The idea of a vegan carbonara might seem a little odd. How would you swap out the traditional ingredients of egg, pancetta and cheese to create an equally delicious dish that was still recognisable as a carbonara? This is the question we were asking ourselves when we were trying to come up with our first-ever original recipe. We knew it would be a challenge, but we felt up to the task; why not throw ourselves in at the deep end?! With some trial and error, we think we’ve come up with a recipe that has a super creamy ‘cheesy’ sauce, with tofu ‘bacon’ bits that are sweet and smoky and have just the right balance of crispiness and chewiness to them.
That being said, not every version of this recipe was a success! The first time we decided to try cooking this with white pepper, I did what I often do, and didn’t listen to Freya when she was suggesting how much to put in… I went way overboard and for some reason put about 1 tablespoon in! I don’t know if you’ve ever had white pepper, but I quickly learnt it was to be used with caution – suffice it to say that it blew our heads off!
The sauce is primarily made from silken tofu, butter beans and almond milk, which combine beautifully to make a rich, creamy sauce. For the ‘bacon’ bits we choose to use firm tofu, as it absorbs any flavour you marinade it in. Combining this with the way it bakes in the oven into crispy little bite-size pieces, we knew it was the replacement we were looking for.
This dish is a great choice for a weeknight meal to refuel after a long day at work. It’s brimming with protein from the two types of tofu and the butter beans. You can also easily serve it up to guests, cooking all the separate components beforehand, throwing it together in a pan at the last moment.
We hope you find this dish to be as warming and satisfying as we do – enjoy!
Vegan Carbonara With Tofu ‘Bacon’ Bits
- 280 g pack firm tofu
- 3 tbsp water
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
- 1 tsp rice bran oil
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 tsp liquid smoke
- pinch salt & pepper
- 300 g carton silken tofu
- 210 g can butter beans
- 1/2 cup almond milk
- 2/3 cup nutritional yeast
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 tsp turmeric
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp white pepper
- vegan parmesan
- Start by preheating the oven to 180 degrees.
- Mix the ingredients for the marinade in a bowl (water, soy sauce, maple syrup, rice bran oil, smoked paprika, apple cider vinegar, liquid smoke, salt & pepper) and add in the tofu. Make sure all the tofu pieces are covered by the marinade.
- Leave the bowl to one side, stirring occasionally to keep the tofu pieces evenly coated.
- Then make the sauce. Drain the silken tofu and add to a blender with the tin of drained butter beans and blend for about 3 minutes, or until smooth.
- Add the remaining ingredients to the blender for the sauce (almond milk, nutritional yeast, garlic powder, apple cider vinegar, turmeric, nutmeg, salt & white pepper) and blend until everything is combined and the mixture is smooth and creamy.
- Place the tofu bits onto a baking tray and arrange them so that they’re evenly spaced out. Cook in the oven for 15 mins, then roughly flip the pieces and cook for a further 10 mins until crispy.
- Whilst your tofu bits are cooking, cook the pasta according to the packet instructions.
- Then, once your pasta is cooked, add the sauce, and stir in the tofu ‘bacon’ bits leaving some to the side to sprinkle on top at the end.
- Serve with parsley, the remaining tofu bites, some vegan parmesan and a squeeze of lemon.
If you gave this a go, we’d love to know how you got on! Write a comment, like, or share this recipe with your friends.