Carbonara: A Classic Italian Easy-to-make dish that features a creamy-cheesy sauce. It is Delicious and popular enough that there is no need to introduction for it.
But when you eat Carbonara as the main course, you truly need some pleasing proteins or meats to complement the rich flavor of the pasta.
Though Countless meats or proteins can pair with this creamy sauce of carbonara, I listed only 19 best proteins with high-quality budget-friendly meats and vegan options so you can enjoy every way possible.
I hope this Delicious meat makes the amazing carbonara that you’re wanted.
19 Incredible Proteins or meats to Serve with Carbonara
Chicken is a great option for your carbonara dish as it adds both flavor and texture without bogging down your plate with too much protein.
It’s also relatively low in fat, which makes it a healthy choice if you’re watching your calorie intake!
Chicken breast or thigh meat can be added directly into the sauce during cooking or cut into bite-sized pieces and sautéed before being added in at the end.
Either way, adding chicken will boost the protein content while still allowing you to enjoy all of the classic flavors associated with this Italian favorite!
Chicken is easy to cook and has a mild flavor that won’t overpower the other ingredients in your dish.
You can pan-fry it or bake it in the oven until it’s cooked through; before adding it to your pasta dish––just make sure you cut up any large pieces into smaller chunks, so they mix evenly with everything else!
Or try Grilled Chicken.
Grilled chicken is an excellent source of lean protein that adds flavor and texture to any dish.
Add grilled chicken to carbonara for an added crunch and savory flavor. Plus, it’s much healthier than using bacon!
Shrimp pairs perfectly with this classic Italian dish because its delicate texture complements the creaminess of the sauce perfectly.
Shrimp is low in fat and calories but enriched in essential vitamins and minerals such as iodine, zinc, magnesium, Vitamin B12, selenium, potassium, and more.
Not only does it add amazing flavor and texture to the dish, but it also boosts its nutritional value.
Plus, shrimp cooks quickly, so you don’t have to spend too much time prepping before dinner!
3. Pork Tenderloin Or Beef Terderloin
Pork or beef tenderloin is one of the leanest cuts of meat available but still has plenty of flavors.
Know More: What to serve with Beef Tenderloin
Its mild taste pairs nicely with the rich flavors of carbonara while adding 20g of protein per 3 ounces of cooked meat.
Salmon is loaded with healthy omega-3 fatty acids as well as being an excellent source of protein (18g per 3 oz serving).
Its delicate texture combines nicely with the richness of carbonara without overpowering the subtle flavors of this Italian classic.
Read Also: what to serve with teriyaki salmon
5. Ground Beef
Ground beef is one of the most adaptable proteins out there, so it’s no surprise that it matches effortlessly with carbonara too!
You can opt for leaner cuts such as 93/7 ground beef which has just 7% fat content, or go for something more indulgent like 80/20 ground beef which has 20% fat content for more flavor and moisture when cooking up your meals!
Lobster may not be accessible or affordable for everyone, but if you have access to fresh seafood, then this would make an amazing addition to your plate!
Lobsters are packed full of protein (24g per 3oz serving), and their sweet yet savory flavors pair wonderfully with creamy dishes like carbonara!
With its buttery texture and sweet taste, lobster pairs incredibly well with carbonara sauce thanks to its unique combination of flavors that perfectly complements this type of pasta dish.
Know More: What To serve with Lobster Ravioli
Additionally, lobster isn’t too difficult to prepare, so don’t hesitate to give it a try!
Scallops contain 18g of protein per 3oz serving, making them an excellent choice when looking for lean proteins to add to your dish!
Scallops have a delicate sweetness and pair deliciously with creamy sauces like those found in carbonara while still providing plenty of nutrition to your diet!
Tofu is not just a vegetarian or vegan alternative but also provides essential nutrients such as calcium, magnesium, iron, and phosphorous while packing 12g of protein per 3oz serving!
It’s perfect for those who want to enjoy all the flavors without sacrificing nutrition or taste!
For those who are vegetarian or vegan, tofu makes for an excellent addition to any carbonara recipe as it provides both protein and texture without having to rely on animal products (it also absorbs all the flavors from the sauce, making each bite even more scrumptious!).
Tempeh is another great option for vegans looking for more protein-rich dishes that don’t sacrifice taste or texture!
With 16g per 3oz serving, you can be sure you’re getting all the vital nutrients needed from this popular plant-based alternative while enjoying all the delicious flavors from your favorite recipes too!
10. Chorizo Sausage
Chorizo sausage packs a whopping 25g per 3oz serving to make it one of the most flavorful sources of protein around!
With its smoky spiciness, it adds depth to any dish while bringing plenty of heat too!
Its unique characteristics make chorizo sausage ideal when looking for something different yet still delicious enough for everyone at your table to enjoy together!
The star ingredient in carbonara is bacon- Bacon has long been a favorite pairing with carbonara-so it only makes sense to serve it as the meat of your meal!
The smokiness and saltiness add a delicious depth of flavor that can’t be beaten and a crunchy texture that pairs perfectly with the creamy sauce and noodles.
Bacon comes in wide varieties, so you can choose one that fits your taste or budget. You can use regular bacon or try something like maple-cured or smoked bacon for a unique flavor profile.
Bacon is easy to cook and takes just minutes in the oven or skillet.
Another classic Italian meat that pairs beautifully with carbonara is prosciutto.
As an Italian-style cured ham, prosciutto adds an extra layer of flavor to your carbonara that you no other meat could provide.
This cured meat is melt-in-your-mouth delicious and tastes great when combined with creamy pasta dishes like carbonara.
If you’re looking for a higher quality option, try using Parma prosciutto—it’s considered by many to be one of the top-quality brands available on the market today.
The thin slices make for an elegant presentation that your guests will love!
13. Crab Meat
Crab meat is an incredible source of protein that works well in this type of dish, as it adds a subtle sweetness that really brings out the flavors of the carbonara sauce.
Plus, crab meat doesn’t take too long to cook, so adding this ingredient won’t slow down dinner prep time!
Pancetta is another traditional Italian cured pork product that can be used in place of bacon for added depth and flavor to your carbonara dish.
It has a slightly nutty taste and goes great when served over creamy pasta dishes like this one!
Salami is another Italian cured meat that has become popular lately due to its intense flavor profile and versatility when cooking different types of dishes (including carbonara!).
Its smoky taste goes especially well when combined with creamy sauces like those found in this type of pasta dish!
Whether spicy or mild, sausage provides an interesting twist on this classic Italian dish thanks to its unique mix of spices and herbs (not to mention how delicious it tastes alongside creamy sauces!).
Try using chorizo or merguez for an added kick; they’ll work great in any recipe calling for sausage! Sausage makes for an excellent addition to carbonara because of its savory flavor and juicy texture.
You can use any type of sausage – from mild Italian sausage links to spicy hot sausage crumbles – depending on your tastes.
Mushrooms are an outstanding source of protein and a great addition to carbonara. They are low in calories but still provide plenty of essential minerals and vitamins like B vitamins and selenium.
The added texture from mushrooms also makes for a more balanced dish.
To make the most out of your mushrooms, be sure to choose fresh ones instead of canned or frozen varieties if possible; these will add the most flavor to your dish.
You can also consider cooking with different types of mushrooms for a unique taste experience – shiitake, chanterelle, porcini, oyster, and cremini mushrooms are all excellent choices.
After washing the mushrooms, you can simply sauté them in a pan with some garlic and butter or oil before adding them to your carbonara.
There are endless possibilities for adding different ingredients to the classic Italian dish. Meatballs can be added to the pasta for a tasty twist or even as a topping after it has been cooked.
Meatballs are a delicious and savory option to serve with carbonara pasta. They can be made with any combination of ground meat, such as veal, pork, beef, or even turkey.
Most often, they are formed into balls, though they can also be shaped into patties or dumplings.
Meatballs can be cooked in a wide range of ways, including pan-fried, boiled, braised in a tomato sauce, baked in the oven, steamed, and simmered.
Adding herbs and spices to the mix will give them extra flavor, while adding breadcrumbs or oats will help keep them tender and moist on the inside.
Serve up these tasty morsels of goodness with your favorite carbonara pasta dish for an amazing dinner!
Know More: What To Serve With Porcupine Meatballs
Braciole is an incredibly versatile and flavorful protein that pairs perfectly with carbonara.
This Italian dish is made by rolling thin slices of beef, veal, or pork into bundles that are filled with a delicious combination of herbs, cheese, and other ingredients like garlic, parsley, and anchovies – the possibilities are endless!
The bundles are then cooked in a rich tomato sauce for a truly unforgettable meal. Braciole has become increasingly popular over the years due to its ability to be prepared in several different ways.
It can be suited as a main course or as an accompaniment to pasta dishes like carbonara.
Now you have an idea of what meat can serve with carbonara.
When it comes to serving up delicious dishes like carbonara, there are plenty of options available beyond just bacon!
From prosciutto and chicken breast to sausages and pancetta – there’s something for everyone, like Tofu and tempeh for vegans when making this classic Italian pasta dish.
So next time you’re looking for something new for dinner, don’t forget about these tasty meats that pair perfectly with carbonara! Bon appetit!