Carbonara is a delicious and easy Italian pasta dish made with cured pork. While traditional carbonara is incredible, I wanted to try and make a vegetarian version. I try to buy less meat when I can and I knew this was a dish that could easily be made vegetarian. This halloumi carbonara uses… you guessed it! Halloumi!
Halloumi is a semi-hard cheese made from a mixture of goat and sheep’s milk and it is so good. It has a high melting point, which makes it an excellent alternative to our pork, since it won’t disappear into the dish.
This halloumi carbonara came together super quickly and will likely become a staple in my dinner rotation.
Halloumi Carbonara Ingredients
- Spaghetti: The spaghetti is the star of the show in this meal. However, you’re not limited to spaghetti. If you have penne or angel hair pasta, that would be fine too.
- Halloumi: This cheese can be bought in most stores, but in my experience it isn’t too cheap. I used about half of the block.
- Eggs: These are the main ingredient of the sauce. Carbonara traditionally doesn’t use cream, so the eggs are what give it its unique texture and taste.
- Parmesan: I will never turn down a recipe with double cheese! Usually, carbonara uses parmesan or Pecorino Romano (and sometimes a combination of both) but Pecorino Romano is harder to find for me, and also costs more. I opted to solely use parmesan, but you could use either or both depending on your preferences.
- Garlic: I don’t think I’m capable of making a single recipe without garlic. It just adds so much flavor. Normally you would cook the garlic with the pancetta or cured pork, but in this recipe we cook it by itself just a few minutes before adding the pasta.
How to Make Halloumi Carbonara
The first thing you’ll want to do is prepare the halloumi. First, slice it about half an inch thick and then dice it. We want it to resemble pancetta, so a small cube is what we’re looking for.
Set the halloumi aside and bring your pot of salted water to a boil for the spaghetti. You’ll want to cook the spaghetti a couple minutes less than the packet says so it’s al dente. It will continue to cook in the egg mixture later so we don’t want it to get too done in the boiling water.
While the spaghetti is cooking, beat the eggs and then add the parmesan, cracked black pepper and salt, then mix well.
When your pasta is minutes from being done, add the chopped garlic and one tablespoon of olive oil to a hot pan to cook. This is what you’ll be mixing the egg and pasta in, so make sure it’s big enough to accommodate everything. Once the garlic is cooked, turned the heat off, but keep the pan on the burner. The residual heat in the pan is how you’ll cook the eggs. If it’s too hot, you won’t end up with a creamy sauce, but rather scrambled eggs.
Transfer your pasta and one cup of pasta water to the hot pan and give it a quick mix, then slowly pour in the egg mixture while constantly mixing the pasta. I prefer to use tongs, but you could use a spatula as well. You’ll want to do this for a few minutes until the egg has become creamy. Then add in the halloumi and mix a couple more minutes to warm it through.
Then serve the halloumi carbonara topped with freshly cracked pepper and a sprinkle of parmesan.
Storage & Reheating
You can store this halloumi carbonara in an airtight container for up to four days. To reheat, you can heat it on the stove or in the microwave, but make sure to add about a tablespoon of water to rehydrate the noodles.
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- 1 lbs spaghetti
- 5 oz halloumi
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic
- 2 eggs
- 3/4 cup parmesan, grated
- 1 cup pasta water
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 15 cracks black pepper more for serving
- Slice the halloumi about an inch thick and then dice it to resemble pancetta. Set it aside and bring a pot of salted water to a boil for the spaghetti. Cook the spaghetti a couple of minutes shy of what the package says to ensure it's al dente. It will continue cooking later, so we don't want it to get too done at this point.
- While the pasta is cooking, mix together the beaten eggs, parmesan, pepper and salt. Then finely chop the garlic and cook with 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a hot pan, then turn the heat off, but keep the pan on the burner. This is what we'll mix the pasta in later so make sure it's big enough. Do this step just before the pasta is ready so the pan is still hot.
- Into the pan with the garlic, add the pasta and 1 cup of pasta water, then slowly mix in the egg mixture, mixing constantly to ensure it doesn't scramble. Mix it for a few minutes until the eggs become creamy and cooked. Then add in the diced halloumi and continue mixing until its warmed through.
- Serve topped with freshly cracked pepper and parmesan (optional).