This vegetarian carbonara offers a fresh a twist on the Italian classic. Instead of using guanciale or pancetta to flavor the egg sauce, this recipe uses a basil and mint aioli to brighten things up. The peas add some texture and a touch of sweetness, and a fried egg on top takes this dish from great to seriously delicious!
Carbonara is one of my favorite dishes because it’s so versatile. You can never go wrong with the classic version, but it’s so fun to dress it up in different ways! In the fall, I love to make pumpkin carbonara. For a lighter version, I like to substitute some of the pasta with zucchini noodles. For a seriously decadent comfort dinner, my go-to is sweet onion carbonara. Whatever your style, there’s a carbonara for everyone!
Vegetarian Carbonara with Peas
For the Basil-Mint Aioli
- 1 garlic clove minced
- 2 large egg yolks see Note
- 2 teaspoons mustard
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- ¼ cup finely chopped fresh basil leaves
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh mint leaves
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ½ cup grapeseed oil
- ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
For the Pasta Carbonara
- 1 pound linguine or other long pasta
- 2 cups fresh peas or frozen peas thawed
- 1 cup shaved pecorino cheese
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 4 to 6 large eggs
- For the aioli, combine the garlic, egg yolks, mustard, lemon juice, basil, mint, salt, and pepper in a food processor and process to a smooth consistency, about 20 seconds. With the machine running slowly drizzle in the grapeseed and olive oils. Set the aioli aside while you make the pasta. Basil-Mint Aioli can be kept, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the linguini and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Reserve 1 cup of pasta water, drain the pasta, and transfer to a large bowl. Add 1 cup of the aioli, the peas, cheese, salt, and pepper, and toss gently to combine, using the reserved pasta water to loosen the aioli as needed. Place the pasta on a long, rectangular serving dish. Cover to keep warm while you fry the eggs.
- Place the butter in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add the eggs and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Fry the eggs to your liking. Place the eggs on top of the pasta and serve immediately.
- Note: There are some dangers associated with eating raw eggs, especially for those with compromised immune systems. To reduce the risk of salmonella or other food-borne illness, use only fresh, properly refrigerated, clean, grade A or AA eggs with intact shells, use shell eggs that have been treated to destroy salmonella, by pasteurization or another approved method.