This easy and deliciously creamy vegan carbonara recipe comes together in just 30-minutes for a satisfying meal any night of the week.

Two bowls of vegan carbonara pasta topped with pepper and chopped parsley in shallow bowls on a marble surface.

About the Recipe

There’s nothing better than pasta for pure comfort food and this vegan version of classic carbonara is no exception. It’s so creamy, flavourful and satisfying, you’re going to love it!

The recipe uses cashews to make the creamy carbonara sauce and features mushroom, garlic, smoked paprika, nutritional yeast, balsamic vinegar and soy sauce to add depth of flavour and complexity to the recipe.

You can make this carbonara recipe with linguine, fettucini, spaghetti or any other pasta shape you enjoy. The silky-smooth cream sauce clings perfectly to the pasta and the mushrooms, garlic and smokiness from the smoked paprika really bring it all together.

From date night to a quick weeknight meal, this pasta recipe suits any occasion. Try it with garlic bread, wine and vegan kale caesar salad for an outstanding meal that’s sure to be a hit.

For more reader-favourite pasta recipes, this Vegan Mushroom Bolognese and Creamy Vegan Sun Dried Tomato Pasta are also simple but elegant or this Vegan One Pot Pasta with Kale and Mushroom is great for meal prep or a quick meal to feed a crowd.

Alternatively, for a low-fat nut-free pasta recipe, this Roasted Red Pepper Pasta is lovely and this Red Lentil Pasta Sauce is a great way to amp up the nutrition of regular pasta sauce.

Ingredient Notes

All ingredients needed for making a vegan cabonara recipe in containers on a marble surface. Each ingredient is labelled with text.
  • Cashews: Use plain, raw cashews with no added oil or salt.
  • Almond Milk: You can use any plant-based milk but I’d suggest sticking to almond or cashew for their neutral flavour.
  • Nutritional Yeast: I recommend keeping this in the recipe for the cheesy flavor it adds. Nutritional yeast is common in well-stocked grocery stores or you can buy it online.
  • Smoked Paprika: Smoked paprika adds that smoky carbonara flavour to the recipe but if you only have regular paprika, that will be fine. Another option is to add a dash of liquid smoke to mimic the bacon flavour of traditional carbonara.
  • Linguini Pasta: Any variety of pasta or pasta shape works but I like wheat-based noodles like linguini or spaghetti best for this recipe. If you need the recipe to be gluten-free you can use your choice of gluten-free noodles such as brown rice or quinoa pasta.
  • Mushrooms: You can use cremini or white button mushrooms in this recipe or go a little fancier and use wild mushrooms or shiitake mushrooms.
  • Soy Sauce: Any variety works here but if you need a gluten-free recipe be sure to substitute gluten-free tamari or coconut aminos.
  • Balsamic Vinegar: White vinegar or red or white wine vinegar will work as a substitute.

Please scroll down to the bottom of the post to find the recipe card complete ingredient list with measurements.

Additions & Serving

  • I didn’t use them in the final recipe but you can experiment with miso paste and liquid smoke to add more umami flavour that would replicate the taste of the traditional version of carbonara.
  • You can use black salt or kala namak to replicate the eggy flavor of real carbonara. I’d start with 1/2 tsp if you haven’t used it before as its flavour is quite strong. If you’re using kala namak, omit the regular salt.
  • If you want to add bacon, try serving with your choice of vegan bacon such as the coconut bacon from this Vegan Cobb Salad Recipe, tofu bacon, smoked tofu or the tempeh bacon from this Warm Potato Salad Recipe.
  • This vegan parmesan cheese is delicious for serving on your carbonara.

Step-by-Step Instructions

Cashews soaking in water in a glass bowl.

Step 1: Quick soak the cashews by covering with boiling water in a bowl and soaking for 10 minutes. While you wait, chop the mushrooms and start boiling a large pot of water to make the pasta.

Blended cashew cream in a large blender container.

Step 2: Blend the vegan carbonara sauce by blending the soaked cashews with milk, garlic, nutritional yeast, smoked paprika, salt, lemon juice, lemon zest and pepper until smooth.

Step 3: Cook the linguine al dente according to the pacakage instructions. Once the pasta is ready, drain and set aside.

Don’t Forget: Before you drain the pasta, scoop off two cups of the cooking water and set aside for later.

Chopped mushrooms cooking in a saucepan.

Step 4: Heat the oil in a large saucepan or skillet and then cook the mushrooms for 6-7 minutes until they release their liquid and most of it evaporates.

Add the soy sauce and balsamic vinegar and cook for another minute.

Creamy carbonara linguine with mushrooms in a large skillet with a wooden spoon.

Step 5: Add the carbonara sauce, stir well, then add the cooked pasta.

Slowly start adding the reserved pasta 1/4 cup at a time, stirring as you go, until you reach a thick, creamy consistency. You’ll likely add the entire 2 cups.

Finally, stir in the chopped fresh parsley, if using and serve your carbonara with fresh cracked black pepper.

Creamy vegan carbonara pasta with fresh parsley in a large skillet sitting on a cutting board.

Recipe FAQs

Can I make gluten-free carbonara?

To make gluten-free carbonara, use your choice of gluten-free pasta noodles and substitute tamari or coconut aminos for the soy sauce.

Can I use spaghetti instead of linguini?

Sure spaghetti and linguine both work well for carbonara but you can also use any pasta you like or have on hand, such as penne, farfalle, fetuccini or rotini.

Can I make oil-free vegan cabonara?

To make this recipe oil-free, use water instead of oil to saute the mushrooms.

Can I use soy milk or oat milk?

You can but I’d suggest sticking to almond milk or cashew milk or even just using water. Soy milk and oat milk are ok to use but I find their flavours really come through in the sauce. If you don’t mind that, go for it.

Whichever kind of plant-based milk you use, just be sure it’s unsweetened.

How long does vegan carbonara last?

The pasta is best and creamiest served fresh, though it’s ok to store in the fridge for up to 4 days.
Reheat the pasta in a pan on the stovetop or in the microwave until heated through

It still tastes great after storing but it does thicken considerably so you may consider stirring in a bit of water, broth or almond milk to help loosen it up.

Can I make vegan carbonara in advance?

You can though I would recommend making the pasta and combining the sauce and pasta just before serving, however, the cashews can be soaked overnight and the cashew cream sauce can be made in advance and stored in the fridge for 1-2 days until use.

Fork lifting a long thread of twirled vegan carbonara pasta from a shallow bowl of pasta.

Expert Tips

  • The recipe can be halved if you only need a few servings and prefer to enjoy it fresh rather than store leftovers.
  • To save time, the cashews can be soaked in advance up to 12 hours.
  • Don’t forget to heavily salt your pasta cooking water.

Did you try this recipe? I’d love to hear about it! Scroll down to the comment section to leave a star rating and review.

Did you try this recipe? I’d love to hear about it! Scroll down to the comment section to leave a star rating and review.

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Two bowls of vegan carbonara pasta topped with pepper and chopped parsley in shallow bowls on a marble surface.

Creamy Vegan Cabonara

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 3 reviews
  • Author: Deryn Macey
  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Cook Time: 15 mins
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 6
  • Category: Pasta
  • Cuisine: Italian
  • Diet: Vegan
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This creamy vegan pasta carbonara is deliciously satisfying and comes together in just 30 minutes for an outstanding meal any night of the week.


For the Carbonara Sauce

  • 1 cup raw cashews (125 g) 
  • 1 cup boiling water (125 ml) 
  • 1 cup almond milk, unsweetened (250 g) 
  • 4 cloves fresh garlic (20 g) 
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast (10 g)
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp salt 
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice 
  • 1 tbsp lemon zest
  • 1 tsp fresh cracked black pepper, or more to taste

For the Pasta & Mushrooms

  • 450 g linguini pasta (or other pasta of choice)
  • 2 tsp olive oil (10 ml)
  • 2 cups white or brown mushrooms, chopped (250 g) 
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce (15 ml)
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar (15 ml)
  • ¼ cup chopped parsley, optional for serving


  1. Soak Cashews: Place raw cashews in a medium sized bowl, and cover with 1 cup of boiling water. Let the cashews soak for 10 minutes. While the cashews are soaking, chop up the mushrooms and start bringing a large pot of water to a boil on the stovetop to cook the pasta.
  2. Blend Carbonara Sauce: Once soaked, place nuts and water into a blender and add almond milk, cover with lid and blend on medium high for 1-2 minutes. Once cashews are smooth, add the garlic, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, lemon zest, smoked paprika, salt and pepper. Cover with lid and blend until completely smooth and combined, approximately 1 minute. Once the sauce is smooth, set aside for later. 
  3. Cook Pasta: Cook linguine pasta according to package instructions. Once the pasta is cooked, reserve 2 cups of the pasta water for later use before draining. Drain the pasta and set aside.
  4. Heat Oil: Once the pasta is cooking, heat 2 tsp oil over medium-high heat in a large non-stick pan.
  5. Cook Mushrooms: When the pan is hot add the chopped mushrooms and cook for 5 minutes. The mushrooms will release a small amount of water while they are cooking. Continue to cook until all that liquid has been absorbed, stirring occasionally.
  6. Add Vinegar and Soy Sauce: Once mushrooms are cooked add both soy sauce and balsamic vinegar to the pan. Cook for an additional 1 minute, stiring often.
  7. Mix Pasta: When mushrooms are cooked and the pasta is drained, add the ‘carbonara sauce’ to the mushrooms, mix together until fully incorporated. Add your cooked pasta and mix thoroughly, adding the reserved pasta water ¼ cup at a time until you have reached a creamy texture. You will likely add the full 2 cups.
  8. Serve: Fold in chopped parsley if desired and divide evenly into bowls and enjoy! 


The pasta stores well in the fridge for up to 4 days but will thicken and stiffen considerable. It will loosen after reheating but won’t be as creamy as when it’s fresh. If will still taste good after storing, but you can stir in a little water, broth or almond milk to help loosen it up a bit, if desired.

The recipe can be halved if you only need a few servings and prefer to enjoy it freshly made rather than store leftovers.


  • Serving Size: 1/6th of recipe
  • Calories: 430
  • Sugar: 4 g
  • Sodium: 502 mg
  • Fat: 12 g
  • Carbohydrates: 65 g
  • Fiber: 4 g
  • Protein: 16 g