Vegan Pasta Carbonara with Smoked Tofu

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A classic recipe gets a vegan makeover in this vegan pasta carbonara with smoked tofu. Ready in just 30 minutes, this vegan carbonara is so good it gives the real thing a run for its money.

Vegan Pasta Carbonara With Smoked Tofu

Vegan and carbonara are two words that don’t seem to belong together, but it is possible to get a very satisfying experience when trying to veganize this Italian cult recipe.

There are many variations of vegan pasta carbonara out there, from vegan carbonara with coconut milk to recipes that call for nutritional yeast or a sauce made from raw cashews. My version doesn’t include any of these but instead keeps it super simple with just six ingredients (plus salt and pepper). 

What you get is a creamy and rich recipe that is perfect for weeknight meals as it takes less than 30 minutes to prepare. 

It’s also the perfect recipe for those who don’t love mushrooms (I know that many vegans aren’t too keen on them, possibly because so many vegan recipes have some kind of mushrooms in them for texture). 

I used smoked tofu as a replacement for the guanciale, which gives and it gave this recipe a real resemblance to the real thing. 

Vegan Pasta Carbonara in pan with wooden spoonWith Smoked Tofu

How do you make this carbonara with smoked tofu?

What I like best about this recipe is that you don’t have to use a blender or food processor, which translates in less washing up (yay!). It’s basically a one-pan recipe, not counting the pot you’re boiling the pasta in.

First, gather your ingredients.

Vegan Carbonara Smoked Tofu Ingredients on white background

Boil the pasta in salted water according to the instructions on the package. 

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large pan and fry the onion for 3-4 minutes on low heat until it starts to brown.

In a small bowl, mix the soy cream and ground turmeric until dissolved completely.

Add the smoked tofu pieces to the pan and cook for 2-3 minutes.

Drain the pasta, reserving 1 cup of water from the pot.

Transfer the pasta to the pan with the onion and tofu and mix.

Add the soy cream and turmeric mixture and mix well to cover all the pasta. If the sauce looks too thick, use some of the reserved pasta water to give it the desired consistency. Season to taste.

Divide the pasta into bowls, add a bit of extra freshly ground black pepper on top and serve immediately.

Tips for making the best vegan carbonara

  • You can use seitan instead of smoked tofu. 
  • The turmeric is there mostly to add colour and make the pasta resemble real carbonara that’s made with raw eggs. You can omit it if you want, but the dish won’t look that pretty. 
  • Speaking of turmeric, don’t add more than instructed because it’s going to overpower everything. 
  • You can use another type of cream instead of soy cream โ€” cashew and oat cream would both work well for this recipe. 
  • If you’re a mushroom lover, you can add some cremini or sliced Portobello mushrooms with the tofu.
Vegan Pasta Carbonara With Smoked Tofu close up

If you liked this vegan pasta carbonara recipe, have a look at some of my other vegan recipes:

Vegan Lentil Soup with Kale

The Ultimate Vegan Zuppa Toscana

Aubergine and Red Lentil Curry

Vegan Cannellini Bean Stew

Creamy Polenta with Vegan RaguLooking for more delicious inspiration? ๐Ÿ˜„ Follow Skinny Spatula on Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest!

Yield: 4

Vegan Pasta Carbonara with Smoked Tofu

Vegan Pasta Carbonara With Smoked Tofu in bowl on blue background

A classic recipe gets a vegan makeover in this vegan pasta carbonara with smoked tofu. Ready in just 30 minutes, this vegan carbonara is so good it gives the real thing a run for its money.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 350 g (12 oz) penne
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 200 ml (1 cup) soy cream (or other vegan cream alternative)
  • 100 g (3.5 oz) smoked tofu, cut in 1/2 inch pieces
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

    1. Boil the pasta in salted water according to the instructions on the package.
    2. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large pan and fry the onion for 3-4 minutes on low heat until it starts to brown.
    3. In a small bowl, mix the soy cream and ground turmeric until dissolved completely.
    4. Add the smoked tofu pieces to the pan and cook for 2-3 minutes.
    5. Drain the pasta, reserving 1 cup of water from the pot.
    6. Transfer the pasta to the pan with the onion and tofu and mix.
    7. Add the soy cream and turmeric mixture and mix well to cover all the pasta. If the sauce looks too thick, use some of the reserved pasta water to give it the desired consistency. Season to taste.
    8. Divide the pasta into bowls, add a bit of extra freshly ground black pepper on top and serve immediately.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

4

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 401Total Fat: 27gSaturated Fat: 13gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 12gCholesterol: 57mgSodium: 162mgCarbohydrates: 31gFiber: 2gSugar: 3gProtein: 9g

Nutritional information is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator.

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