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


  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!