Vegan Carbonara with Pumpkin – Sharon Palmer, The Plant Powered Dietitian

You can make the most amazing Italian carbonara recipe ever, based totally on plants. Yes, that’s right! This rich Vegan Carbonara with Pumpkin calls upon pumpkin, mushrooms, and tempeh bacon to create a rich, creamy pasta that is both hearty and satisfying. It only takes about 20 minutes to whip up this easy carbonara recipe as the main event of your meal, along with a crisp side salad. You can even serve it right out of the pan to cut down on dishes! 

What is Carbonara?

It is a simple, rustic Italian pasta dish, which originates from Rome dating back to the 20th century. Its trademark ingredients are a long thin pasta, such as spaghetti or linguine, eggs, cured pork (bacon), hard cheese, and black pepper. To make this recipe vegan, I took a spin off the original roots of carbonara recipes to remove the meat, eggs, and cheese, and replace them with tempeh bacon and pumpkin for creaminess, flavor, and color. 

How to Make Carbonara

You start by cooking your pasta in boiling water until al dente. Then you reserve some of the pasta water for later. While this is cooking, you can sauté the tempeh bacon and mushrooms, and add the pumpkin, creamer, reserved pasta water, and seasonings. Then top with vegan parmesan cheese. Yum! 

Watch Sharon make this recipe in this Instagram video here.


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Make the best carbonara recipe ever with this Vegan Carbonara with Pumpkin, which is filled with the flavors of tempeh bacon, pumpkin, mushrooms, and pasta. This vegan carbonara is a healthy, easy one-dish meal you can get on the table in 20 minutes!

  1. Add water to a large pot until it’s about half full. Cover, place on burner, and bring to a boil on high heat.
  2. Add pasta, reduce heat to medium, cover, and cook until al dente, following manufacturer’s instructions for pasta (i.e., about 7 minutes for many types of pasta). Remove cooked pasta from the water, drain, and set aside, reserving 1 ½ cups pasta water for later. 
  3. While pasta is cooking, heat a large sauté pan over medium heat and add olive oil.
  4. Add onions and garlic and sauté for 5 minutes. 
  5. Add mushrooms, tempeh bacon, thyme, black pepper, red chili pepper flakes, and ½ cup reserved pasta water, and sauté for 4 minutes. 
  6. Add pumpkin and stir well. Add enough additional pasta water (about ½ cup) to create a creamy texture. 
  7. Add cooked, drained pasta and stir gently until well coated. If desired, add more reserved pasta water as needed to create a moist, creamy pasta dish. 
  8. Top with vegan parmesan cheese and serve immediately. 
  9. Make 8 servings (about 1 ½ cups pasta per serving)


*Learn how to make your own smoky tempeh bacon here—follow the recipe, except for omit the step of pan-frying or baking it. Just marinate the sliced tempeh bacon, drain it, and use the tempeh in step 5. 

To make this recipe gluten-free, use gluten-free pasta and tempeh. 

  • Prep Time: 12 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Category: Entree
  • Cuisine: American, Italian


  • Serving Size: 1 serving
  • Calories: 337
  • Sugar: 5 g
  • Sodium: 455 mg
  • Fat: 7 g
  • Saturated Fat: 2 g
  • Carbohydrates: 57 g
  • Fiber: 5 g
  • Protein: 12 g

Keywords: vegan carbonara, carbonara recipe, what is carbonara, how to make carbonara, easy carbonara recipe


Discover other vegan pasta dinner recipes here:

Vegan Bolognese with Lentils and Walnuts
Mushroom Bomb Lentil Pasta
Fresh Cranberry Beans with Pasta and Greens
Vegan Baked Mediterranean Lasagna
Swiss Chard Pecan Lasagna

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