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Our vegan carbonara is a simple recipe that can be made in 15 minutes. The taste of our carbonara sauce is very close to the taste of an authentic Italian carbonara recipe. It's full of umami, peppery and with egg flavour thanks to Kala Namak, an Himalayan black salt that tastes exactly like egg.
Ingredients & Substitutions
For the vegan carbonara sauce
- Plant milk: we use soy milk, but you can use any plant-based milk that is not sweet and that doesn't have any flavourings.
- Carrot: we use a boiled carrot to give texture and colour to the sauce. You won't be able to taste it!
- Soy sauce: to give umami and sapidity to the sauce.
- Nutritional yeast: to add the cheesy flavour to the sauce.
- Paprika, Onion, Garlic and Salt: these spices help recreate the flavour or the Italian carbonara sauce.
- Corn starch: to bind the sauce together and make it look like there's egg.
- Kala namak: this is the key ingredient for any vegan carbonara sauce. It's a pink-black rock salt that add the exact flavour of an egg. Do not skip it! You can find it on amazon.
- Spaghetti: get Italian spaghetti, preferably bronze cut.
- Tofu: hard smoked tofu is the best, but regular tofu sautéed with liquid smoke works too.
- Olive oil, salt and pepper: to season the pasta.
You'll need a small blender to make the sauce. Any blender will do, you can even do it with an immersion blender.
- Get yourself some Kala Namak: you will probably not be able to find it in a store, so get it online. This Indian rock salt makes all the difference because it tastes like egg, mainly due to its sulfur content.
- Don't worry if the carbonara sauce smells strongly like egg: this is absolutely normal due to the Kala Namak. When you mix the sauce with the pasta the smell will be much less and the carbonara will taste like heaven!
- Boil the carrot until soft: we boil the carrot because this way the sauce turns out very creamy, but also because when boiled, carrots loose all their flavour, and this is exactly what we want in this preparation. We want the texture and the colour of the carrot, but not the flavour.
- Toast the pepper before grinding it: for best result and a inebriating pepper aroma, toast your peppercorns on a hot pan before grinding it. This way the oils in the pepper will develop and incredible aroma.
Frequently asked questions
We use carrot for colour and texture, not flavour. This is why we boil the carrot before blending it. To make it lose its flavour. We have chosen carrot because it's cheap, widely available, and easy to work with.
Kala namak is a pink/black/purple rock salt used in South Asia with a sulphurous, pungent-smell. In this preparation Kala Namak tastes exactly like egg. So don't skip it.
You can buy Kala Namak online.
Yes. You can replace smoked tofu with any other fake meat that has a similar texture and flavour of pancetta/bacon. We've chosen smoked tofu because it tastes delicious, it's quite affordable and its available in most supermarkets these days.
This vegan carbonara is best eaten straight off the pan. However, if you have any leftover, store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours. Then heat it up on a pan with a dash of water.
Vegan Carbonara Sauce
- 200 g (0.8 cups) soy milk
- 100 g (3.5 oz) carrot boiled
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
- ½ tsp paprika
- 1 small piece of onion
- 1 small piece of garlic
- 1 tsp corn starch
- ½ tsp sea salt
- ⅓ tsp kala namak
- 300 g (10.6 oz) spaghetti bronze cut
- 120 g (4.2 oz) smoked tofu in small dice
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1½ tbsp coarse sea salt to salt the water
- ½ tsp black pepper
- Chop the carrots and cook them in boiling water until soft. Then start cooking the pasta in salted boiling water.
- Blend all the ingredients for the vegan carbonara sauce together (including the boiled carrots). Set aside.
- Chop the smoked tofu into small dice. Then fry it on a pan with 2 tbsp of olive oil, a pinch of salt, and black pepper until its nice and crispy.
- Now add the sauce to the pan with the tofu, add 1 ladle of pasta cooking water, and warm it up for a minute or two until it simmers gently and it starts to thicken.
- Drain the spaghetti al dente and add them into the pan with the tofu and the sauce. Save some pasta cooking water.
- Add some more pasta water if necessary, sprinkle with a generous amount of freshly ground black pepper, and toss them gently until they are fully coated with sauce. Serve and enjoy!
Will you be cooking this vegan carbonara at home? Let us know in the comments below!