Vegetarian Carbonara? It’s possible AND tasty

Sometimes, particularly during this time of year with all the holiday treats in abundance, I like to step back and make a few vegetarian dishes. You don’t have to sacrifice flavor for healthier, lower-fat meals. This dish tastes like an indulgence and I dare you not to go back for a second helping.


5 oz tempeh smoked bacon

cooking spray

sea salt

1 lb spaghetti

2 whole eggs

2 egg yolks

1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese, plus more to garnish each plate

cracked black pepper


Put a large pot of water on high heat, with a TB of sea salt in it. While that’s coming to a boil, chop the tempeh bacon finely into small dice. Spray cooking spray in a frying pan and lightly “toast” the tempeh over medium heat. (The smell is fabulous.) When it’s lightly browned, set aside. When the water boils, toss in the spaghetti and cook to package directions. In a glass bowl, combine eggs (beaten), 1/2 cup parmesan and cracked black pepper (as peppery as you like it). If you are concerned about using raw eggs, realize the hot pasta will cook them for the most part, but you can always use pasteurized eggs (they come in the shell) if you like. Drain the cooked pasta reserved a few TB of the pasta water.

Toss the tempeh in with the egg mixture and toss the whole mixture in a big bowl with the hot pasta, adding a 2-4 TB of the cooking water to make a sauce. Serve immediately, garnishing with more parmesan and black pepper.


About elizabethd

Elizabeth Dougherty has been cooking and writing about food intensively for more than ten years. She is the fourth generation of chefs and gourmet grocers in her family with her mother, Francesca Esposito and grandmother, Carmella being major influences in her early cooking years. As a teenager, her family sent her to Europe where she became focused on French and Italian cuisine. She survived a year and half of culinary tutelage under a maniacal Swiss-German chef and is a graduate of NYIT, Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor’s degree in Hospitality, Business and Labor Relations. Food Nation Radio has won two news awards for content. Broadcasting LIVE each week, nationwide, on and stations around the country.

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