RECIPE: Classic Spaghetti Carbonara

Updated: May 5

A classic Italian dish, traditionally made with pancetta or bacon and egg yolks - we're taking it to new vegan heights! This recipe uses tofu, liquid smoke and kala namak as a creative stand-in for bacon and egg. However you could use your favourite store-bought vegan bacon product instead.

Recipe by Nadia Fragnito in Discovering Vegan Italian

Serves 2


Tofu Bacon

200g block extra firm tofu

1/4 cup soy sauce

1/2 tablespoon liquid smoke

Tofu Egg Sauce

300g silken tofu

1/3 cup nutritional yeast flakes

1 teaspoon black salt

(kala namak)

1 teaspoon garlic powder

light dash turmeric powder

cracked black pepper

4-5 tablespoons oil for shallow frying

250g dried spaghetti

1/4 cup olive oil

1/4 cup vegan parmesan cheese to serve (optional)


Tofu Bacon Marinade

Cut the firm tofu block in half. Using a mandoline slicer, carefully shave the tofu halves into thin slices. If you don't have a mandoline, carefully slice the tofu as thinly as possible. This will be your bacon.

Pour the soy sauce and liquid smoke into a bowl. Add a dash of water. Soak the tofu slices in the marinade for 20-30 minutes, tossing occasionally.

Tofu Egg

In a food processor, blend all the Tofu Egg Sauce ingredients together until smooth. Set aside.

Tofu Bacon

Drain the tofu pieces from the marinade.

In a medium fry pan, heat the oil. Test a small piece of tofu in the oil first to see if it is hot enough. If the tofu sizzles straight away, it is ready. Fry the tofu pieces in batches until golden brown. The longer you fry, the crispier they will be. I like mine juicy without being too crispy. But you choose your favourite texture.

Drain the tofu bacon on absorbent paper.

Cook the spaghetti in a large saucepan of salted boiling water for 8 minutes or until al dente. Strain the pasta.

Stir the tofu egg and olive oil through the cooked spaghetti until each strand is coated. Fold through the bacon. Reserve some bacon pieces for garnish.

To serve, sprinkle with vegan parmesan cheese.

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