Vegetarian Version? Pancetta Substitute?

I don’t eat meat. Am I losing a lot of flavor if I omit pancetta? Many vegetarian substitute?

Marc Lieber


anthonyconstantinou December 8, 2021
Proteins help in vital functions in our body, which are tissue growth and repair. Yes it's a bad idea to rely on cliff builder bars or any other supplements to gain extra protein. Instead, we should consume protein rich foods to ensure that essential amino acids are supplied to the body.


Anthony Constantinou | Anthony Constantinou CEO CWM FX
AntoniaJames August 2, 2021
I agree with the others here on the richness of this dish, but note that the pancetta adds a bit of textural interest, as well as flavor.

If I were making this for vegetarians - or if I just didn't have any bacon or pancetta on hand, or if I just wanted to dial down the fat -- I'd throw about 3/4 cup of panko into a. skillet with a tablespoon or two of olive oil and a pinch of fresh thyme chopped, or good dried thyme, crumbled between my fingers, and a tiny bit of salt. I'd brown the panko over medium heat until the crumbs were toasty brown and fragrant with the thyme. I'd sprinkle that on each dish when plating. ;o)
drbabs August 2, 2021
Great suggestion.
drbabs August 2, 2021
I’m with 702551 on this one. I’d be much more likely to finish it with a squirt of lime juice than pancetta—it’s already heavy on the fat.
Nancy August 2, 2021
Also, the squash and herbs combination (especially sage) is classic, and can be served on any carb - not just potato gnocchi.
Try it over pasta, on good bread, or topping a plain baked potato.
702551 August 1, 2021
Frankly, I'd just make it without the pancetta.

It is already heavily loaded with very assertive flavors: thyme, garlic, chives, and cinnamon.

It's also nearing what I consider a gut buster threshold for fat (olive oil, ricotta, egg yolks and butter) and I'm definitely not a fan of gut buster dishes. The recipe instructions conclude with grated Parmesan even if it's not on the ingredient list.

I know that many Americans love gut busters however.

It's really your call whether or not you need to replace the pancetta. I'm sure there are vegan bacon replacements but I am not one who would seek those out for this dish.

But your dinner table isn't my dinner table. Entirely your call.

Best of luck.
Recommended by Food52