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Restaurant-Style Carbonara

50 min

Main

This rich, creamy, can’t-believe-it-has-no-eggs carbonara won’t leave you indifferent. Here, the traditional Roman dish gets reimagined in our vegan version with a mind-blowing “egg” sauce. Luscious, peppery and utterly addictive, this recipe is as delicious as it is simple. Sub the tofu bits for some store-bought vegan bacon for an extra speedy version!

Servings

Total

50 min

Prep

20 min

Cook

30 min

Contains

Soy symbol

soy

Treenut symbol

tree nut

Gluten symbol

gluten

Free from

Peanut symbol

peanut

Sesame symbol

sesame

Ingredients

Smoked tofu

Pasta

  • 14 oz (400 g)
    dry spaghetti noodles

Pasta carbonara

  • 2 cups (480 mL)
    water
  • ¼ cup (32 g)
    cornstarch
  • 1½ Tbsp (21 g)
    unsalted vegan butter
  • ¾ tsp
    salt
  • ¾ tsp
    garlic powder
  • ¼ tsp
    ground turmeric (optional, for colour)
  • 1 tsp (2 g)
    ground black pepper
  • ¾ tsp

Toppings

Directions

  1. Line a baking tray and preheat the oven to 390°F (200°C)*.
  2. Dice the tofu into ½ inch (1 cm) cubes. Then transfer to the baking tray.
  3. In a small bowl, mix the rest of the smoked tofu ingredients.
  4. Pour this sauce over the tofu and toss to coat.
  5. Bake for 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to the package instructions. Drain when al dente.
  7. Meanwhile, add the water and cornstarch to a sauté pan. Don't turn on the heat yet. Stir until dissolved.
  8. Then add the nutritional yeast, butter, salt, garlic powder, and turmeric.
  9. Then turn on the heat to medium-high. Whisking frequently, until bubbly thickened, about 6 - 7 minutes. Keep covered, warm on very low heat until serving.
  10. Add the cooked pasta, pepper and kala namak. Toss until coated.
  11. To assemble, divide into bowls and top off with the smoked tofu bits. Sprinkle with vegan parmesan and some extra black pepper and kala namak. Enjoy!

Notes

  • * We recommend top and bottom heating (not fan-assisted/convection).

Storage

  • Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
  • When reheating, add splashes of water as needed to loosen up the sauce.

Let us know what you think

Plate method

The Plate Method is a visual tool that helps us ensure our dietary needs are on track. Touch the image below to see how this recipe measures up.

Grains & Starches 82%

dry spaghetti noodles

Proteins 18%

firm tofu

nutritional yeast flakes

vegan parmesan

Fruits & Veggies 0%
Calcium

firm tofu

Fat

vegetable oil

unsalted vegan butter

vegan parmesan

Nutrition info

We believe that focusing on numbers can harm our relationship with food. Instead, our philosophy is to Nourish the Cells & the Soul. If you require specific nutrition information due to a medical condition, please consult with a dietitian or physician. The nutritional information provided is composed with the utmost care. However, we cannot guarantee the correctness of the displayed values, see also our disclaimer.

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Discussion & Rating

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Kim Tee - June 6, 2024, 9:49 a.m.

Just made this for one vegan, one vegetarian, and one omni who recently had Carbonara in Italy. All cleared their plates and marveled at this uniquely delicious dish.


Sofia - May 27, 2024, 10:25 p.m.

I had been wanting to try this for a while and it didn’t disappoint, it was delicious! The tofu didn’t turn out as crispy and dark as the image suggests, so next time I might try to spread the pieces out more on the tray and cook it at a higher temperature.


Gesa von Hirschheydt - May 17, 2024, 9:52 a.m.

Super easy recipe to follow (I bought the smoked tofu though) and the sauce is surprisingly similar to non-vegan carbonara, both in texture and flavour! Great recipe to surprise (and convince) doubtful Italian friends 😉😄


Niraek Jain-sharma - May 15, 2024, 5:21 a.m.

The tofu part was great but unfortunately the pasta part wasn’t very flavorful

PUL Team - May 15, 2024, 8:36 p.m.

Hey Niraek, I'm really sorry to hear the pasta didn't meet your expectations—we always strive for 5-star recipes. If you're up for giving it another try, a quick tip: the 'eggy' flavour from the kala namak tends to diminish during cooking, so sprinkling a little extra on top after plating really helps to boost the flavour. We're glad to hear you enjoyed the tofu though!


Timo Bongartz - May 11, 2024, 4:42 p.m.

Easy and great taste!


TR - May 11, 2024, 11:23 a.m.

loooooooooved it! will be making it again!


Dilys - May 6, 2024, 10:47 a.m.

I wanted to skip the tofu part so I bought fake bacon instead. Now I think the tofu part must have been important, because the smell of the sauce on its own actually put me off. My husband didn’t love this dish either.

PUL Team - May 7, 2024, 12:48 a.m.

Hey Dilys! The smoked tofu is milder in taste and aroma than mock bacon so we'd recommend sticking with it if possible. We hope you enjoy the recipe more if you try it with the tofu as written 🫶✨


Anne - May 2, 2024, 12:24 a.m.

This was quite good! I didn't have dark soy sauce so increased the amount of regular soy sauce. Is it worth tracking down dark soy sauce for the future (yes, I'll be making this again!)? Also, I increased the amount of vegan parmesan on top. I have missed having carbonara in my life! I find most other vegan white sauced based pasta recipes do not quite live up to my memories of non-vegan versions. This one was different and in a very good way. Thank you!

PUL Team - May 3, 2024, 12:09 a.m.

We're glad you enjoyed the recipe, Anne! Dark soy sauce has a richer, more complex flavour, so it's worth trying if you can find it - we love the extra depth to dishes it adds. Happy experimenting! 😃

Anne - May 3, 2024, 3:28 p.m.

Thanks for the reply, I'll try to find it at the Asian market here. Also, I had the leftovers with broccoli, also very good!


Alex - May 1, 2024, 7:27 a.m.

The sauce in this dish is spot on! I really couldn’t tell that it was plant-based. I, however, didn’t particularly love the addition of the tofu. Despite its crunchy exterior, its soft interior gets lost in the texture of the spaghetti. Maybe slicing the tofu into thinner pieces would make it crunchier and complement the dish better.


Jenny - April 28, 2024, 6:58 p.m.

My husband and I really enjoyed this dish. He usually only wants red sauce pastas but he said he would happily eat this again 😊

PUL Team - April 29, 2024, 1:17 a.m.

Yayy how exciting! Thanks, Jenny 🙌✨


Terhi Stratton - April 27, 2024, 7:15 p.m.

Delicious and easy to make! 😋


merle - April 19, 2024, 8:41 p.m.

Amazing! Really Restaurant-like👌


Tiana Bogaert - April 18, 2024, 10:31 a.m.

I have made this recipe twice and it’s so good! This marinade has become my go to for tofu. I marinated some tofu, pan fried, and put it on a sandwich. 😋


Charlotte - April 18, 2024, 12:12 a.m.

This was absolutely divine! It's going on my list of favourite pasta recipes to make again (all of which are PUL may I say! 😆).

PUL Team - April 19, 2024, 6:08 a.m.

Hehe aww we're so honoured, Charlotte! Thanks for being the best cheerleader 🫶✨


Marti - April 15, 2024, 8:46 p.m.

As a true Roman i can only say this was delicious!

PUL Team - April 16, 2024, 10:27 p.m.

This is a huge compliment, Marti! So happy to hear the carbonara was enjoyed 🤩


laura - April 14, 2024, 1:56 p.m.

REALLY really yummy!


Meggie - April 11, 2024, 8:26 p.m.

First time I ever used nutritional yeast, Kala Namak and Liquid Smoke. It all comes together so well and tastes absolutely divine 🤍

PUL Team - April 11, 2024, 11:05 p.m.

Yayy they work wonders together 🥰 so glad that the carbonara was enjoyed, Meggie!


Lilly Benedikt - April 8, 2024, 8:50 p.m.

I was sceptical at first but this was amazing! I roasted the tofu in the pan because I didn’t feel like heating up the oven. It was still great ☺️. I also didn’t know how easy it is to make your own vegan Parmesan!

PUL Team - April 9, 2024, 12:12 a.m.

So happy to hear the carbonara was a pleasant surprise, Lilly! A lovely idea to modify the tofu to what worked for you too 🙌


eleni skiada - April 7, 2024, 12:41 p.m.

Really nice. Made it for my mum who is fasting this period, nice twist! We don't eat tofu so I added sun dried tomatoes instead. 😊 Thanks for the idea!


Caitlin Higgins - April 4, 2024, 2:14 a.m.

Seriously good. It really gives the feeling of a carbonara. Mine was a bit too salty but I think that was my bad as I don't have kosher salt. Otherwise perfect.


imogen - April 3, 2024, 11:25 a.m.

New fave pasta recipe for sure!


Ashton - April 3, 2024, 10:22 a.m.

Question! Maple syrup is quite expensive here.. any suggestions for replacements?

PUL Team - April 3, 2024, 5:12 p.m.

Hi Ashton, you can swap maple syrup with agave syrup or a touch of brown or white sugar. Thanks for asking the question, we've updated the recipe to include these swap options :) We hope you enjoy the carbonara!


Alex - April 2, 2024, 11:58 p.m.

My non-vegan boyfriend and I love it! He loves Italian cuisine and has tried different versions of vegan carbonara for me (❤️). This one is a recipe that we'll definitely make again! Thank you

PUL Team - April 3, 2024, 12:07 a.m.

Aw Italian cuisine is so satisfying 🥰 so glad that you both enjoyed the pasta, Alex!


Tarzan - April 2, 2024, 2:13 a.m.

This pasta was amazing! I served it to my family of non-vegans and they loved it and asked me to make it again. I used smoked pepper corns to garnish which added to the smokiness of the tofu. Thank you!

PUL Team - April 2, 2024, 7:49 p.m.

It's always a big compliment when others ask for a recipe to be made again 🥰 we're so happy that the carbonara was enjoyed, Tarzan!


AK - April 1, 2024, 1:18 a.m.

this was *unfathomably* good—this is going in our regular rotation


crystel - March 30, 2024, 6:43 p.m.

DELICIOUS!!


Eve - March 30, 2024, 4:01 a.m.

As soon as I saw the new PIL video I knew I had to make this! It was incredible, and don’t skip the Parmesan! We loved the bacony bits so much. Will definitely make again!!

PUL Team - March 31, 2024, 6:04 a.m.

Yay we're so happy to hear you enjoyed the carbonara, Eve!


Tiana - March 29, 2024, 7:35 p.m.

Super tasty! I skipped the liquid smoke because it was the only ingredient I didn’t already have at home but I’ll try it next time. I also didn’t have fresh cracked pepper so I used ground pepper instead. I subbed one to one and it was a little bit too peppery, so if anyone reading this is in the same boat, start with less and you can add more as needed.

PUL Team - March 30, 2024, 1:19 a.m.

Hey there, Tiana, we're so glad that you enjoyed the recipe and thanks for the tip! Love when the stars align and we have many ingredients on hand already 😊


Anna - March 29, 2024, 7:02 p.m.

As an Italian, thank you! It's hard to come across vegan versions of classics and this was delicious!

PUL Team - March 30, 2024, 1:13 a.m.

So glad you enjoyed the vegan carbonara, Anna! It means a lot 😊