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Vegan Carbonara Recipe Made With Exotic Blend Of Flavors

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Vegan carbonara Recipe, a plant-based twist on the classic Italian dish , replaces traditional ingredients with innovative, cruelty-free alternatives. Silken tofu and nutritional yeast blend seamlessly to create a creamy, savory sauce, while smoky tempeh bits mimic the crunch and flavor of pancetta. Tossed with al dente pasta, this dish offers a delightful experience that even non-vegans will savor.

WHY IT WORKS?

  • Silken tofu and nutritional yeast create a creamy, rich sauce without dairy.
  • Smoky tempeh offers a perfect substitute for pancetta, adding depth.
  • This recipe is a great way to enjoy a classic dish from plant-based ingredients.
  • Quick and easy, it’s ideal for a comforting weeknight dinner.
  • Utilizing whole foods, it’s both nourishing and satisfying.

Don’t have time to read the full blog post? JUMP TO THE RECIPE HERE!

Finding a vegan carbonara recipe that truly rivals its traditional counterpart can feel like a daunting task. The rich, creamy texture and depth of flavor associated with classic carbonara seem irreplaceable.

Yet, my journey into plant-based cooking led me to an unexpected discovery. After numerous attempts and tweaks, I’ve crafted a vegan carbonara that satisfies those creamy pasta cravings and holds its own in a lineup of Italian favorites.

This dish is a testament to the versatility of vegan ingredients, offering a delightful blend of savory, smoky flavors without compromising on the comforting essence of the original. Let me share how embracing this challenge can lead you to a surprisingly satisfying culinary experience.

vegan carbonara recipe

What Is Vegan Carbonara?

Vegan carbonara is a plant-based reinterpretation of the classic Italian pasta dish traditionally made with eggs, cheese, and pancetta. This version swaps out animal products for cruelty-free alternatives, such as silken tofu or cashews for the creamy sauce and nutritional yeast for the cheesy flavor.

Smoked tempeh or mushroom bits are often used instead of pancetta to achieve a similar smokiness and texture. The result is a dish that maintains the original carbonara’s comforting, rich, and savory qualities while being entirely vegan, making it perfect for those following a plant-based diet.

Quick Fact– Silken tofu, a key ingredient in vegan carbonara, is not only a great source of protein but also lends a creamy texture to dishes without dairy.

vegan carbonara

Recipe Directions

  • Prepare the Pasta: Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add pasta and cook according to the package directions until al dente. Drain and set aside.
  • Marinate Sun-Dried Tomatoes: In a small bowl, combine the sun-dried tomatoes, soy sauce, and liquid smoke. Set aside to marinate and absorb the flavors while you prepare the sauce.
  • Sauté Onions and Garlic: Heat olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add onions and garlic, sauté until the onions turn translucent, and begin about 5 minutes.
  • Make the Sauce: Sprinkle flour over the sautéed onions and garlic, stirring to coat. Cook for 60 seconds, then gradually whisk the plant-based milk with salt and pepper. Cook for about 5 minutes until the sauce has thickened, whisking occasionally. Adjust the sauce consistency by adding more plant-based milk if it is too thick or cooking longer if it is too thin.
  • Combine Pasta and Sauce: Add the cooked pasta and marinated sun-dried tomatoes to the sauce. Toss well to ensure the pasta is evenly coated with the sauce.
  • Serve: If desired, serve the vegan carbonara hot, garnished with chopped parsley and vegan parmesan (parmegan).

Recipe Directions

Variations, Add-Ons, And Toppings

Variations

  • Protein Variations: For different textures and flavors, mix or complement the tempeh with other plant-based proteins like marinated tofu, seitan, or vegan sausage slices.
  • Pasta Choices: While spaghetti is traditional, you can use any pasta type, such as fettuccine, linguine, or even gluten-free options, to change up the dish.
  • Sauce Bases: Experiment with different creamy sauce bases, using cashew cream, almond milk, or even avocado blended with nutritional yeast for varied creaminess and nutritional profiles.

Add-Ons

  • Vegetables: Boost the nutritional value by adding sautéed mushrooms, spinach, peas, or asparagus. These can be cooked separately and added to the pasta to incorporate more flavors and textures.
  • Spices and Herbs: Enhance the flavor with additional spices such as black pepper, smoked paprika, or Italian seasoning. Fresh herbs like basil, thyme, or oregano can be sprinkled on top before serving.
  • Nutritional Boosts: For an extra nutritional kick, sprinkle in some hemp seeds, chia seeds, or a dash of turmeric with the sauce.
Variations, Add-Ons, And Toppings

Toppings

  • Vegan Cheese: In addition to vegan parmesan, consider adding vegan mozzarella or ricotta dollops on top for extra cheeseiness.
  • Crunchy Toppings: Toasted breadcrumbs, crushed nuts (like walnuts or cashews), or even crispy fried onions can add a delightful crunch.
  • Fresh Garnishes: A final touch of fresh arugula, microgreens, or sprouts adds a fresh, peppery contrast to the creamy pasta.
  • Drizzles and Sauces: A drizzle of truffle oil, vegan pesto, or even a squeeze of lemon juice can elevate the dish with minimal effort.

Variations, Add-Ons, And Toppings

Vegetable Substitutions

  • Mushrooms for Meat: Portobello, shiitake, or cremini mushrooms offer a meaty texture and umami flavor, perfect for replacing beef or pork.
  • Cauliflower for Chicken: Roasted or battered cauliflower can mimic chicken’s texture, which is ideal for wings or nuggets.
  • Jackfruit for Pulled Pork: Young green jackfruit has a shredded texture when cooked, making it an excellent substitute for pulled pork.
  • Eggplant for Fish: When sliced and marinated, eggplant can replicate the texture and flavor of fish, especially in dishes like vegan “fish” and chips.
  • Zucchini for Noodles: Spiralized zucchini makes a low-carb, nutritious substitute for pasta, commonly known as “zoodles.”
  • Butternut Squash for Cheese: Pureed butternut squash offers a creamy, slightly sweet base for vegan cheese sauces.
  • Sweet Potatoes for Bread: Sliced and toasted sweet potatoes can be a gluten-free alternative to bread.
  • Beets for Tuna: Marinated beets can mimic the color and texture of tuna, especially in vegan sushi.

Quick Tip– Try roasting vegetables before adding them to your recipe for a richer flavor in vegan dishes. This enhances their natural sweetness and adds depth.

Vegetable Substitutions

Best Side Dishes

  1. Garlic Bread Vegan garlic bread, crispy and aromatic, is perfect for soaking up the creamy sauce.
  2. Roasted Asparagus Lightly seasoned and roasted until tender-crisp, asparagus adds a fresh, slightly earthy contrast.
  3. Green Salad A simple green salad with a lemon vinaigrette offers a refreshing, zesty counterbalance to the dish’s richness.
  4. Steamed Broccoli Lightly steamed broccoli seasoned with salt and pepper has a healthy, crunchy texture.
  5. Bruschetta Tomato and basil bruschetta on crispy baguette slices can add a bright, acidic component.
  6. Sautéed Spinach Garlic sautéed spinach provides a quick, nutritious side that complements the creamy pasta with its wilted texture and savory flavor.
  7. Zucchini Ribbons Lightly sautéed zucchini ribbons seasoned with herbs offer a delicate, low-carb side that pairs well with the pasta’s flavors.
  8. Roasted Brussels Sprouts Brussels sprouts roasted with olive oil and sea salt bring a crispy, caramelized edge to the meal.

Best Side Dishes

How To Serve?

  • Warm Plates: Serve the carbonara on warm plates to keep the pasta hot and enhance the flavors.
  • Garnish Wisely: Sprinkle with vegan parmesan and fresh parsley or basil for color, flavor, and aroma.
  • Portion Control: Use a pasta fork to twirl a serving size into the center of the plate, creating height and visual appeal.
  • Add Color: Place a side of vibrant, lightly dressed greens or roasted vegetables beside the pasta to introduce color contrast.
  • Extra Toppings: Offer additional toppings on the side, such as crushed red pepper, extra vegan parmesan, or a drizzle of high-quality olive oil so that guests can customize their plate.
  • Serve Immediately: Vegan carbonara is best enjoyed fresh, so serve it as soon as it’s mixed to maintain the perfect sauce consistency and pasta texture.
  • Pair with Wine: Serve the dish with a vegan-friendly white wine or sparkling water with lemon to complement its creamy texture and rich flavors.
  • Finish with Bread: Provide slices of crusty bread or vegan garlic bread to mop up any remaining sauce, ensuring a satisfying end to the meal.

Quick Tip -To deepen the flavor of vegan sauces, incorporate a splash of white wine or apple cider vinegar. It adds a subtle acidity that brightens the overall taste.

How To Serve?

Storage & Make Ahead

  • Cool Quickly: Cool the carbonara if not serving immediately after cooking to prevent bacterial growth.
  • Refrigerate: Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
  • Reheat Gently: Warm up on the stove over low heat, adding a splash of plant-based milk to maintain creaminess.
  • Make Ahead: Prepare the smoky sun-dried tomato mix and the vegan sauce beforehand. Store them separately in the fridge for up to 2 days, then cook the pasta and combine all elements when ready to serve.
  • Avoid Freezing: Freezing is not recommended as it can affect the texture of the sauce and pasta.
  • Stir Well When Reheating: Stir thoroughly to ensure the dish is evenly heated and the sauce redistributes properly.

Fact– Vegan carbonara uses black salt (kala namak) for its unique sulfurous aroma. It closely mimics the eggy flavor of traditional carbonara, making it a clever vegan adaptation.

Storage & Make Ahead

Time-Saving Tips

  • Prep Ingredients Ahead: Chop your vegetables, measure out spices, and prepare all your ingredients before cooking to streamline the process.
  • Use Pre-Cooked Pasta: Opt for pre-cooked or leftover pasta to save boiling time if you’re in a rush. Just toss it in the sauce to heat through.
  • Quick-Soak Nuts: If your sauce requires soaked cashews, use boiling water to reduce the soaking time to 15 minutes.
  • Simplify with Store-Bought: Utilize high-quality store-bought vegan cheese and pre-marinated tempeh or vegan bacon to save prep time.
  • Batch Cook: Make a double batch of the sauce and freeze half for a future meal. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator for an easy dinner option.
  • One-Pan Method: To minimize cleanup, cook the sauce in the same pan used for sautéing your “bacon” bits and vegetables.
  • Blender for Sauce: Use a blender to quickly achieve a smooth and creamy sauce consistency without manual whisking.
Vegan Carbonara Recipe Made With Exotic Blend Of Flavors

Vegan Carbonara Recipe Made With Exotic Blend Of Flavors

Recipe by Julia

Vegan carbonara transforms the classic Italian dish into a plant-based delight. CreativelyCreatively using ingredients like silken tofu, nutritional yeast, and smoked tempeh achieves a creamy, savory sauce and the smoky depth of traditional carbonara. This version is compassionate towards animals and offers a healthful, satisfying meal that can impress vegans and omnivores alike.

Course: Dinner
0 from 0 votes
Servings

4

servings
Prep Time

15

minutes
Cooking Time

20

minutes
Calories

350

kcal
Cook Mode

Keep the screen of your device on

Ingredients List

  • 400 g 400 Pasta of choice (spaghetti, fettucini, bucantini, or gluten-free if preferred)

  • ½ Cup ½ Sun-dried tomatoes (the dry kind, not in oil), sliced

  • 2 Tsp 2 Soy sauce

  • ¼ Tsp ¼ Liquid smoke

  • 1 Tbsp 1 Olive oil

  • 1 1 Yellow onion, chopped

  • 3 Cloves 3 Garlic, minced

  • ¼ Cup ¼ All-purpose flour (gluten-free if preferred)

  • 2 ½ Cup 2 ½ Plant-based milk (such as soy or almond)

  • 1 Tbsp 1 Nutritional yeast

  • ¾ Tsp ¾ Black salt (also called kala namak), use regular salt if preferred

  • ¼ Tsp ¼ Black pepper

Step-By-Step Directions

  • Boil Pasta: Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook the pasta according to the package directions.
  • Marinate Sun-dried Tomatoes: In a small bowl, mix the sun-dried tomatoes, soy sauce, and liquid smoke and set aside to absorb the flavors.
  • Sauté Onions and Garlic: Heat the olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add the onions and garlic, and sauté until the onion turns translucent and brown, about 5 minutes.
  • Make the sauce: Sprinkle over the flour and stir to coat the onions. Let the mixture cook for about 60 seconds, then whisk in the remaining ingredients. Cook the sauce for about 5 minutes until thickened, whisking as needed. If the sauce gets too thick, add a splash of more plant-based milk, and if the sauce is too thin, simply cook it longer.
  • Combine Pasta and Sauce: Add the cooked pasta and the marinated sun-dried tomatoes to the sauce and toss well to combine.
  • Serve: Serve hot. Garnish with parsley and vegan parmesan (parmegan) if desired.
  • Equipment List
  • Large pot
  • Colander
  • Small bowl
  • Large pan or skillet
  • Whisk
  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Cutting board
  • Chef’s knife
  • Wooden spoon or spatula
  • Blender (optional for sauce)

Notes

  • Use gluten-free pasta and flour for a gluten-free version.

  • Adjust the thickness of the sauce with plant-based milk as needed.

  • Liquid smoke adds depth; start with less and adjust to taste.

  • Black salt (kala namak) provides an egg-like flavor, enhancing authenticity.

  • Marinating sun-dried tomatoes infuses them with a smoky, rich taste.

  • Serve immediately for the best texture and warmth.

  • Garnish with vegan parmesan and parsley for added flavor and presentation.

  • Experiment with different plant-based milks to find your preferred taste.

vegan carbonara recipe

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Make Vegan Carbonara Gluten-Free?

Yes, you can easily make vegan carbonara gluten-free by choosing gluten-free pasta and substituting all-purpose flour with a gluten-free alternative, such as almond flour or a gluten-free all-purpose blend. Ensure all other ingredients, like soy sauce (opt for tamari as a gluten-free alternative), are also certified gluten-free.

What Can I Use Instead Of Liquid Smoke For The Smoky Flavor?

If you don’t have liquid smoke, you can use smoked paprika as an alternative to achieve a similar smoky flavor. Another option is to incorporate smoked tempeh or smoked tofu, adding smokiness and a hearty texture to your dish. Adjust the amount based on your taste preferences.

vegan carbonara recipe

Is Vegan Carbonara Healthy?

Vegan carbonara can be considered a healthier alternative to traditional carbonara due to the absence of cholesterol and lower levels of saturated fat. It’s rich in plant-based proteins and can provide a good amount of dietary fiber, vitamins, and minerals, especially if you include whole-grain pasta and a variety of vegetables. However, like any dish, moderation is key, especially regarding sodium and fat content.

How Can I Store Leftovers, And How Long Will They Last?

Leftover vegan carbonara can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat gently on the stove or microwave, adding plant-based milk or water to loosen the sauce if necessary. It’s not recommended to freeze the dish, as the texture of the pasta and sauce may change upon thawing.

Can I Add More Vegetables To The Vegan Carbonara?

Absolutely! Adding vegetables can increase the nutritional value and add vibrant colors and textures to the dish. Add sautéing or roasting vegetables such as zucchini, bell peppers, mushrooms, or spinach to the pasta. This boosts the dish’s fiber content and vitamin profile, making it more filling and satisfying.

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VIE DE LA VEGAN!

Greetings from the heart of Vie De La Vegan, where each dish we share is a chapter in a larger story of discovery, wellness, and the transformative power of a plant-based diet. My name is Julia, and I am thrilled to be your guide on this delightful culinary adventure.

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