There’s a lot of debate out there about how to make authentic Spaghetti Carbonara. Some swear by keeping it as simple as possible, an egg sauce with pecorino romano cheese and guanciale, shaming anyone who uses cream, or garlic, or parsley. I’ll tell you right now, Carbonara is probably one of the least vegan-friendly recipes out there but that only made the challenge more exciting for us. Vegan Spaghetti Carbonara, here we come!
You won’t find any eggs, or pecorino cheese in this recipe, and you surely won’t find any guanciale. But you will find wholesome, plant-based ingredients that make this copycat recipe a Vegan Italian staple for you to indulge just the same.
For our Vegan Spaghetti Carbonara recipe, we created an egg sauce that is very close to what a true egg yolk might look or taste like. We used some Kala Namak salt which is something new that we recently acquired.
There are a few staples that you’ll find in many vegan pantries and I think that Kala Namak should fall in that list along with Nutritional Yeast or Vital Wheat Gluten for example.
If you’re new to veganism, order some Kala Namak so you can make this recipe, if you want to try the recipe using regular salt, that’s fine too—although I will say regular salt doesn’t lend itself to the exact flavor we need. Kala Namak has an eggy scent and a subtle egg flavor.
The egg sauce is really simple with only a few ingredients. We didn’t want to add any tofu or cream because we were trying our best to replicate what a true Carbonara might be like.
Mushrooms. Love them or hate them.
We are not big mushroom people regularly but we thought they would still be a perfect substitution for this recipe. And they are. Marinated and sautéed baby bella mushrooms are quite delicious and the texture is excellent.
The only thing that I will give you advice on for making the mushrooms is that you drain the marinade out before cooking them in the pan. And that you wipe down the pan, or use a separate pan, when combining all the ingredients together with the cooked spaghetti. Mushrooms are very porous and will absorb the marinade well and you don’t want the recipe to be too salty.
Cook the mushrooms until they shrivel up. We use 3 cups of sliced mushrooms in our recipe, but I wouldn’t be mad if you made more than that. Traditional Carbonara doesn’t have a lot of guanciale (guanciale is basically like a fancy bacon, I won’t go into details…)
The mushrooms shrink a lot when you cook them, and you want to make sure they are cooked a good amount to make them crispy around the edges but chewy too.
Our favorite vegan parmesan cheese.
The first time we had it was at a vegan pizzeria. We gushed at the owner, “Is this housemade?! It’s so real!” and she laughed and told us it was Go Veggie. Ever since then, we always keep a couple of them in our fridge.
We hope you like this new recipe for Vegan Spaghetti Carbonara. It’s very simple to make and it comes together in under 30 minutes. It’s creamy, it’s cheesy, and the mushroom bacon is just the right amount of umami. Garnish with some more vegan parmesan and freshly cracked black pepper. Enjoy!
Alternatives for Vegan Spagetti Carbonara
If you want to add more protein to this dish, we have the perfect solution. Please follow this link to our vegan penne alla vodka recipe, and you can find a tempeh pancetta recipe towards the bottom. A huge protein boost and will make for a perfect mushroom substitute!
This recipe for Spaghetti Carbonara uses simple vegan ingredients and comes together beautifully in less than 30 minutes.
- 3 cups sliced baby bella mushrooms
- 3 tablespoons tamari
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon liquid smoke
- 2 cups water
- 2 tablespoons corn starch
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
- 1 teaspoon kala namak (black salt)
- 1 pinch turmeric
- 16 ounces spaghetti
- 1/2 cup Go Veggie vegan parmesan cheese
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add spaghetti, follow directions on package for cook time. Reserve 1 cup of pasta water before draining. Drain and set aside.
In a small pot over medium heat, whisk together the water and cornstarch. Once combined, stir in the olive oil, nutritional yeast, kala namak, and turmeric.
Increase the heat to medium-high and whisk for 3-5 minutes until the sauce thickens.
In a medium bowl, whisk together soy sauce, olive oil, maple syrup, and liquid smoke. Add the sliced baby bella mushrooms and stir to coat. Marinate for 20 minutes.
Drain excess marinade. In a large pan over medium-heat, add the mushrooms in an even layer. Stir occasionally until crispy on both sides, about 5-8 minutes. Once done, place on paper towels to soak up any excess liquid.
Add the cooked pasta back into the large pot. Add the carbonara sauce and the mushroom guanciale (bacon). Top with parmesan cheese and combine until cheese is melted. Re-heat on the stove if the ingredients have cooled down (as needed). Add reserved pasta water as necessary.
Nutrition Values are approximate.
Made this recipe last evening. Delicious and definitely had a taste of egg. Easy to make. My only suggestion would be to start the mushrooms first as they need to marinate.
Great to hear that you enjoyed the recipe. Thank you!
By the way, we really do appreciate your feedback and we adjusted the recipe to have the marinating done first. Thank you again!
I look forward to making this recipe. Did you use vegan spaghetti? I have spent hours ad nauseam looking for a truly vegan pasta brand; i.e., countless brands are recommended, but the ingredients contradict those brands are vegan. Thus, am I to presume you bought spaghetti or you made you own vegan pasta? I shall thank you in advance for your advice.
Yes! We use Barilla brand pasta. Most of their pasta shapes are vegan 🙂