The ultimate vegetarian carbonara


Now here’s a savory treat both veggie & meat lovers won’t be able to get their hands off! May I proudly present you with Your Highness of Italian cuisine – the one and only – Carbonara! Well, it is time to find out what makes this meal so special and unique 🙂

Traditional carbonara, as its’ name suggests, is packed with heavy carbs. The dish itself was developed by Italian peasants who needed energy rich meals for their daily physically intense field work. Nowadays, things have changed drastically; hoe and plug have been replaced by keyboard and cars. With our physically passive lifestyle, we require just a fragment of energy intake our way more active ancestors needed.

The only “downer” is that in most cases, heavy and energy packed food, comforts our palates and brain better than a simple, light & true body nourishing stuff. We no longer chose food in tuned with our true body requirements, but more with our eyes and palates, where feel-good factor prevails over common sense.

Good news is, that with this dish, both factors are synchronized; brain which is craving for comfort, and body which is desperately craving for a good quality nutrition.  Led by philosophy that carbonara should still stay carbonara, I kept all essential ingredients, while tailoring them more to our modern needs. End result is just the right balance of only good carbs and plant proteins.

King ingredients in my carbonara are definitely mushrooms and smoked ground sweet red pepper. Make sure you don’t omit smoked pepper from the recipe! Its’ synergy with stir fried mushrooms is the key to successful execution. Meaty and smoky end flavor is what gives the whole meal that “it” intense carbonara flavor.

Typically, I am all about experiments and alternatives. However, for the ultimate success of this dish, I beg you to be conservative. Just stick to all ingredients & instructions accordingly, and in no time you will keep repeating “Mamma mia, molto bene!”, with an ear to ear smile on your face 🙂

Buon appetito guys!

Prep Time
5 mins
Cook Time
20 mins
Total Time
25 mins

Now here’s a savory treat both veggie & meat lovers won’t be able to get their hands off! This recipe is a living proof that it is possible to create lighter version of carbonara with just the right balance of only good carbs and plant proteins, while still getting that intense flavor with the kick. Mamma mia, molto bene 🙂

Servings: 4 people
  • 4 tbsps olive oil
  • 2 larger cloves garlic
  • 500 g mushrooms
  • 2 tsps salt (for mushrooms)
  • 2 tbsps salt (for pasta boiling)
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 3 tsps smoked ground red pepper (sweet)
  • 1/2 tsp ground chilli or cayenne pepper
  • 320 g whole grain pasta (fusilli shape)
  • 2 2 medium to large eggs (preferably free range)
  • 200 ml soya cooking cream (good quality organic)
  • 1 tbsp grated parmesan (plus extra for topping)
  1. Trim, wash, and slice the mushrooms standard size (about 3 mm thick).

  2. Heat olive oil in a large non-stick pan with a bit higher edges. While oil is heating, finely chop both garlic cloves.

  3. Throw chopped garlic into the pan, and stir fry for couple of seconds until garlic starts changing colour a bit (20 – 30 seconds max).

  4. Add sliced mushrooms, stir well, then add all the spices; salt, pepper, smoked ground pepper, & chilli or cayenne pepper. Stir well again, and leave it to fry on a medium heat for about 12 – 15 minutes.

  5. Meanwhile, start preparing the pasta according to the package instructions. Don’t forget to add salt to the boiling water 🙂

  6. Also, don’t forget to stir mushrooms occasionally, especially towards the end, when the liquid starts evaporating. Once all the juice is gone, and mushrooms start turning a bit brown/grilled, take the pan off the fire and set it aside.

  7. Drain pasta without rinsing. Beforehand, take out 3 tbsps of boiling water, and set it aside in a small cup. Return drained pasta into the same pot where you boiled it.

  8. And now the grand finale! Make sure you have all ingredients handy, as this part goes very quick, and it requires constant stirring.

  9. Place drained pasta pot on the minimum heat.

  10. Immediately add grilled mushrooms, stir, then add both eggs, and stir fry for 1 minute.

  11. Now pour in soya cooking cream and stir fry for another minute.

  12. Add pasta boiling water & 1 tbsp of grated parmesan, then stir fry for yet another minute (this is the last stir, I promise 🙂 ).

  13. In the very end, do a little taste check, and adjust with a bit more salt or pepper if needed.

    Turn the heat off and serve immediately.

  14. Enjoy every single bite to the fullest!

Recipe Notes
  • Dairy cooking cream is perfectly fine to use as well, but I truly recommend good quality soya cream. It will give you the same well rounded flavour with way lighter effect.
  • Any pasta type is fine, but again, for better digestibility my friendly advice is to stick with the original recipe and the whole grain. All in all, more energy and a happy & grateful belly, trust me))
  • This dish pairs perfectly with nearly any salad. My favourite winter version is either pickled sliced beetroot, or rocket (arugula) with sweetcorn, olive oil & balsamic vinegar. In the warmer period, I can’t resist few freshly chopped tomatoes with a drizzle of pumpkin oil.
  • Finely chopped fresh parsley is a very yummy and healthy additional topping idea.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating