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]

Save Trees. Print Less. But if you must, we charge $2.99 to encourage less waste


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


  1. Start by marinating your tempeh bacon.
  2. Break up the tempeh into small crumbles and place in a bowl.
  3. Add all the bacon ingredients to the bowl, mix until the tempeh is evenly coated, then let it sit for at least 15 minutes.
  4. 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.
  5. Separately, cook the pasta according to the directions on the box.
  6. Meanwhile, make the sauce.
  7. In a large frying pan, heat the oil on low.
  8. Add the flour and cook for a few seconds to create a rue.
  9. Slowly add the milk to the pan, whisking constantly so lumps don’t form.
  10. Immediately add the cream cheese and seasonings to the pan.
  11. Bring the sauce to a low boil, stirring occasionally.
  12. As soon as it starts to boil, gently fold in the peas and cook for 1-2 minutes.
  13. Add the cornstarch slurry, stirring constantly so it doesn't clump.
  14. Simmer for another few minutes, stirring constantly, until the sauce thickens.
  15. Optional: add a tiny pinch of kala namak to give this a slightly eggy flavor to mimic traditional Carbonara sauce.
  16. Remove from heat, and mix in the cooked penne.
  17. Serve and top with tempeh bacon crumbles!


    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.