Vegan & Gluten-Free Carbonari

Well, let me tell you, this carbonara-based dish of mine own creation – it’s definitely a treat meal people! Savoury, cheesy, smoky, and drop dead delicious, this recipe is vegan and gluten-free. Perfect paired with pasta (or gluten-free gnocchi, as I like to do it) and with some garlic bread for dipping into the thick sauce, this carbonara is a decadent but cruelty-free take on the classic.

I usually like to create healthy recipes (that are still fabulous, of course) but I have strayed before (I’m talking about you, Peanut Butter Bites) and I’m straying again because this needs to be shared with the world. I also generally try to advocate that those following a vegetarian, vegan or plant-based diet try not to rely on processed foods, that are usually not so good for you after a while. But I do truly believe that treat meals and days are important, especially if you do eat a healthy diet. It’s all just about balance. Anyway, I say this is a carbonara-based dish because I’ve made some changes from the classic (more so than just making it vegan and gluten-free). Whenever I have a white sauce, I love it to be super cheesy. I can’t get on with thin white sauces, so when I first started experimenting with this recipe I used loads of vegan cheese. This made the sauce come out closer to the consistency of a macaroni cheese than a carbonara, but I actually loved it so I decided to keep it this thick as it works. Hence the name carbonari! This meal takes under half an hour to prepare, making it quick as well as easy – which is usually just right for treat meal days. This recipe serves two, so just adjust accordingly if you are making more or less (though I can’t see anyone wanting less of this bad boy to be honest).


> Gluten-Free Plain Flour – 1 TBSP.

> Vegan Butter – 2 TBSP.

> 2 Garlic Cloves.

> 2 TBSP Parsley (or more, if you like – this is really personal preference).

> 300ml Soya or Alternative Plant Milk (Add more incrementally if you want a thinner sauce, and stick with milks that have a neutral flavouring – like soya, rice or oat, etc.)

> 100g Applewood’s Smoked Vegan Cheese, grated or cut thinly.

> Quorn Smoky Vegan Ham Slices – as many as you like (I usually use a whole pack between two).

> Pasta or gnocchi of choice, or whatever you want to give it a go with.


1) Start by putting on your pasta as you normally would. For those that need a little more inspiration, add a TBSP of olive oil and a dash of salt to the hot water you have your pasta in. If you are doing gnocchi, ensure you do not overcook it as you will be combining it into the sauce later and it will cook on a little. This is really only important if using gnocchi, as it only takes a few minutes to be ready – take a minute off three minutes cooking time, for example.

2) Put the butter and garlic (preferably crushed, but it’s your choice) into a large saucepan and melt over a low heat on the hob.

3) While the butter melts it’s time to get your ham ready. There are a couple ways you can do this. You can use oven or grill, and you can chop the ham slices into tiny lil’ pieces before cooking or after cooking. However you want to do it, it is all the same but I usually opt for oven-baking on Gas Mark 5 for between 10-15 minutes and then chopping the slices up after (or just tearing them into small pieces by hand – save on washing up and all that). If you do it in the grill the ham will cook quicker, so keep an eye on them and ensure the grill is on a low heat. You want them to be crisped, not burnt.

4) Put the flour into the melted butter, and stir it into a golden paste. Pour the milk in slowly, stirring to combine as you go. Leave for a minute on a low heat, and then add the cheese and parsley in. Increase the heat to medium-low, and leave to thicken. Stir occasionally.

5) When ready, add the ham pieces and the cooked, drained pasta/gnocchi. Stir well to combine and leave to cook for a further 3-5 minutes. You want all the cheese to have entirely melted, producing a thick sauce.

6) When you have your cheesy sauce hot throughout and thick, remove from heat and serve. Bon appétit, ma friends!

If you loved this vegan and gluten-free carbonari, please drop a like and share! Your support means so much and I’d love to hear what you thought. If you want more content like this, from vegan and gluten-free recipes through to travel and lifestyle, don’t forget to subscribe. Wishing you a great day!


3 thoughts on “Vegan & Gluten-Free Carbonari

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