All The Meat You Can Use In Your Carbonara

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Bacon is definitely delicious. We love it when it's been fried until crispy with just eggs and sinangag or garlic fried rice. It's the meaty ingredient in our favorite kind of salad, the Caesar salad, and it's also the meaty component of the crowd-favorite pasta dish, the carbonara

Did you know that you do not need to use bacon in your carbonara to enjoy the pasta dish? We prompt you to take a chance and skip the bacon even just one time to try these delicious meat substitutes instead. 

Photo by Dairy Darilag

1 Use luncheon meat. 

It can be any canned luncheon meat you have in your kitchen but whichever canned meat you have can be a delicious and chunky substitute for bacon. Cook it just like you would bacon with a little oil so it can become browned and crispy on the edges as desired before adding in the other ingredients to make the pasta sauce. 

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Photo by Patrick Martires
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2 Chop up leftover roast chicken. 

You might have seen carbonara pasta topped with a grilled chicken breast fillet, chopped up. Chicken is a delicious addition to a carbonara pasta plate but why leave it on top when you can incorporate it into the dish itself? 

To do that easily, you can use leftover chicken from that whole chicken roast that you had the other day. Pull off the meat from the bones and chop them up to bite-sized pieces. You will want to heat it up in a little before tossing it with the pasta so you don't get a surprising burst of cold from the cold chicken pieces. 

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Photo by At Maculangan

3 Top it with sisig. 

This mash-up is a delicious combination of two Pinoy dishes: the creamy carbonara and the well-loved sisig. This is one hack that those who miss going to bars will probably adore making. Anyone who loves sisig will enjoy the fact that they have another way of eating it, and it doesn't involve a sizzling plate. The sisig is crispy, fatty, and delicious on pasta. 

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Feb 27, 2010

Photo by Patrick Martires

4 Stir in corned beef.  

We know it's a favorite breakfast meat option but it's also a delicious addition to carbonara. Just like the luncheon meat, you will want to cook this just like normal but without the potatoes. The onions and garlic are also optional to your pasta sauce and if you do, it adds that delicious corned beef taste that you might want in your pasta sauce. 

Photo by Riell Santos

4 Swap it with mushrooms. 

There's no reason why the bacon can be swapped with a meatless option such as mushrooms. Mushrooms are a delicious substitute for meat since it does deliver a similar meatiness that mimics the taste of meat. Any plant-based meat option can work in this recipe if you so desired but if you get a chance to get gorgeous mushrooms, try it and see how you like this easy meat swap. 


Thinking about what to cook next? Join our Facebook group, Yummy Pinoy Cooking Club, to get more recipe ideas, share your own dishes, and find out what the rest of the community are making and eating!

Got your own version of the classic dishes? Pa-share naman! Get your recipe published on by submitting your recipe here.

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