You’ll never miss the bacon in this creamy and easy Vegetarian Carbonara with Mushrooms recipe. This meatless pasta dish is a main course that is both simple to prepare and even meat lovers will enjoy it!
We originally shared this recipe on August 26th, 2016. We have updated some of the content to share it with you today. This post contains affiliate links.
Why We Love This Mushroom Fettucini Carbonara Recipe
We originally discovered this recipe for Mushroom Carbonara while reading through Fresh Italian Cooking for the New Generation by Alexandra Caspero Lenz, R.D.. We had recently returned from a trip from Italy and the simplicity of the ingredients and authentic-tasting hearty flavors were just what we wanted after returning back to the United States.
After making this recipe, and learning just how easy making Fettucini Carbonara from scratch is, it has become one of my go-to family-friendly dinner recipes I make when I am short on time but want something the whole family will love. I have since come up with my own Brussels Sprouts Pasta Carbonara too!
This version of pasta carbonara is made without bacon, guanciale or pancetta, and instead relies upon sauteed shallots and meaty crimini (Baby Bella) mushrooms. The simple egg and Parmesan sauce blended with a bit of the hot pasta cooking liquid comes together in seconds and enrobes the al dente whole-wheat pasta in the most delicious way!
Pair this meal with Air-fried cauliflower or Roasted Brussels sprouts for a hearty meatless meal!
Ingredients For This Recipe
We used Baby Bella mushrooms which are also called crimini mushrooms. If you are a mushroom lover and have access to a variety of mushrooms, this is the perfect recipe to showcase them in!
Whole Wheat Fettucini
For more fiber, we used whole-wheat pasta. Feel free to sub in white pasta or gluten-free. You can also use spaghetti or linguini if you cannot find fettucini.
Parmesan or Pecorino Cheese
The freshly grated Parmegiano Reggiano contributes much of the rich flavor and sharp cheesiness to the sauce. Grate some extra to top off each bowl. Other hard Italian cheese such as Pecorino or Asiago can be substituted for a different flavor experience.
Garlic and Shallot
You’ll think that this is too much shallot and garlic, but the flavors really mellow as they brown in the skillet. They add sweet caramelized richness to the flavor profile of the carbonara sauce. You’ll need three shallots and three cloves of garlic. Chop them finely so they just melt into the sauce giving it lots of savory flavors.
To cook the shallots and mushrooms, we chose extra-virgin olive oil, since this is an Italian recipe after all. If you happen to have two different olive oils like we do (one for cooking and one for finishing) choose the less expensive cooking-grade oil as the heat will dissipate any subtle nuances of higher quality oil.
Classic carbonara relies on whole eggs that are cooked by the heat of the pasta, bacon and cooking liquid to form a thick and creamy sauce. This recipe only requires one egg.
We used a combination of salt, pepper and smoked paprika to season the mushroom saute. The smoked paprika helps to add a little smokiness to this vegetarian recipe. Normally that would have come from bacon or pork product in a classic spaghetti carbonara.
Step-By Step Instructions to Make Vegetarian Carbonara
Making this vegetarian fettuccine carbonara couldn’t be simpler! The steps for making creamy carbonara pasta in the comfort of your own kitchen are as follows:
Step 1: Saute the Shallot
First get your pot of pasta water going over high heat. Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium- high heat. Add oil and swirl to coat. Add in the shallot and cook, stirring frequently, until it turns a lovely brown color, this takes about 4 minutes.
Step 2: Add Mushrooms and Seasonings
Add in the mushrooms and spices and continue cooking until the mushrooms are soft and brown. This takes about 8 minutes total. Meanwhile, once your pasta water comes to a boil, add the fettucini to the water and cook it according to the package instructions for al dente.
Step 3: Mix Egg and Cheese
While you are waiting for the pasta to cook and the veggies to soften, in a medium bowl whisk the egg and 1/2 cup of Parmesan so that it is ready to go once the pasta is done.
Step 4: Drain the Pasta and Reserve Cooking Liquid
Once the pasta is cooked, drain it, but make sure to reserve about two cups of the hot pasta liquid. This is an integral part of the sauce, so if you’re afraid of forgetting, set a measuring cup into the colander to remind yourself.
Step 5: Combine Cooked Pasta with the Sauce Ingredients
Here’s where the magic happens! Once your mushrooms are golden and they no longer have excess liquid, and your pasta is drained, you are ready to mix everything together. Keep the burner on low heat, and add the drained pasta to the mushrooms. Toss well with tongs.
Then add in the egg and Parmesan mixture, and toss as you drizzle in the cooking liquid as you toss it with the tongs to make it liquid. The hot pasta and cooking water will cook the eggs and melt the cheese and it will gradually melt into a creamy silky sauce that coats the pasta. Only add enough liquid as you need. If it seems dry or clumpy, you’ll likely need a bit more.
This pasta “seizes” very quickly, so keep a little of the pasta cooking liquid to loosen it if need be. Work quickly to portion it into four wide pasta bowls. To serve, add cracked black pepper, more Parmesan cheese and chopped parsley.
FAQs and Expert Tips
This recipe uses a half pound of pasta, so it’s very likely that you’ll have leftovers. If that’s the case, avoid reheating the fettuccine carbonara in the microwave. This will make the pasta slightly rubbery and will dry out that gorgeous creamy vegetarian carbonara sauce. Instead, portion out the amount of pasta you’d like into a small saucepan. Add a drizzle of water or vegetable broth, then cover it with a lid and turn the stovetop on to a low heat. It will take a few minutes to reheat the pasta, but it tastes so much better when warmed up this way.
More Italian Recipes You’ll Love:
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This delicious vegetarian fettuccine carbonara with mushrooms is easy to make and creamy. Bonus: it’s actually good for you!
- 8 ounces whole-wheat fettuccine
- 1 tablespoons extra-virgin live oil
- 3 shallots, minced
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 10 ounces baby portobello mushrooms, sliced
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika, optional
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Freshly ground pepper, to taste
- 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes or to taste
- 1 large egg
- ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese plus more for garnish
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add shallots, and cook, stirring often until browned and caramelized, about 4 minutes
- Add the garlic, mushrooms, smoked paprika, salt, pepper and red pepper to the mushrooms and cook, stirring often until the mushrooms are soft and browned, 6 to 7 minutes.
- Meanwhile, when the pasta water boils, cook pasta until al dente according to package instructions. Reserve 2 cups of pasta cooking water. Drain thoroughly.
- Whisk egg and ½ cup Parmesan in a small bowl.
- Add the hot pasta to the mushroom mixture and stir to combine. Add the egg mixture and a little of the hot pasta cooking liquid if necessary to thin the sauce if necessary.
- Serve with additional Parmesan cheese if desired.
portion out the amount of pasta you’d like into a small saucepan. Add a drizzle of water or vegetable broth, then cover it with a lid and turn the stovetop on to a low heat. It will take a few minutes to reheat the pasta, but it tastes so much better when warmed up this way.
- Serving Size: 4 servings
- Calories: 326
- Sugar: 2 g
- Fat: 9 g
- Saturated Fat: 3 g
- Carbohydrates: 46 g
- Fiber: 7 g
- Protein: 17 g