This is like if Carbonara and Alfredo sauce had a vegan baby with less calories. Carbonara is traditionally made with egg yolks, pancetta, parmesan, and sometimes peas, while Alfredo sauce is typically a heavy cream-and-cheese-based sauce. This combines the creaminess of Alfredo sauce with the meaty flavors of Carbonara sauce to get a rich, decadent dish. Topped with tempeh bacon crumbles, this pasta is bursting with warm comfort-food flavors that you won't want to miss out on!
Creamy Carbonara with Tempeh “Bacon” [Vegan]
For the Pasta:
- 1 box of penne pasta (about 16 oz)
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 1/2 cups unsweetened nut milk (I used almond)
- 4 tablespoons vegan cream cheese
- 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 1 tablespoon parsley flakes
- 1 1/2 tablespoon cornstarch (mixed with 3 tbsp water to make a slurry)
- 1 cup frozen peas (defrosted)
- Tiny pinch of kala namak (black salt) (optional)
- Salt & pepper to taste
- Tempeh "bacon" for topping
For the Tempeh "Bacon" Ingredients:
- 8 oz tempeh
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 4 tablespoons neutral-flavored oil
- Start by marinating your tempeh bacon.
- Break up the tempeh into small crumbles and place in a bowl.
- Add all the bacon ingredients to the bowl, mix until the tempeh is evenly coated, then let it sit for at least 15 minutes.
- Heat a frying pan over medium heat. Once the tempeh is done marinating, cook, stirring occasionally, for 5-10 minutes, or until the tempeh is dark brown and slightly crispy.
- Separately, cook the pasta according to the directions on the box.
- Meanwhile, make the sauce.
- In a large frying pan, heat the oil on low.
- Add the flour and cook for a few seconds to create a rue.
- Slowly add the milk to the pan, whisking constantly so lumps don’t form.
- Immediately add the cream cheese and seasonings to the pan.
- Bring the sauce to a low boil, stirring occasionally.
- As soon as it starts to boil, gently fold in the peas and cook for 1-2 minutes.
- Add the cornstarch slurry, stirring constantly so it doesn't clump.
- Simmer for another few minutes, stirring constantly, until the sauce thickens.
- Optional: add a tiny pinch of kala namak to give this a slightly eggy flavor to mimic traditional Carbonara sauce.
- Remove from heat, and mix in the cooked penne.
- Serve and top with tempeh bacon crumbles!