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close up photo of Easy Vegan Carbonara in white bowl

Easy Vegan Carbonara Recipe

  • Author: Sweet Simple Vegan
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: About 6 servings
  • Diet: Vegan


This easy Vegan Carbonara recipe tastes just like the classic Italian dish! Al dente spaghetti tossed in a cheesy, savory, peppery sauce, then sprinkled with vegan pancetta for the ultimate comfort meal. Ready in less than 1 hour!


Tofu “Pancetta”:

  • 8 ounces super firm tofu
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce (or tamari)
  • 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon liquid smoke
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons oil



  • 1 lb. (16 ounces) dry spaghetti noodles
  • 2 ounces vegan parmesan cheese
  • Black salt or kala namak, to taste
  • Additional salt and black pepper, to taste


  1. Soften the cashews. Place the cashews in a small bowl and cover with boiling water. Allow the cashews to soak for at least 20 minutes, or up to overnight.
  2. Prep the vegan pancetta. Cut the super firm tofu into very small cubes, about 1/2 centimeter wide. In a separate medium bowl, mix together the soy sauce, apple cider vinegar, maple syrup, liquid smoke, paprika, cumin, and salt. Add the tofu pieces into the mixture and mix to coat. Set the tofu pancetta aside to marinate for at least 10 minutes.
  3. Make the vegan carbonara sauce. Drain the cashews and add them to a high-speed blender along with the water, nutritional yeast, and a pinch of black pepper. Blend until smooth and creamy and set aside.
  4. Pan-fry the vegan bacon bits. In a medium or large skillet over medium heat, heat the oil until warm. Once hot, add the tofu pieces to the pan, along with the remaining marinade liquid. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 8-10 minutes or until the tofu is crispy. Remove from the heat and set aside.
  5. Cook the pasta. In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook the spaghetti until al dente. Before draining, reserve 2 cups of the pasta water and set aside.
  6. Toss the pasta in the vegan “egg sauce”. Return the cooked pasta back to the pot and add the cream sauce, vegan parmesan, and a generous amount of black pepper. Then, add the pasta water, 1/2 cup at a time, and toss together until glossy and homogenous. We usually only need 1 cup of the pasta water, but you may need up to 2 cups depending on how saucy you like your vegan spaghetti carbonara. Season with black salt, to taste. 
  7. Serve. Top the vegan carbonara with the crispy vegan pancetta, and serve with additional black pepper and fresh parsley, if desired. Enjoy!


  • Leftover vegan spaghetti carbonara will keep for up to 4 days in an airtight container in the refrigerator. As it chills, the creamy carbonara sauce will continue to thicken and become absorbed by the pasta. When reheating, add a splash of water, unsweetened almond milk, or soy milk to loosen the sauce again as needed. Reheat in the microwave or a pan on the stovetop until warm and creamy again. 
  • Black salt, or kala namak is an Indian spice that has a strong sulphur-like and eggy flavor. It’s commonly used in vegan recipes like Tofu Scramble to mimic the flavor of eggs. This recipe doesn’t necessarily need it, but if you want that eggy flavor of classic carbonara, you can finish off this recipe with a sprinkle of black salt if desired! 
  • Prep Time: 35 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Category: Entree, Pasta
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Italian