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RECIPE: Classic Spaghetti Carbonara

Updated: Jun 19, 2022

A classic Italian dish, traditionally made with pancetta or guanciale and egg yolks - we're taking it to new vegan heights! This recipe uses tofu, liquid smoke and kala namak as a creative and authentic tasting alternative. 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 your tofu into your preferred meaty pieces. Thin slices or thick. Whatever you like.

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 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.

Cook the spaghetti in a large saucepan of salted boiling water for 8 minutes or until al dente, reserving at least 1 ladle (or 1 cup) of cooking water. Strain the pasta and transfer to the frypan you cooked the tofu bacon in. Stir the 'egg' sauce through the spaghetti until each strand is coated, add the pasta water and stir. Add an extra dash of turmeric if you want a more golden egg hue.

To serve, sprinkle with vegan parmesan cheese.

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