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The Perfect Vegan Carbonara {GF option}

vegan, egg-free, dairy-free, gf option
The perfect vegan carbonara, and my all-time favourite pasta (though it's hard to choose a favourite child). Salty, peppery, tangy, rich, and silky as a good carbonara should be.
Servings 5

Ingredients

  • 500 g spaghetti, rigatoni or bucatini (gf if needed)

'Guanciale'

  • 375 g firm tofu
  • 1/4 cup light soy sauce or tamari (gf if needed)
  • 1 tbsp dark soy sauce or tamari (gf if needed)
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 3 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tbsp white shiro miso paste
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 3 dash worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/8 tsp ground fennel seed (optional)
  • pinch fine sea salt

Creamy Sauce

  • 300 g silken tofu
  • 1/3 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1/4 cup raw cashews
  • 2 tbsp (40 ml) white shiro miso paste
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar (+ more to taste)
  • 2 tsp fine sea salt (+ more to taste at the end)
  • 1/8 tsp black salt (kala namak) for eggy flavour (optional)
  • 1/8 tsp turmeric for colour (optional)
  • 2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

Finish

  • lots of freshly cracked black pepper (seriously shower the sauce with pepper)
  • reserved pasta cooking water

Serve

  • vegan parmesan

Instructions

'Guanciale'

  • Preheat oven to 200 C/400 F. Cut the tofu into small strips or ‘lardons’. In a medium bowl whisk the remaining ‘guanciale’ ingredients together then stir in the tofu, making sure it’s all well coated and covered in the marinade. Let marinate for at least 30 minutes at room temp and up to 1 day in the fridge. The longer you have, the better.
  • Drain the tofu discarding the marinade, and spread on one layer on a baking paper-lined tray. Bake for 30 - 40 mins. Give it a stir a few times as it cooks. It’s done when it’s dried out a fair bit and is darkly coloured in places (it will become crispy/chewy as it cools).

Creamy Sauce

  • Place all ingredients except the olive oil in a blender and blend until completely smooth and creamy. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil with the blender running on low to emulsify. Set aside.

Pasta

  • Cook pasta in boiling well-salted water until al dente, drain (don't rinse!), reserving at least 1 cup or so of pasta water for the sauce.

Finish

  • Warm the creamy sauce in a pan along with a very good hit of freshly cracked black pepper and 1/2 cup pasta cooking water. Add the drained pasta and toss together till warmed through and the pasta is looking satiny and coated, add more pasta water if needed to thin and create a silky sauce.

Serve

  • Gently toss through as much of the ‘guanciale’ as you’d like. Taste and stir through more pepper and/or salt if it needs, then tangle into bowls and serve with vegan parmesan.
Course: Dinner, Main Dishes
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: Pasta