If you love a good Italian pasta, try this vegan carbonara. It’s not my recipe: it’s all Marco’s doing – he almost outcompetes my Italian friends in his love of pasta, and he knows how to cook!
Traditionally, a carbonara is made by tossing spaghetti al dente in a mixture of raw eggs, grated pecorino (a hard, salty cheese), black pepper, and pancetta (a cured meat). Veganising this dish is a bit of a challenge, you could say: recipes that I’ve come across have a creamy sauce, which isn’t quite the Italian way.
This vegan recipe using a cunning combination of cashew cream, nutritional yeast, kala namak (to make a rich vegan egg substitute), with seitan and liquid smoke (in place of the cured meat). Oh, and the pasta has to be “very, very good”. We used this one.
If you’re a wine lover too, Marco’s expert* recommendation is a Pfeddersheim Chardonnay from Weingut Pfannebecker in Germany. (All their wines are vegan and organic!)
* Marco Dietz is a wine professional who’s worked in the wine industry for the last 20 years.
Vegan Spaghetti Carbonara
- 200 g original Italian spaghetti
- 1 tbsp oil
- 100 g seitan
- a few drops liquid smoke
- 1/3 cup cashew cream (or another plant-based cream)
- 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
- 1 pinch kala namak (black salt) (or to taste)
- freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
- Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil, and cook the spaghetti according to the package directions, until al dente.
- Meanwhile, slice the seitan into very small pieces, and spray some liquid smoke onto it (or place 2-3 drops, and mix well so that the seitan takes on a smoky flavour).
- Heat the oil in a large pan, and fry the seitan for a few minutes until slightly crispy.
- Turn off the heat, add a tiny bit more liquid smoke to the seitan and mix.
- In a medium bowl, mix the cashew cream (or plant-based cream of your choice) with the nutritional yeast and kala namak.
- As soon as the pasta is al dente, drain it and add the pasta to the pan with the seitan, and toss it along with the cream mixture.
- Leave for 3 minutes, then grind some black pepper on top of the spaghetti.
- Serve the pasta with some good wine, and buon appetito!