Vegan Carbonara: Plant-Based Alternative to the Italian Classic

vegan carbonara
Photo: CC0 Public Domain / Pixabay – Hans

Vegan carbonara is in no way inferior to the original version with bacon and egg. With the right ingredients, you can make this hearty plant-based dish in no time. 

Besides pasta, the main ingredients in traditional spaghetti carbonara are bacon and egg, which makes this Italian favorite anything but vegan. If you want to maintain a plant-based diet but don’t want to give up this much-beloved dish, all you have to do is make a few simple adjustments and you can enjoy your vegan carbonara free from animal products. 

Ingredients and Tips

For about three portions of vegan carbonara, you’ll need: 

  • 8oz uncooked spaghetti (about half a package)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 100 grams (3.5oz) smoked tofu, diced
  • 250 ml unsweetened soy milk
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1½ tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Remember to do your best to look for organic and ecologically certified food products for your vegan carbonara. Fruits and vegetables are best when they are locally grown— they taste better, and they have a smaller carbon footprint than produce that must be transported over long distances to reach the supermarket. 

How to Make Vegan Carbonara

vegan spaghetti
Cook your spaghetti according to the directions on the packaging. (Photo: CC0 Public Domain / Pixabay – Picjumbo)

Vegan carbonara is easy to prepare and only takes about 30 minutes. 

  1. First, take care of the spaghetti. Bring salted water to a boil and cook your pasta according to the instructions on the packaging; it usually takes about 10-12 minutes. 
  2. In the meantime, peel and chop the garlic.
  3. Dice the onion.
  4. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan and add the onion and garlic. After about two minutes, add the smoked tofu. Cook until lightly browned.
  5. Combine the soy milk, flour, and nutritional yeast in a mixing bowl and use an immersion blender to mix until the texture is smooth.
  6. Pour the liquid into the pan and allow to reduce for a few minutes, to thicken.
  7. Add the cooked spaghetti to the pan and stir until the sauce is evenly distributed.
  8. Season with salt and pepper and enjoy your vegan carbonara. 

Tip: If you have a kitchen herb garden, you can use parsley to garnish this dish before serving.   

This article has been translated from German to English by Christie Sacco. You can find the original version here: Vegane Carbonara: Ein Rezept ohne Ei und Speck

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