RECIPE: Classic Spaghetti Carbonara

Updated: Aug 28, 2020

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



Tofu Bacon

250g 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 or 1 clove of garlic, crushed

light dash turmeric powder

cracked black pepper

oil for shallow frying (approximately 1/3 cup)

250g dried spaghetti

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


Tofu Bacon Marinade

Cut the firm tofu block in half. Carefully slice the tofu halves 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 approximately 20 minutes, tossing occasionally.

Tofu Egg

In a small food processor, blend all of 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, reserving 1 ladle (or 1 cup) of cooking water. Strain the pasta and transfer to the frypan you cooked the tofu bacon in. Stir the tofu egg sauce through the spaghetti until each strand is coated, add the pasta water and stir. This should create a creamy consistency. Fold through the bacon. Reserve some bacon pieces for garnish.

To serve, sprinkle with vegan parmesan cheese.

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