3. Emulsifying the Sauce Quickly Carbonara sauce benefits from speed. Be ready to whisk the egg and cheese mixture into the salty, seasoned pasta water until they form the signature glossy sauce. Adding a splash of pasta water to the skillet with the finished mushrooms as you work to emulsify the sauce helps because it keeps things loose and can help achieve the perfect consistency.

Easy Vegetarian Carbonara Recipe Here’s a simple and tasty vegetarian carbonara recipe:

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  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • 4 large eggs plus 2 egg yolks
  • ¾ cup grated Parmesan cheese or Pecorino Romano, plus more to garnish
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 5–8 ounces fresh mushrooms such as shiitake, maitake, or king trumpet, sliced into bite-size pieces
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 pound dried spaghetti, bucatini, fettuccine, or linguine


  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over medium-high heat.
  2. Whisk the eggs, egg yolks, and grated cheese in a large bowl until well combined.
  3. In a large skillet over medium heat, warm the oil until shimmering.
  4. Add the mushrooms and sauté until they release, reabsorb their juices, and turn golden brown and tender.
  5. Add the garlic and paprika and cook until the garlic is aromatic, about 1–2 minutes.
  6. Season the mushroom mixture to taste with salt and pepper.
  7. While the mushrooms cook, add the noodles to the boiling water.
  8. Cook until they are almost al dente, about 5–6 minutes.
  9. Use tongs to transfer the noodles directly to the skillet with the finished mushrooms, followed by ½ cup of the pasta cooking water.
  10. Drizzle the egg mixture over the noodles.
  11. Working quickly to emulsify the sauce, vigorously agitate the pasta with the tongs while shaking the pan.
  12. Add more pasta water as needed, tossing the noodles until the sauce is thick and glossy and the pasta is al dente.
  13. Taste, and add salt and pepper as needed.
  14. Transfer the pasta to plates or wide bowls and garnish with more Parmesan as desired. The recipe takes about 20 minutes to make and serves four people.

In summary, vegetarian carbonara is an easy and tasty twist on the classic Italian pasta dish. Using the right ingredients and techniques, you can make a carbonara sauce that’s just as rich and creamy as the original. Try our easy vegetarian carbonara recipe, and let us know what you think.

Vegetarian Carbonara FAQ’s

What are the ingredients for making vegetarian carbonara?

The ingredients for vegetarian carbonara include pasta, garlic, egg yolks, and Parmesan cheese. Asparagus or mushrooms can be added as well. Non-dairy milk can be used instead of cream. Spaghetti or fettuccine are the best pasta choices. Vegetarian alternatives for bacon include tofu and tempeh.

Can I use non-dairy milk in vegetarian carbonara?

Yes, non-dairy milk can be used in vegetarian carbonara instead of cream. Popular options include almond milk, soy milk, and oat milk.

What pasta is best to use for vegetarian carbonara?

For vegetarian carbonara, spaghetti or fettuccine are the best pasta choices. The long shape of this pasta allows the egg and cheese sauce to coat each strand evenly, creating the creamy texture known for the dish.

Can I substitute bacon with any vegetarian alternative?

According to Love and Lemons. Yes, there are vegetarian alternatives for bacon in carbonara, such as shiitake bacon, tofu and tempeh. Other options include veggie bacon or smoked paprika to add a smoky flavor. These alternatives provide a similar crunch and texture as bacon in vegetarian carbonara.

Is vegetarian carbonara a healthier alternative?

Vegetarian carbonara can be healthier depending on the ingredients and portions used. It eliminates the saturated fat and cholesterol from bacon and eggs. However, it can still be high in calories and fat due to using cheese, pasta and cream substitutes. Adding vegetables such as asparagus or mushrooms can increase their nutritional value.

John Siracusa

John is a passionate food enthusiast and entrepreneur with over 25 years of experience in the food service industry. He is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Hell's Kitchen Recipes, a website dedicated to providing high-quality recipes and content to the culinary world. When he's not crafting recipes or managing the website, John enjoys spending time with his family and attending trade shows. He also loves connecting with his audience through social media and can be found on Facebook, Twitter, Google  Podcast and Hell's Kitchen Recipes YouTube channel.

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