Creamy Vegan Tomato Spaghetti Carbonara
My love for pasta continues with this recipe for a vegan spaghetti carbonara. Normally, spaghetti carbonara is so far from being vegan. It’s eggs, cheese and bacon galore! This vegan version will meet all of your carbonara cravings, and is so much healthier than the original recipe too!
Why tomato carbonara?
Okay, I know tomatoes aren’t the most traditional carbonara ingredient. But it’s summer, and tomatoes are at their most sweet and delicious. It seemed such a waste not to include them in a recipe this month! They really lighten up this carbonara and add an amazing sweetness. Summer pasta dishes are my favourite, and this might just be up there with the best.
For the bacon
As this is a tomato carbonara, it only made sense to use tomato as the bacon! For this, I used strips of sundried tomatoes from a jar. Mixed with soy sauce, smoked paprika, liquid smoke, and a touch of salt, and roasted in the oven for 20 minutes, they turn into perfect chewy and crispy smoky pieces. Sundried tomatoes ended up being the perfect ingredient, as their rich flavour really stands out in the finished dish.
For the spaghetti carbonara sauce
Traditionally, carbonara sauce is made with eggs and cheese, and (non-traditionally) occasionally cream. The sauce for this recipe needed to be super creamy and rich to stand up to the original. I combined a cream made from cannellini beans and vegetable stock and a buttery roux to make a thick sauce. Miso, garlic, and a splash of white wine made it totally delicious. If this sounds complicated, it’s not- trust me!
How to prepare the tomatoes
To make this vegan carbonara, start by preheating the oven to 200 degrees celsius. On a large baking tray, place the halved tomatoes, sliced garlic cloves, and basil leaves and chopped stalks. Drizzle them with 1 tablespoon of oil, season, and give them a really good mix so that everything is coated.
On a separate small baking tray or dish, combine the chopped sundried tomatoes, liquid smoke, soy sauce, smoked paprika and salt. Again, mix these really well, rubbing the marinade into the tomatoes so that they’re evenly coated. Put both of the trays into the preheated oven and cook for 20 minutes.
How to make tomato carbonara
To make this recipe super time efficient, you can prepare the pasta and sauce whilst the tomatoes are cooking. First, get the spaghetti on the go. Fill a medium saucepan with water and bring it to a boil. Add the spaghetti and reduce the water to a simmer, pushing all of the spaghetti into the water as it softens.
Next prepare the cannellini bean cream. Combine the beans and stock in a bowl, and using an immersion blender, blend until smooth. If you don’t have an immersion blender, this can also be done in a small bullet blender, or even a full sized blender.
In a large saucepan, heat the vegan butter over a medium heat until melted. Add the onion to the pan and fry for 5 minutes until golden. Add the flour, mix well, and then pour in the wine. Give it a good stir and simmer until it thickens- this should only take a couple of minutes. Then, simply pour in your cannellini bean cream, and give it all a good stir.
Next, add the miso and liquid smoke. There’s two options at this point- either stir well and leave the sauce as it is, with some chunks of fried onion, or blend it. I like to use an immersion blender to make it super smooth and creamy like a traditional carbonara. If you don’t have an immersion blender, you can transfer the sauce to a blender.
Drain your spaghetti and add it to the mix, along with your roasted tomatoes (sundried and cherry), garlic and basil. Season and give it all a really good mix. You have yourself a totally delicious summer tomato carbonara!
What to serve with tomato carbonara
Spaghetti carbonara is a dish in its own right, and doesn’t really ask to be served with anything. Top it with a bit of chopped parsley or basil and perhaps some vegan parmesan. If you’re dying to put something on the side, try a fresh green salad. If you really want to go all out, garlic bread is an option- but beware, you probably won’t be able to move afterwards!
Top tips for vegan carbonara
My top tips for making this carbonara perfect for you!
- Tomatoes- If you aren’t a fan of tomatoes, then you could make this carbonara a not-tomato carbonara. I would recommend sticking to the sundried tomatoes as they’re necessary to imitate the bacon in carbonara, but the fresh tomatoes can be left out for a more ‘classic’ carbonara.
- Add ins- For if you cook this carbonara without the tomatoes, or just want to add some extra yumminess to this dish. Roast some small cubes of courgette in the oven, or fry off some sliced mushroom. These can be thrown in at the end along with or instead of the tomatoes.
- Gluten free- If you’re gluten free, replace the flour with tapioca starch or arrowroot starch as the thickening agent. There are plenty of gluten free pastas on the market these days, but if you don’t fancy any of these, try zucchini noodles!
- Egginess- As carbonara is normally made with eggs, it has a touch of eggy flavour to it. If you want to imitate this, you can add a couple of fine grinds of black salt to the sauce. You can read more on black salt here.
How long does the sauce keep?
If you want to keep the sauce and add the pasta another time, it will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. Just pour it back into a saucepan and warm it over a low-medium heat. If you want to keep it super quick, you can even microwave it on full power for 2.5 minutes, stirring halfway through. The sauce also freezes really well for up to 3 months. Defrost it at room temperature or in the fridge before heating it up.
More vegan pasta recipes!
- If you love pasta like me, try my creamy mushroom pasta.
- Vegan butternut squash ravioli is perfect for autumn and winter.
- For something slightly more summery and fresh, give this Mediterranean pasta salad a go- it’s perfect for meal prep too!
- This vegan zucchini pesto is delicious stirred through pasta and is a great way to use up a zucchini glut.
- Or if you feel like pasta but want something just a little bit lighter, you might like these eggplant cannelloni.
Creamy Vegan Tomato Spaghetti Carbonara
For the tomatoes
- 300 g baby plum tomatoes halved
- 2 cloves garlic crushed
- 15 g basil leaves whole, stalks chopped
- 1 tbsp olive oil
For the tomato 'bacon'
- 8 sundried tomatoes sliced
- 1.5 tsp liquid smoke
- 1 tsp soy sauce
- ¼ tsp smoked paprika
- 1 twist sea salt
For the pasta
- 150 g spaghetti
- 20 g vegan butter (or olive oil)
- 1 small onion diced
- 3 cloves garlic sliced
- 10 g flour
- 60 ml white wine
- ½ can canellini beans (120g)
- 150 ml vegetable stock
- 1 tsp white miso
- ¼ tsp liquid smoke
For the tomatoes and tomato 'bacon'
- On a lined baking tray, mix the baby plum tomatoes, garlic, basil leaves and stalks, and the olive oil. Season and roast in the oven for 20 minutes at 200°.
- On a separate small baking tray or dish, combine the chopped sundried tomatoes, liquid smoke, soy sauce, smoked paprika and salt. Mix these really well, rubbing the marinade into the tomatoes so that they’re evenly coated. Cook in the oven for 20 minutes at 200°.
For the pasta
- Meanwhile, set the spaghetti to cook according to pack instructions.
- In a bowl, combine the beans and stock and blend until smooth with an immersion blender. If you don’t have an immersion blender, this can also be done in a small bullet blender, or even a full sized blender.
- Next, heat the vegan butter over a medium heat in a large saucepan. Once melted, add the onion to the pan and fry for 5 minutes until golden.
- Add the flour, mix well, and then pour in the wine. Give it a good stir and simmer until it thickens, about 2 minutes. Pour in your cannellini bean cream, and stir until combined
- Add the miso and liquid smoke. Using an immersion blender, blend the sauce until smooth. If you don't have an immersion blender, transfer the sauce to an upright blender.
- Add the spaghetti, tomatoes, basil and garlic mix and the sundried tomatoes to the pan with the sauce, mix well, and season. Serve straight away.
Made this recipe?
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