This Vegetarian Spaghetti Carbonara is the REAL ITALIAN deal. Promise. I do not know how many Spaghetti Carbonara’s you have had in your life, but the version we do here in Germany is not made with eggs but cream and the bacon used is not bacon, but cooked ham. That is the interpretation of the dish. It is completely different from an authentic, Italian pasta and if you have eaten the real thing… well certainly there was no going back for me.
I first learned how to cook a real Carbonara in China. Many moons ago, I was on a student semester abroad and one of my fellow exchangers was of Italian heritage and taught us. Then, one day, I was craving Vegetarian Spaghetti Carbonara at home. I googled some recipes and for whatever reason, people seem to believe that a Vegetarian Spaghetti Carbonara should contain cream, spinach, and peas?! I was totally not having that, so I decided to combine the recipe I had learned years ago with a version of vegan bacon. That is the recipe I am presenting to you today 🥰.
This Vegetarian Spaghetti Carbonara is the ideal, ultimate comfort food. It is delicious, hearty, filling, and the “bacon” tastes close to the real deal. Albeit, if you do eat meat – I would probably recommend using it in this dish to make the taste even more authentic.
Why is this Vegetarian Spaghetti Carbonara good for?
I adore tempeh 🥰. I like that it has a bit of a denser consistency and can be used in quite a versatile way. Other than its little “cousin” tofu – I also like that it easily crisps up (or perhaps I have simply not found the right recipes?!). Originally from Indonesia, Tempeh is made from soybeans that have been fermented. Fermented foods are a great probiotic that helps to improve and support your overall gut-microbiome. I have also shared a bit more in my Homemade Sauerkraut recipe about the many gut-health benefits of fermentation. In addition, Tempeh is a rich source of Magnesium, Manganese, and Calcium. Calcium, amongst others, does not only aid in building healthy bones, but also with blood clotting and muscle contraction in your body.
Onions are one of my favorite flu and cold fighter! They are a powerful prebiotic and contain loads of antioxidants. Onions are particularly high in Vitamin C, and in B Vitamins 9 and 6. Onions are also a great protector for your heart. They are highly anti-inflammatory, which can lead to lowering your blood pressure, decrease triglycerides, and “bad” cholesterol levels. Next to being good for our hearts, onions may also help us in lowering our risks of stomach and colorectal cancers. In recent animal studies, onions have also shown to control blood sugar levels, suggesting that this is also possible in humans.
For anyone who has never had nutritional yeast before, this is a type of yeast that is popular in the vegan kitchen, mainly because it tastes very similar to cheese. Because this yeast is specifically grown for the food industry, any active yeast cells are “killed” in the final product by adding heat. Nutritional yeast is very nutritious, particularly in Vitamin B12 – albeit one has to remember that this type of food is usually eaten in small quantities. Vitamin B12 is needed by your body to keep your blood and nerve cells healthy, as well as making DNA. It can usually only be obtained from animal products, mainly meat. You should consider taking a supplement if you are on a vegan or vegetarian diet.
There are many pots and pans that you kind of have to “juggle” at the same time with a Carbonara. The timing is everything, because you want the dish to be hot, but not too hot so that the eggs starts to curdle and become scrambled. I have therefore provided loads of progress steps and pictures for you below. If you follow the steps in the recipe, everything should come out on time and be one, combined dish 🤗.
How can I adjust this recipe to my dietary requirements?
This Vegetarian Spaghetti Carbonara is definitely a vegetarian one. Due to the use of eggs and cheese, this recipe is – sadly – not suitable for vegans or if you follow a paleo lifestyle. If you do eat meat, I would recommend making this dish in its original form, by frying off some bacon.
And there you have it for this week 🤩. I hope you will enjoy this recipe as much as we do over at our house 😍. Let me know how you get on with creating it and whether you like my version of “bacon” by leaving a comment below or over on Instagram under @life_and_lemons_foodblog and with #lifeandlemonsfoodblog. Happy cooking!!
Vegetarian Spaghetti CarbonaraCourse: MainCuisine: ItalianDifficulty: Medium
This Vegetarian Spaghetti Carbonara is the real Italian deal! It is creamy, delicious, and contains beautiful, crunchy vegan bacon.
- For the bacon
4 tbsp tamari
4 tbsp nutritional yeast
1 tbsp olive oil
½ tsp garlic powder
½ tsp (smoked) paprika
¼ tsp pepper
- Remaining ingredients
2 medium-sized onions
Ghee for frying
250gr Spaghetti (your favourite gluten-free brand of choice)
4 eggs (3 egg yolks and 1 whole egg)
3 – 4 tbsp dairy-free milk
Pepper to taste
100 – 150gr. (or 200 gr.) parmesan
- Start by pre-heating the oven to 200 degrees Celsius (400 Fahrenheit) on a grill setting. For the bacon, combine the tamari, nutritional yeast, olive oil, garlic powder, paprika and pepper in a bowl. Cut the tempeh into small bite sized pieces – similar to bacon and add the tempeh to the bowl and toss so that everything is combined (the sauce will be sticky and it should take a bit of effort to combine everything). Put into an oven-proof dish and add to the oven. Put the “bacon” as close to the grill as possible. Grill for 15 minutes, then toss once through and grill for another 15 – 20 minutes
- Meanwhile, finely cut the onions. Heat a pan over medium to high heat and add the ghee. Once melted start by frying off the onions until translucent with a bit of caramelisation
- Simultaneously, bring a large pot of water to the boil. Add a bit of salt and the spaghetti. Cook as per package instructions
- Whilst the pan, pot, and oven are on the go, combine three of the egg yolks with one whole egg and the non-dairy milk with pepper in a bowl and whisk until smooth and combined. Grate the cheese (loads – the more the merrier on this one I find ;))
- When the spaghetti and bacon are done, drain the spaghetti over the sink – ATTENTION you may want to keep some of the spaghetti water to “stretch” your sauce a little so perhaps hold it in a small glass jar or similar
- Put the spaghetti back in the pan – but not on the hot stove. Add the eggs, onions, cheese, and bacon and mix through. Serve on a plate with a side salad and more cheese on top. ENJOY this beautiful dish!!