Finally a Dairy Free Carbonara that's suitable for vegans, easy to cook, and mouth-wateringly delicious!
Love a good ol’ pasta carbonara but it doesn’t return the love and instead gives you the runs? Or maybe you’ve made the conscious decision to go vegan and you’ve had to give it up? Traditional carbonara is made with cheese, eggs, and meat. All of which are a big no-no for those who are sensitive to dairy and those who are vegan.
So how does one get their pasta carbonara fix when they’re lactose-intolerant or vegan? Simple! You create a dairy free carbonara recipe that’s vegan-friendly and delicious - just like this recipe from our Cosmic Cookware friend, Sarah Brown (@sezzy.brown pictured below)!
With just a few simple substitutions, you too can now cook up your very own dairy free carbonara pasta that’s vegan-friendly and as delicious as an authentic carbonara recipe!
Why have a dairy free carbonara recipe that’s vegan-friendly?
Well why not! We’ve got heaps of people in our Cosmic Cookware community with family members that have different dietary requirements. Some are lactose-intolerant that experience discomforts like bloating, cramps, and the runs whenever they consume dairy. Then we have those who are vegan, be it for ethical reasons or for personal lifestyle changes.
So naturally, we’d want to bring them a dairy free version that's also vegan friendly to get everyone around the table for quality time around meals. And you can’t do that when some feel left out without being able to enjoy the meal now can you?
Why we love this vegan-friendly, dairy free carbonara recipe
We love love love this creamy pasta carbonara recipe because it’s simple, flavoursome, and deliciously indulgent without the heaviness of traditional carbonara. The creamy sauce is made with a few ingredients you wouldn’t have thought to use in pasta carbonara. But this version is still incredibly creamy and satisfying.
This recipe substitutes regular bacon for tofu bacon that gives it a savoury, smoky flavour and crispy texture that perfectly complements the pasta dish. It’s also a fantastic recipe to have when you’re craving something rich and comforting, while keeping it plant-based.
Is there cream in this recipe?
Nope, we avoid cream in this recipe because of two things. One, authentic carbonara doesn’t have cream added into it. It’s just eggs and cheese that make up the prime ingredients. Two, this recipe is totally dairy free! :)
Traditional carbonara comes with parmesan cheese - so how do you substitute cheese in this vegan, dairy free carbonara?
Oh this was certainly a tricky one. Everyone knows that the key to making a fragrant and hearty pasta carbonara lies in the cheese. So the key here was to find a great substitute (or rather, grate substitute) for the cheese. Thankfully we have several options to choose from these days even at your nearest Coles, Woolies, and even Costco. It all depends on your personal preference and dietary restrictions.
We used nutritional yeast for this recipe, which is by far one of the most popular substitutes for parmesan cheese. Nutritional yeast is also high in vitamins and minerals, making it a deliciously healthy addition to the otherwise sinful carbonara.
While there are other alternatives of vegan cheese to choose from such as cashew-based cheese and soy-based cheese, we found that nutritional yeast elevated this recipe to be almost, if not, definitely on par with authentic carbonara.
You mentioned replacing traditional bacon for tofu bacon, how does that work?
Bacon or pancetta is another key aspect that gives pasta carbonara its irresistible savoury fragrance and flavour. This recipe uses tofu bacon, which is made from marinated and crisped tofu that has been flavoured with spices and liquid smoke to give it a mouthwatering smokey finish.
Tofu bacon works incredibly well here because it has a similar texture and flavour to traditional bacon when you marinate and crisp it. Only this one is vegan-friendly and much healthier than traditional bacon and pancetta, which are high in saturated fat and cholesterol.
How is this better than store-bought carbonara sauce?
Well, you definitely can grab a dairy free and vegan-friendly one from a nearby store. There are some that are delicious and healthy - just remember to check the label! But while it may be tempting to easily get a jar and call it a day, making your own dairy free pasta carbonara is much better for your health and taste buds.
For one, many store-bought sauces come with artificial flavours, colours, and preservatives. All of which you can avoid when you make your own sauce from scratch, because you have full control over what goes inside.
You can’t forget how making your own sauce guarantees that you’re getting the freshest batch you’ll ever get. Which in most cases means extra depth and flavour to your dish. You also get to enjoy fully customizing it to your preference like adjusting the seasoning and spices, or even adding extra protein and vegetables to make it more filling and nutritious.
What kind of pasta should I use?
We’d recommend using spaghetti or angel hair pasta for this recipe. Our recipe’s dairy free carbonara sauce easily coats long, thin pasta so you’ll get a perfectly flavoursome bite with each twirl around your fork.
Alternatives you can consider are linguine, fettuccine, or even bucatini. But we’ll stick to spaghetti or angel hair for best results. Feel free to also substitute it with gluten-free pasta if you need to!
Whew, now that we’ve covered the questions we frequently get about this recipe - let’s dive right into it and get cookin’!
Dairy Free Carbonara, A Vegan-Friendly Recipe
Ingredients for Tofu Bacon:
300g extra firm tofu
1 tbsp liquid smoke
1 tbsp vegan chicken stock powder
1 tsp sea salt flakes
1 tbsp olive oil
Beetroot juice from a 225g can of beetroot
Ingredients for Carbonara Sauce:
1 cup raw cashews - soaked for a few hours
1 cup soy milk
1 cup pasta water
1 tbsp onion powder
1 tbsp garlic powder
3/4 cup nutritional yeast
1 tsp sea salt flakes
Fresh parsley to garnish
Cut the tofu into small cubes and toss in a bowl with the rest of the tofu bacon ingredients. Marinate for about 30 minutes.
After 30 minutes of marinating, add the tofu with all the marinade to the Cosmo Pan and fry until all the marinade has evaporated and the tofu is slightly crispy outside.
Cook pasta al dente according to the packet’s instructions in salted water using either the Cosmo Pan or Cosmo Casserole - don’t forget to save 1 cup of the hot pasta water.
Add all the pasta sauce ingredients into a blender and blend until it’s super smooth.
Drain your pasta and add the drained pasta along with carbonara sauce back into the Cosmo Pan and combine over medium heat for 5 minutes.
Serve with the tofu bacon and parsley. Enjoy!