Vegetarian Carbonara

How to Make Vegetarian Carbonara

Vegetarian Carbonara is the pasta dish I didn’t know I was missing. After an unprecedented number of requests, I have created the most delightful, creamy vegetarian carbonara dish and must admit, it’s sensational. With fried zucchini, pepper, and carbonara the flavor comes together beautifully. With a touch of garlic to give the dish a little kick..(*shhh* don’t tell Gordon
Ramsey!) Controversial? Maybe, but I couldn’t live with the fact so many people are unable to enjoy Carbonara due to not eating meat so this is my creation and I stand by it.
Carbonara is a traditional, creamy Italian pasta and one of the world’s most talked about pasta dishes. With my long history of hating inauthentic carbonara, it may seem surprising I’ve made this vegetarian version. But after reaching 1 million subscribers on YouTube, I can’t think of a better way to celebrate than to create many versions of carbonara that everyone can enjoy!

Watch the Vegetarian Carbonara video recipe


how to make vegetarian carbonara

Vincenzo’s Plate Tips for Vegetarian Carbonara

Cut the zucchini to mirror guanciale

Cut the zucchini so they look like guanciale by slicing them into thin coin shapes and placing the coins on top of one another. Then cut them into thin, vertical strips. One zucchini should be more than enough, but it depends on how much you like zucchini. It may look like you have a lot but it does shrink when cooked so add more if you’re unsure.

Add garlic to give the dish added flavor

Don’t get too excited, Gordon Ramsey! The only reason we are adding garlic is that this vegetarian dish doesn’t have any guanciale. The guanciale is usually what has the salt, pepper, and garlic flavor that gives carbonara its flavor.

Cook the zucchini in two batches

I split the zucchini into two batches to prevent the oil from getting cold. The zucchini will take a few minutes to fry. They should be slightly brown and crunchy when they are ready.

Don’t forget one full egg

When making carbonara, you need 1 egg yolk for every 100 grams of pasta. Each carbonara should also include 1 full egg. For example, if you have 600g of pasta, you will need 6 egg yolks and 1 full egg.

Cut the garlic into tiny pieces

The garlic should be cut super finely. I like to add it to give the dish a slight kick, but it shouldn’t be super noticeable. If you have trouble cutting the garlic finely, you can also use a garlic crusher to get small pieces.

Save some pasta water

When cooking the pasta, be sure to save a mug full of pasta water. The starch from the water will turn the eggs into a creamy carbonara sauce.

Get every last drop!

Add some pasta into the bowl with the leftover egg mixture and swirl it around. This will help you get every last drop of the egg mixture for the carbonara cream.
vegetarian spaghetti carbonara

How to serve Vegetarian Carbonara

To serve this delicious vegetarian carbonara, scoop some up with your tongs and make a mountain of beautiful pasta on your plate. Then, pour some extra carbonara cream on top, and let it drizzle over the top and seep through the pasta.

Once your pasta is plated, finish the dish by topping it with freshly ground black pepper, pecorino romano cheese, and some fried zucchini. Now, this is how you make a proper vegetarian carbonara!
vegetarian carbonara recipe
how to make vegetarian carbonara

Vegetarian Carbonara Recipe 

This vegetarian carbonara is the perfect alternative to a traditional guanciale carbonara. The nuttiness from the freshly ground pepper and spicy aromatic flavor of the garlic truly come together to emulate a guanciale flavor. Once that creamy sauce makes love to the pasta, this dish becomes the most amazing vegetarian pasta recipe; my spin on the traditional for anyone unable to eat pork.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Main Course, Pasta
Cuisine Italian
Servings 2


  • 1 knife
  • 1 Chopping-board
  • 1 large pot for frying
  • 1 Slotted spoon
  • 1 Plate
  • 1 Roll of paper towels
  • 1 large pot for boiling pasta
  • 1 Small bowl for eggs
  • 1 fork
  • 1 wooden spoon
  • 1 Frying pan
  • 1 Mug
  • 1 Silicone tongs


  • 1 Large zucchini Or two medium
  • 200 grams Dry pasta 7.05oz I used fileja Calabresi
  • 3 Eggs 2 egg yolks, 1 entire egg
  • 5 tbsp Pecorino romano Up to 6 heaped tbsp.
  • 2 cloves Garlic 1 per person
  • Sunflower oil to fry the zucchini
  • Extra virgin olive oil as much as required
  • Salt and pepper as much as required


  • Cut the zucchini into thin disks, place the disks on top of one another, and slice them thinly
  • Make sure the oil is hot, and fry the zucchini strips.
  • Once the zucchini turns crispy brown, take them out and rest them on a paper towel over a plate.
  • Start boiling water and add 1 tablespoon of rock salt.
  • Once the water is boiling, and you have prepped your sauce add the pasta and follow the cooking instructions on the package.
  • After the pasta is cooked, strain the pasta, but be sure to keep about 1 mug of pasta water for the sauce.
  • Combine 2 egg yolks and 1 whole egg. (The egg white can be used to make amaretti while the egg yolks are used for carbonara!) Then add a generous amount of pepper.
  • Add some pecorino cheese - a small amount at a time so it can be thick but still runny. This will turn into cream, so make sure it doesn’t get too thick.
  • Leave some pecorino on the side so that you can use it as a topping for your pasta.
  • Cut the garlic, so it is very, very thin, and then smash it and/or cut it even smaller.
  • Heat a frying pan on low heat and add 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil letting the smell of garlic fill the room.
  • After approx 30 seconds, add the zucchini. Once cooked, take them out and place them on a plate with a new paper towel.
  • Add the pasta to the frying pan and add about half a mug of pasta water. Stir the this through.
  • Take the pan off the heat and add some pecorino cheese then mix everything together.
  • Add the egg mixture into the pan then combine. The water and egg will combine and create a beautiful cream.
  • Then sprinkle some more of the pecorino and zucchini then mix everything together, and you have a beautiful vegetarian carbonara!
  • To serve, carefully scoop some of the carbonara onto the center of the plate and top it off with some pepper, pecorino, and zucchini.


Keyword Easy Vegetarian Italian Recipe, Vegetarian Pasta Recipe, Zucchini Carbonara
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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7 Responses to Vegetarian Carbonara

  1. Simon October 11, 2022 at 2:29 AM #

    Pecorino Romano is not suitable for vegetarians I think you will find.
    A great recipe which should be labelled Vegetable and not Vegetarian.

    • Vincenzo's Plate April 29, 2023 at 2:31 AM #

      You are correct that Pecorino Romano cheese is typically made with animal rennet, which makes it unsuitable for vegetarians. I apologize for any confusion caused by the use of this ingredient in the recipe. The recipe could be adapted to be suitable for vegetarians by using a vegetarian alternative to Pecorino Romano cheese.

    • Larkin March 13, 2024 at 10:04 PM #

      cheese is fine for most vegetarians, it’s vegans who would need an alternative

  2. Nick W November 7, 2022 at 5:45 AM #

    5 stars
    Great tasting recipe, absolutely delicious!

    • Vincenzo's Plate April 29, 2023 at 1:54 AM #

      Feel free to share it with others who might also appreciate it.

  3. Kyle March 19, 2024 at 1:25 AM #

    Dying to try this recipe, but I think vegetarians don’t eat cheese or eggs. I’m not a vegetarian, so correct me if I’m wrong.

    • Vincenzo's Plate March 25, 2024 at 12:23 PM #

      Grazie for checking out the recipe. To clarify, vegetarians typically avoid meat but often still eat dairy and eggs, which means cheese and eggs are generally okay. However, dietary preferences can vary widely, so it’s always good to check. If you’re making this for someone with specific dietary preferences, it’s always a good idea to ask what they’re comfortable with. Happy cooking, and I hope the recipe turns out deliciously for you!

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