Carbonara is a popular pasta dish in Italian cuisine that originated in Rome.
It is made with egg, cheese, cured pork, and black pepper. It is a fundamentally simple and easy dish that will tantalize your taste buds with its rich flavor when prepared properly.
However, regular carbonara is far from the ideal vegan dish. It contains heaps of dairy items and is a bomb of cholesterol and calories. Not to mention it relies on smoked bacon for a burst of flavor too.
The good news is that you can replace all the undesirable ingredients in a carbonara with vegan-friendly alternatives and still get the classic taste that the original dish is famous for.
Here, we have highlighted the different ways in which you can enjoy carbonara without compromising on your mission to only consume plant-based food.
- 1 Vegan Carbonara with Mushroom and ‘Egg’ Sauce
- 2 Vegan Carbonara with Sun-Dried Tomatoes
- 3 Vegan Carbonara with Cauliflower
- 4 Bring on the Scrumptiousness
Vegan Carbonara with Mushroom and ‘Egg’ Sauce
It is ideal for weekday meals as you can prepare it within half an hour. Plus, it is loaded with nutrients too.
This super easy carbonara not only comes packed with flavor, but is also perfect for feeding a crowd as it is super light on your pocket.
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 20 minutes
- Dry vegan pasta, preferably spaghetti – 1 pack (approx. 500g)
- Vegan butter – 2 tbsp
- Sliced mushrooms – 500g
- Crushed garlic – 4 tsp
- Smoked paprika – 1 tsp
- Sea salt – ½ tsp
- Black pepper – ½ tsp
- Fresh chopped parsley – for serving
For the Sauce
- Raw cashews – 1 ½ cup (200g)
- Nutritional yeast – ½ cup (30g)
- Turmeric – 1tsp
- Dijon mustard – 2 tbsp
- Garlic powder – 1 tsp
- Onion powder – 1 tsp
- Black salt – 1 tsp
- Vegan milk – 2 cup (500ml)
This recipe uses cashews to increase the thickness of the sauce. If you are allergic to nuts, you may skip this ingredient, but keep in mind that it will alter the consistency and, thus, the experience of the dish.
Turmeric powder is mainly used to improve aesthetics. It contributes little to the flavor profile. So, if it’s not readily available, there’s no need to worry. You can proceed without it.
Cashew milk or soy milk will work best with this recipe.
Lastly, try to use portobello mushrooms, although button mushrooms and baby bella will yield the desired results too.
- To prepare the sauce, coarsely chop the cashews and add to a blender with all the other ingredients. Blend until smooth and then set aside.
- Boil the pasta in plain water or as specified on the package.
- While waiting for the pasta to boil, prepare the mushrooms. For this, you need to heat the vegan butter in a large pan until it melts completely.
- Now, add the crushed garlic and smoked paprika. Saute on low heat for a minute before adding the sliced mushrooms.
- Fry the ingredients in the pan until the mushrooms turn soft and golden-brown.
- Toss the boiled spaghetti in the pan before pouring the sauce over it.
- Combine all the ingredients properly using a wooden spoon.
- Sprinkle the remaining spices (salt and pepper) over the pasta and mix it again.
- Cook on low heat for about a minute to let the sauce thicken.
- Transfer to a dish and garnish with fresh parsley and a dash of black pepper before serving.
Vegan Carbonara with Sun-Dried Tomatoes
If you feel that carbonara isn’t carbonara without those chewy bits of meat, then this recipe is a must-try.
It is void of all animal ingredients, yet still captures the essence of real carbonara. It veganizes the classic carbonara by substituting cured bacon with tender and juicy sun-dried tomatoes.
This blissful pasta features silky, diary-free sauce that tastes beyond delicious when paired with the salty, smoky tomato slices. Prepare it today!
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 10 minutes
- Pasta – 400g
- Olive oil – 1 tbsp
- Chopped onion – 2/3 cup (one average-sized yellow onion)
- Minced garlic – 3 cloves
- All-purpose flour – ¼ cup
- Vegan milk – 2 ½ cups
- Nutritional yeast – 1 tbsp
- Black salt – ¾ tsp
- Ground black pepper – ¼ tsp
For the Tomato Bites
- Sun-dried tomatoes – ½ cup
- Soy sauce – 2 tsp
- Liquid smoke – ¼ tsp
We recommend using bucatini pasta with this recipe as it soaks up more sauce, providing more gratification with every bite.
To increase the cheesy texture, you can add a few tablespoons of boiled and pureed cauliflower florets.
- Boil the pasta in a large pot as per the instructions on the package
- To prepare the tomato bites, slice the tomatoes and mix with soy sauce and liquid smoke. Let it sit for a while to allow the flavors to be absorbed
- Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large pan
- Now add the chopped onions and garlic and fry on medium-high heat until golden brown
- Reduce to low heat and gently dust the flour all over the onion and garlic
- Cook for a minute before adding milk, yeast, black salt, and ground pepper
- While stirring continuously, cook the sauce for about five more minutes or until it starts thickening
- Lastly, add the boiled pasta and simmer for 2-3 minutes before tossing in the tomatoes
- Serve while hot with fresh parsley and parmesan on top
Vegan Carbonara with Cauliflower
This vegan carbonara recipe makes brilliant use of finely mashed cauliflower to provide the rich, creamy consistency that is characteristic of white sauce prepared from dairy products.
You can also serve this lip-smacking pasta to your kids as it is loaded with nutrients. Or serve it to your guests and impress them with your culinary skills by providing an authentic Italian experience.
In case you are short of pasta, you can serve the cauliflower sauce with rice, breadsticks, boiled potatoes, and so on – the dairy-free indulgence pairs agreeably with them all.
Preparation Time: 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 5 minutes
- Dry, uncooked pasta – ½ pack
- Olive oil – 1 tbsp
- Salt – to taste
- Water – ¼ cup
- Vegan butter – 1 tbsp
For the Sauce
- Cauliflower – 1 cup
- Garlic powder – t tbsp
- Black salt – 1 ½ tsp
- Nutritional yeast – ¼ cup
- Liquid smoke (optional) – 2 tsp
- Pepper – to taste
- Vegan milk – 1 cup
There are three ways to prepare cauliflower sauce. You can follow whatever is most convenient for you. They all offer the same creamy texture; the only difference is in the style of cooking the vegetable.
The first method is to bake the florets. Place the cauliflower florets on a baking tray lined with parchment paper and drizzle a bit of olive oil. Bake for 15 minutes at about 410 degrees Fahrenheit. Set aside for later use.
The second method is to simply cook the cauliflower in a casserole over a stovetop. Add some water and a pinch of salt so that the florets don’t stick to the bottom. Remove from heat when the florets turn soft and set aside in a plate.
The third method is to fry the cauliflower. Heat the butter in a pan and sauté for about 10 minutes or until golden brown.
Once you have pre-prepped the cauliflower, follow the instructions below to prepare the sauce and pasta.
- Add all the ingredients of the sauce (except cauliflower) in the bowl of the blender. Blend on a high setting until a smooth consistency is achieved.
- If the sauce is runny, transfer it to a pan and simmer on low heat till it thickens.
- Put the prepped cauliflower in a casserole and pour the sauce over it. Mix until well combined
- Now, add in the boiled pasta and let it simmer on medium heat.
- Serve while hot, preferably with a side of sautéed vegetables like carrot and peas.
Use Starch to Thicken the Sauce
Some vegan milk substitutes such as rice milk can make your carbonara sauce quite runny. Using tapioca or potato starch can remedy the problem.
Mix the powder with cold water and add to the sauce while it is simmering. Continue adding in small proportions until the sauce reaches the desired consistency.
Use Black Salt
You might not have noticed it before, but black salt has a somewhat egg-like taste. All the recipes above use black salt for the sauce as it lends a faux hint of this dairy item.
You can substitute it with regular salt, but it is highly recommended to use black salt for that signature eggy flavor.
Use the Right Nondairy Milk
There are several types of vegan milk substitutes available in the market, but not all of them are suitable for use with pasta.
When making carbonara, try to avoid rice milk as it will make your sauce really runny. Using hazelnut milk and flax milk is a big no because their sweet and nutty flavor is quite dominating.
Ideally, you should stick to the versatile soy milk, but if that’s available, the next best option is almond milk and coconut milk.
Bring on the Scrumptiousness
The recipes provided above are some of our favorite vegan substitutes for carbonara. Which one do you like best?
Try them all to see which vegan carbonara will become your go-to option for pasta cravings.
And don’t forget to share these delicious recipes with your non-vegan friends too, because we are sure that they will fall in love with them just as you will.Last updated on: