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The Best Vegan Carbonara

vegan carbonara

Carbonara is one of life’s simple pleasures. Creamy noodles with crispy savoury bombs, what’s not to like. This recipe for my vegan carbonara is so damn delicious. It’s one of those recipes that I consistently make. It’s both comforting and a little fancy.

Although carbonara is a distinctly Italian dish, most of my memories of this pasta dish are primarily British. For me, carbonara is one of those dishes that help warm you through autumn downpours. Or comfort you through dark winter evenings.

As I’ve said many times before, carbs are essential to survive the dreary climate of the British isles. That’s why I’ve worked so hard on making this vegan carbonara so damn delicious. Think of it as a tonic to help counteract long days, hard problems and mood swings.

The secret to making this creamy vegan pasta next level is twofold; a rich and silky sauce and salty bombs of crispy tofu.

How to make the perfect vegan carbonara sauce

Zealots of traditional Italian cuisine might disagree, but in my mind, carbonara sauce has to be thick and decadent. I want the sauce to lather the pasta noodles in a creamy bath of deliciousness.

vegan carbonara in bowls with person grabbing tongs

After testing numerous iterations of vegan carbonara sauce, I believe I’ve developed the winning formula. Here’s what I use and why:

  • 200g Soaked cashews – The cashews give the sauce its texture. They make the sauce lusciously thick.
  • 300ml Oat milk – The oat milk thins out the soaked cashews and helps develop the carbonara sauce colour. It’s also crucial to sweeten the sauce just a tad. This helps bring out the umami flavours of the miso and garlic.
  • 1 Tablespoon of miso paste – Miso adds a wonderfully complex saltiness to the sauce. The carbonara burst with rich umami with just a tablespoon of this unique ingredient.
  • 2 Tablespoons of nutritional yeast – Nutritional yeast is a vegan’s best friend. I have a kilo jar sitting on my kitchen window. 2 Tablespoons of this magic ingredient imparts a cheesy undertone to the sauce. 
  • 1/2 Teaspoon of garlic powder – This gives the sauce a hint of garlic and thickens the base.
  • 1/4 Teaspoon of turmeric powder – Turmeric gives the sauce its rich yellow colour. Helping emanate the colour that traditional carbonara gets from the addition of egg.
  • 1 Teaspoon of sea salt – A dash of good quality sea salt helps elevate all the other flavours in the sauce.
vegan carbonara

It’s important to note that the sauce might appear thin after whizzing all the ingredients together in a blender. However, the sauce will thicken immeasurably once added to the warm noodles.

The best vegan replacement for lardons

Part of traditional carbonara’s appeal is the salty lardons that burst through the rich sauce. In my vegan carbonara, I’ve come up with a lardon alternative that’s both cruelty-free and more flavourful. That’s most definitely a win in my book.

crispy tofu crumbles close

I’ve replaced the pork with my baked tofu crumbles. These crumbles are absolutely delicious. Initially developed for this vegan carbonara, I now use them for everything from salads to soups to impart extra oomph.

The baked tofu crumbles impart a wonderful flavour to the pasta and add tons of crispy texture. The silky noodles bathed in the carbonara sauce are perfect with the crunchy tofu pieces. I can’t describe how perfectly they go together – you need to try it!

vegan carbonara close up in dish with vegan lardons

If you like this vegan pasta, you’ll love

The Best Vegan Carbonara

Is there anything better than creamy carbonara? I doubt it. This vegan carbonara is smooth, sumptuous and oh so delicious.
vegan carbonara
5 from 4 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 6
Course Main Course, Pasta

This meal is around 90% less polluting than the average UK meal.

Eating this recipe will save around 2.65 KG CO2e per person.

That’s equivalent to the emissions produced driving 21.92 KM in a modern car.

How do I calculate this?

Ingredients

  • 200 g Cashews (soaked in boiling water for 30 mins)
  • 300 ml Oat milk
  • 2 Tablespoons Nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Garlic powder
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Turmeric
  • 1 Tablespoon Miso paste (brown or white miso work equally as well)
  • 1 Teaspoon Sea salt
  • 15 g Chives (minced)
  • 400 g Linguine or spaghetti
  • 1 Serving Homemade tofu crumbles (these can be prepared in advance)

Instructions

  • Place the 200g of soaked cashews, 300ml of oat milk, 2 tablespoons of nutritional yeast, 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder, 1/4 teaspoon of turmeric, 1 tablespoon of miso paste and 1 teaspoon of sea salt into a high speed blender and whizz into a smooth sauce.
  • Cook your 400g of pasta to packet instructions until aldente, making sure to cook the pasta in heavily salted water. Once the pasta is cooked, drain, reserving the pasta water in a small jug or cup.
  • In a large mixing bowl, combine the sauce with the cooked pasta. Toss well to coat the noodles in the sauce. If the sauce seems a little thick, add a splash of pasta water, a little at a time, until the sauce reaches your desired consistency.
  • Serve in individual bowls with a sprinkling of the freshly chopped chives and a good helping of crispy tofu crumbles.

Hi i'm Hugo

I started Lowly to help more people discover sustainable food. Planet-friendly food doesn’t have to be bland and boring. My recipes celebrate how diverse and flavourful it truly is.

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2 Comments

Sophy

June 6, 2022 at 7:46 pm

Delicious! I realised too late that I only had 100g of cashews so topped up with almonds (also soaking in boiling water and removing the skins) – but seemed to turn out OK! I only had a smoked tofu so used that – so the crumbles were extremely smokey but that was fine!

    hugo

    June 7, 2022 at 8:24 am

    Quick thinking Sophy, glad the almond and cashew blend worked nicely! So lovely to hear you enjoyed it.