Vegan Carbonara with a Lentil “Meat Sauce”


Traditional Carbonara is an authentic dish that originated from Italy. The rich cuisine that molds  Italy varies depending on which group conquered a particular region in that time. According to Good Food Stories, Sicilian foods contain saffron and raisins, which reflect the Arab culture that dominated the island in the ninth and tenth century. Tomatoes were not even in existence in Italy until the 16th century until the Spaniards came and controlled the kingdom of Naples and Sicily, which they brought back with them on their traveling voyages.


In America, one doesn’t have to be Italian in order for their grandmother to cook them a delicious dish of pasta. It is one of our food staples, along with macaroni and cheese.


In 2011, the United States consumed 8.8 (kg) of pasta per-capita. There are over 600 hundred shapes of pasta. For this recipe, we will be using the traditional spaghetti pasta.


I will be using red lentils instead of meat. Lentils, like other beans,  are high in protein and dietary fiber, it’s a naturally gluten-free food, and most importantly, it cooks quickly.


First, chop 1 medium-sized red onion, 1 small carrot,  and 2 celery stalks. Add 2 tsp. extra virgin olive oil, 1 tsp. oregano, 1 tsp. basil, 1/8 tsp. cracked black pepper, 1/2 tsp. salt, 4 cloves of garlic, and 1/2 tsp. cumin. We are basically developing the same flavors we would if we were using meat.


After the celery, onion, carrot, and spices have sweat and become translucent, add 1 3/4 cup of red lentils.


Add one 29 oz can of tomato sauce and 1 cup of water to the mixture and continue to cook on a low heat for 30-45 minutes.

Because we are not using meat for this dish, we need to develop a rich flavor. So I  add 2 tbsp. of soy sauce, this gives the sauce a rich umami addition.


In a separate pot, add a pinch of salt to the water and cook the  pasta according to the manufacturer’s instruction.


Serve the lentil “meat sauce” on top of the spaghetti  for an authentic restaurant appearance. Garnish with fresh basil or parsley. Enjoy!


Vegan Carbonara with a Lentil "Meat" Sauce

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 4 people
Author Ashley Altan


  • 1 Medium onion
  • 1 Small carrot
  • 2 Medium celery stalks
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp oregeno
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1 3/4 cup red lentil


  1. 1.) Chop the carrot, onion, and celery into a medium dice, set aside.

    2.)Add, 2 tbsp. olive oil to a pan . Add the chopped carrots, onion, and celery. Cook until the onions have become translucent.

    3.) Add,  1 3/4 cup red lentils, and the can of tomato sauce, cook for 25 minutes or until the lentils have become tender.

    4.) Cook the pasta according to the manufacture's instructions. 

    5.) Once the pasta has become soft, and the "meat" sauce is ready . Plate the pasta noodle onto a plate and top the pasta with the "meat sauce". Garnish with fresh basil.



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