Make classic Italian carbonara without any meat, but just as tasty! Mushroom carbonara is so satisfying and packed with savoury flavour. Best of all, it’s simple and quick to make!
I learned how to make carbonara from an Italian friend, and since then it has become a staple in my house. It is my go-to recipe for whenever I want something quick and tasty that won’t make me work too hard. It is perfect for both lunch and dinner, and pairs brilliantly with a side salad or pretty much any vegetable.
Mushroom carbonara recipe
Traditional spaghetti carbonara is made with pancetta, which I left out to make this recipe vegetarian. I actually find that the mushrooms do an amazing job on their own, but to add a bit more punch one extra clove of garlic was added. The slightly crushed garlic cloves are removed from the mushrooms after five minutes because carbonara should not be too garlicky. Letting them cook with the mushrooms for a few minutes is plenty of time to let just enough flavour to come through without dominating the dish.
To bring out the best possible rich and nutty mushroom flavour I made sure to brown the mushrooms rather than steam them. To do this, I turned the heat up to give them a bit of caramelization. I also made sure not turn the mushrooms until they had started to get a bit of crispy edge to them.
While this was happening, I had the pasta boiling and was mixing the eggs and cheese. With a bit of practise, you will be able to have everything ready at the same time. Now it is time to take the mushrooms off heat and mix everything together.
Making carbonara is incredibly easy. The creamy sauce coating the mushrooms and pasta is nothing more than eggs and cheese beaten together. While traditional carbonara is used with Pecorino Romano, this isn’t a vegetarian cheese. Look for a vegetarian hard cheese available to you. Avoid anything pre-grated as the result just won’t have as much flavour.
I always use the same ratio of whole egg to egg yolk. I use two or three egg yolks and one whole egg for every two people. It is the egg yolks that make carbonara so creamy. No need to use any cream!
To make the sauce, beat the grated cheese in with the eggs. Add the cooked and drained pasta to the pan when it is done cooking. The key now is to take the pan off the heat before adding the egg and cheese mixture. The residual heat from the pasta will be enough to cook the eggs. If you leave the pan on the heat, you risk having scrambled eggs, which is not what you want!
I also make sure to reserve some of the pasta water in case I want to add it at this point. A little extra pasta water can make the sauce a bit creamier.
If you love cooking with mushrooms, try out our Mushroom Risotto!
Vegetarian mushroom carbonara
Classic Italian carbonara without no meat, but lots of savoury flavour.
- 200g / 7oz mushrooms
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1tbsp olive oil
- 450g / 1lb pasta – we used linguine
- 80g / 3oz vegetarian hard cheese
- 3 egg yolks
- 1 whole egg
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Cook the pasta according to package instructions in a large pot of boiling water.
- Meanwhile mix the egg yolks, one egg and grated vegetarian hard cheese in a small bowl and set aside for later.
- Brown the mushrooms in a heated pan with olive oil with two cloves of whole garlic that have been slightly crushed for about 5 minutes. Discard the garlic cloves. Take the pan off the heat.
- Once the spaghetti is cooked al dente, drain in a colander, reserving ½ cup of pasta water. Add the spaghetti to the pan with mushrooms and half of the reserved pasta water and lightly toss to combine. Then add the egg and cheese mixture and toss until the pasta is evenly coated with the sauce. Work quickly to prevent the eggs from scrambling. If the dish looks dry, add the remaining pasta water and continue mixing until the pasta is coated with the sauce. Add salt to taste. Serve with more grated vegetarian hard cheese and black pepper.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 423Total Fat: 17gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 206mgSodium: 239mgCarbohydrates: 50gFiber: 4gSugar: 2gProtein: 18g
Can anyone tell me what 80 / 1\2 vegetarian hard cheese what is the half please?
Julia Frey / The Veg Connection
Hello Kim, that was an error that has now been fixed. It should have been 80g or 3 oz vegetarian hard cheese.