Sun-dried Tomato Carbonara makes a perfect weeknight meal! This family-pleaser takes just 20 minutes pot-to-plate; plus, it's vegetarian & budget-friendly!
Why You Will Love this Recipe
“Carbonara” means Charcoal Burner in Italian – I looked it up.
Surprised? Me too. I’ll be honest: for the longest time, I thought “carbonara” meant “bacon” – because it’s nearly impossible to find a recipe for carbonara that doesn’t include bacon (or its fancy cousin, pancetta).
This recipe for Sun-dried Tomato Carbonara takes just 20 minutes to throw together, making it a perfect weeknight meal. Plus, it's vegetarian and budget-friendly.
Sun-dried Tomato Carbonara has been a staple on our menu for years. Back when my kids were young, I was always on the lookout for quick, easy meals that didn't take a lot of effort. If they were budget-friendly, even better.
This 20-Minute Sun-dried Tomato Carbonara totally fits the bill! All five of my kiddos - including the vegetarians! - devoured it whenever I made it, which is something of a miracle.
If this recipe looks tasty to you, be sure to check out our Mediterranean Panzanella (Italian Bread Salad) recipe! It's delicious!
More Easy, Budget-friendly Meals
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Sun-dried Tomato Carbonara
- 1 Tongs
- 6 ounce thin spaghetti or angle hair pasta
- 4 quarts water
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- ¾ cup sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil, loosely packed
- 2 large eggs lightly beaten
- ½ cup half & half or milk
- ¾ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese divided
- ½ ounce fresh basil leaves about large 10-15 leaves
- Freshly ground pepper and kosher salt
- Additional fresh basil leaves to garnish
- Heat 6 quarts of water in a large pot on high heat. When the water is boiling, add 1 tablespoon of salt and two tablespoons of olive oil. Reduce heat to simmer and add pasta. Cook, stirring occasionally, according to directions until barely al dente. (Just barely done.)
While the pasta is cooking:
- Drain sun-dried tomatoes. (Put the oil back in the jar to use later!) Chop the sun-dried tomatoes into ¼"-½" pieces. Set aside.
- Chiffonade the basil. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, and half of the Parmesan.
- When the pasta is done, drain it thoroughly in a colander, reserving 2 cups of the cooking liquid.
- Heat a Dutch Oven or other heavy bottom pot over medium-high heat. Add 1 cup of the reserve pasta cooking liquid and bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat to medium. Add drained pasta pasta to hot cooking liquid in Dutch oven and stir constantly, using tongs, until most of the liquid is absorbed.
- Whisk ½ cup reserve cooking liquid into egg mixture. This tempers the egg mixture. DO NOT skip this step!
- Slowly drizzle the egg mixture into the hot pasta, tossing it all constantly with tongs as you do. Continue stirring with tongs until egg mixture thickens to make a creamy sauce. Remove carbonara from from heat. I usually remove the pot from the heat when the sauce is just beginning to come together, and let it continue cooking in the residual heat. The trick is to keep the sauce constantly moving until it has thickened. If the sauce is too thick, you can use some of the remaining reserve liquid to thin it. Add about 1-2 tablespoons at a time, until the sauce is the consistency of heavy cream. (You will probably not use all of the reserve liquid.)
- Once the sauce is as you like it, toss in half of the chopped sun-dried tomatoes, half of the basil, and half the Parmesan. Mix with tongs.
- Finish with freshly ground pepper, and the remaining parmesan, sun-dried tomatoes, and fresh basil.
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. You are solely responsible for ensuring that any nutritional information provided is accurate, complete, and useful.
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Originally published October 8, 2013. Post has been up dated with new images, content, and recipe instructions to improve reader experience.
This looks so good. I often order this when I go to restaurants. I can't wait to try it.
What a perfect weeknight meal--especially since it only takes 20 minutes!
This recipe looks easy and delicious!
Renée ♥ says
It's one of the easiest meals ever to make.
My Grandma used to make a variation of this. Can't wait to try yours! Love how you can use a Dutch oven, they are one of my kitchen staples.
Renée ♥ says
Mine, too. I don't know what I'd do without mine.
Krissy Allori says
Oh wow, this was such a rich and hearty sauce. My family loved it!! I'll be making it again for sure.
Sara Welch says
This was incredibly delicious; the whole family loved it! Easily, a new family favorite meal, indeed!
Kelly Anthony says
My youngest is going through a phase of not eating her dinner. I'm going to make this in hopes that she and her sister will devour it like yours. It looks amazing and I love that it is a quick meal too.
Renée ♥ says
I will cross my fingers for you! I remember the days of picky eaters - it can be so frustrating!!
Pasta goals! This looks fabulous, can't wait to try it soon
We are always looking for quick and easy meals to make! The flavor was amazing! Definitely a family favorite!
My family really loves a classic carbonara so I am really interested in trying this to see if the kids would love it too. So much healthier and just as easy!
Renée ♥ says
I hope they love it!
This looks and sounds so good! Printing to make for the family soon!
Michelle @ A Dish of Daily Life says
I am all about easy!! Pinned this - love sun dried tomatoes! Visiting from SITS...hope you enjoy your day!
Virtually Vegan Mama says
I love simple pastas like this...and I adore sundried tomatoes! Found you through SITS! nice to meet you!
Renée ♥ says
Thank you for stopping by! I just checked your blog - looks yummy!! Your Roasted Veggies With Balsamic Reduction are now pinned to my Thanksgiving board - they look simply wonderful. (Although, truth be told, I would probably eat an old shoe if you tossed it in a good balsamic reduction!)
Yvonne @ Dress This Nest says
Yum! What a great idea! I love carbonara AND sun dried tomatoes and this is a great alternative to our current recipe.
Bill Volckening says
I'll have to try it- looks delicious! May have to take a couple extra minutes to use spaghetti, though. Been making carbonara with spaghetti for years, and I guess old habits die hard. 🙂
Renée ♥ says
I used spaghetti for years too, Bill. But my kids converted me, and now I almost always use whole wheat angel hair pasta. It takes about 6 minutes to boil, and the whole wheat gives it some body so it doesn't get "lost" in the mix. I do understand about old habits though!