This Eggless Carbonara is the perfect way to get your carbonara fix without the eggs. Instead of bacon, the recipe calls for smoked tempeh. A whole-foods plant-based recipe that is ready in minutes. A perfect classic weeknight dinner veganized!
💡 The recipe in a nutshell
- Vegan (no egg and dairy free)
- Whole-foods plant-based
- Quick and easy-to-make
- Versatile: combine with other vegetables
Carbonara is usually associated with Rome and the Lazio region, but as with so many Italian dishes, its origin is up to debate. Some connect it to pasta cacio e uova, a Neapolitan dish of pasta tossed with melted lard, beaten raw eggs, and cheese.
The classic recipe does not contain any butter, cream, or garlic. It is simply made with raw beaten eggs, Guanciale, or bacon, and topped with Pecorino Romano and black pepper. Since it is such a simple recipe it leaves much room for new interpretations and variations worldwide.
Hungry for more Italian-inspired recipes? Browse our European recipe page.
🍳 What is used instead of eggs?
To veganize carbonara, this recipe uses almond butter, nutritional yeast, and water instead of eggs and cheese. Add finely chopped onion, lemon juice, and some salt or miso paste for some extra flavor.
🥦 What vegetables go with carbonara?
Some fantastic vegetables to add for more nutrient density include edamame, artichokes, mushrooms, bell pepper, olives, broccoli, spinach, asparagus, green peas, sun-dried tomatoes, or arugula.
🤔 What can I use instead of meat?
Instead of the traditional bacon, use smoked tempeh or smoked tofu. Both are fantastic and tasty plant-based replacements.
🫒 How to make carbonara oil free?
Instead of using oil swap with vegetable broth for sautéing, and skip drizzling the dish with oil.
Eggless Carbonara Recipe with Tempeh
- pot to cook pasta, shallow sauce pan to prepare carbonara
- 120 g dry pasta, such as spaghetti or tagliatelle (4.2 oz)
- 50 g almond butter; for best color results, use white but regular or roasted works too (1.7 oz)
- 5 tablespoon nutritional yeast (25g)
- 250 ml water (1 cup)
- 150 g smoked tempeh, cubed (5.2 oz)
- 1 small yellow or white onion
- 2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil (swap with vegetable broth, if making oil free version)
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 4 tablespoon pasta water (60ml)
- salt and black pepper to taste, or 1 tablespoon miso paste
Optional add in (around 70g / 2.4 oz)
- edamame, mushrooms, bell pepper, olives, broccoli, spinach, asparagus, green peas, sun-dried tomatoes, or arugula
- Cook pasta according to package directions.
- Using a whisk, mix the almond butter, nutritional yeast, and water. Cut smoked tempeh into small cubes, to represent "bacon". Peel onion and chop finely.
- Heat olive oil in a pan. Sautée smoked tempeh in it for about 5 minutes, until browned and crisp. Add onion and fry for another 2 minutes. Then add almond butter mix and lemon juice. Add pasta water and let carbonara sauce boil briefly and thicken. Toss edamame, or other vegetables, if using it. Season with salt (or miso paste) and pepper to taste. Simmer until desired consistency and thickness is reached.
- Toss the cooked pasta in the sauce. Serve and optionally drizzle with a little more olive oil.
PS: Don't forget to rate this recipe and leave a comment on your experience - this helps improve my recipes and serves you with the best instructions, tips, and substitution ideas. Plus, I love hearing about your takes on my recipes! Tag me on Instagram @thesimplesprinkle to show me your pictures.