This vegan carbonara with ‘bacon’ made from oyster mushrooms is pure comfort food deliciousness! You need just 15 minutes to make this creamy dairy-free pasta dish from start to finish, serving with the crispy plant based ‘bacon’. You’ll go back for seconds for sure!

Vegan carbonara with mushroom 'bacon'

One thing that instantly boosts my mood? Pasta. Especially with a rich, creamy sauce, it’s one of my favourite things to cook and inhale within 30 seconds. Especially on a busy day, I may only have 15-20 minutes to spend in the kitchen, but that definitely doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy a bowl of comforting yumminess for dinner!

Yep, gone are my early student days of eating plain chickpeas and unseasoned avocado on toast. These days, I’m all about meals like this vegan carbonara. It tastes gourmet, but definitely does not call for that level of effort!

Closeup of a bowl of dairy-free Cabonara with vegetables

Why you need to make this vegan carbonara

Firstly, I will say that this will taste different to authentic carbonara, which is made with eggs and lots of dairy. But the vegan version is still incredible and has all the qualities one looks for in a plant based pasta dinner.

Plate of vegan pasta in a bowl

The sauce is ridiculously simple. The main ingredient is plant based milk, with just a few other ingredients required to create a creamy, smooth texture. The taste is ‘eggy’ and ‘cheesy’, with just the right amount of intensity.

Bowl of vegan pasta with a dairy-free sauce

You can serve it with any pasta of your choice. I usually opt for spaghetti when make vegan carbonara, but any pasta shape will work. Oh, and to make matter even better, you need around 15 minutes to make the whole dish! Yes please to quick and wholesome comfort food.

Vegan oyster mushroom ‘bacon’

Traditional carbonara is made with pancetta. For the plant based version, I added ‘bacon’ made from oyster mushrooms, which are a great ingredient given their ‘meaty’ texture.

You need just a few ingredients for mushroom bacon that’s crispy, chewy, and with a great umami flavour. It works so well with the carbonara sauce, adding texture and making it more similar to the original dish.

Ingredients and substitutions

Ingredients for vegan carbonara
  • Oyster mushrooms. You can also use shiitake mushrooms.
  • Cumin and paprika for seasoning the oyster mushrooms.
  • Vegan Worcestershire sauce. This will help the flavour become more smoky.
  • Maple syrup. Just a small amount adds a great hint of sweetness.
  • Tamari. You can also use soy sauce or liquid aminos.
  • Pasta of your choice. Use gluten-free if necessary.
  • Olive oil for cooking the vegetables.
  • Onion.
  • Garlic.
  • Carrots.
  • Plant based milk. You can use any type of plant milk. If you want an even creamier sauce, use coconut milk from a can.
  • Apple cider vinegar.
  • Nutritional yeast. This is a key ingredient for adding a cheesy flavour.
  • Tapioca flour. This is what helps the sauce thicken. You can also use cornstarch.
  • Salt and pepper.
Dairy-free carbonara with vegan mushroom 'bacon'

How to make vegan carbonara with mushroom bacon

Start by preheating the oven to 180 degrees C (350 F) and line a baking tray with parchment paper.

Add the oyster mushrooms to a mixing bowl together with the cumin, paprika, Worcestershire sauce, maple syrup and tamari. Mix together, then transfer to the baking tray and bake for 10 minutes, until crispy.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to packaging instructions, until al dente.

At the same time, heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over a medium-high heat and add the onion, garlic and carrots. Cook for 5 minutes, until softened.

Now add the plant based milk, apple cider vinegar, nutritional yeast, and tapioca flour. Cook and stir over a low-medium heat for around 4-5 minutes more, until the sauce begins to thicken.

Bowl of dairy-free vegan carbonara

Drain the pasta when ready (but don’t rinse it) and transfer to the pan with the sauce, followed by the mushroom bacon. Toss together, seasoning with salt and pepper. Serve when all the pasta is thoroughly coated in the sauce.

Frequently-asked questions

Closeup of vegan carbonara in a bowl
How can I make this dish gluten-free?

You can easily make this dairy-free carbonara gluten-free by using gluten-free pasta.

What does vegan carbonara taste like?

Vegan carbonara has a great savoury flavour, with a hint of cheesiness and umami.

What else can I add to this dish?

While sautéing the onion and carrots, you can add any other vegetables of your choice – for instance, zucchini and bell peppers.

Can I make carbonara ahead of time?

This dish is best eaten straight away, but you can keep it in the fridge in an airtight container for 2-3 days and reheat in the microwave, or on the stove, adding a little bit more plant based milk.

Other delicious vegan pasta recipes

Vegan carbonara with mushroom 'bacon'

Let me know in the comments: what’s your favourite pasta sauce? If you give this vegan carbonara recipe a go, be sure to tag me on Instagram (@earthofmariaa) so I can see your creations, and leave your feedback in the comments below together with a star rating!

Vegan carbonara with mushroom 'bacon'

Get the Recipe: Vegan Carbonara With Mushroom ‘Bacon’

This vegan carbonara with crispy 'bacon' made from oyster mushrooms is incredibly delicious, creamy, and great for a weeknight dinner. You need just simple ingredients and 15 minutes to make this meal from start to finish!

Ingredients

For the carbonara

  • 10 oz spaghetti, or any other pasta of your choice (gluten-free if necessary)1/2
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and diced
  • 1 1/2 cups plant based milk
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1/4 cup tapioca flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt, or to taste
  • 1/2 tsp pepper, or taste

For the oyster mushroom 'bacon'

  • 5 oz oyster mushrooms
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce, ensure vegan
  • 1/2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp tamari

Equipment

  • Conventional oven
  • Baking tray
  • Mixing bowl
  • Saucepan
  • Frying pan

Instructions 

  • Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C (350 F) and line a baking tray with parchment paper.
  • Add the oyster mushrooms to a mixing bowl together with the cumin, paprika, Worcestershire sauce, maple syrup and tamari. Mix together, then transfer to the baking tray and bake for 10 minutes, until crispy.
  • Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to packaging instructions, until al dente.
  • At the same time, heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over a medium-high heat and add the onion, garlic and carrots. Cook for 5 minutes, until softened.
  • Now add the plant based milk, apple cider vinegar, nutritional yeast, and tapioca flour. Cook and stir over a low-medium heat for around 4-5 minutes more, until the sauce begins to thicken.
  • Drain the pasta when ready (but don't rinse it) and transfer to the pan with the sauce, followed by the mushroom bacon. Toss together, seasoning with salt and pepper. Serve when all the pasta is thoroughly coated in the sauce.

Video

Notes

  • You can easily make this dairy-free carbonara gluten-free by using gluten-free pasta.
  • While sautéing the onion and carrots, you can add any other vegetables of your choice – for instance, zucchini and bell peppers.
  • This dish is best eaten straight away, but you can keep it in the fridge in an airtight container for 2-3 days and reheat in the microwave, or on the stove, adding a little bit more plant based milk.
Calories: 390kcal, Carbohydrates: 71g, Protein: 13g, Fat: 6g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Sodium: 704mg, Potassium: 519mg, Fiber: 5g, Sugar: 7g, Vitamin A: 3154IU, Vitamin C: 4mg, Calcium: 153mg, Iron: 2mg
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Vegan carbonara with mushroom 'bacon'