I have been trying out a vegan carbonara recipe for quite some time now, but each attempt has ended in a brown mush of a sauce. If you aren’t quite sure what goes into a non-vegan carbonara, it is usually eggs, cheese, bacon or pancetta, and peas. But it come out creamy, not eggy. So finding a balance in the vegan world without making it taste just like just cashew cream was a struggle. I even tried it with Kala Namak (“black salt” that has a similar sulfur content as eggs so it tastes very eggy) but no luck! It just wasn’t very tasty. Failed attempt after another, I finally got to yell I NAILED IT when I finished this recipe, so I’m so proud to bring it to you all. It goes really well with my easy vegan shiitake bacon recipe included here. Enjoy! (P.S. it can be gluten free just by subbing gluten free noodz).
Ingredients: (makes 2 servings of sauce)
For the noodles-
For thick sauces like this, I like to use a half and half combo of linguine noodles and extra thick spaghetti (or Bucatini). Get enough of each for one person and cook together.
For the bacun-
9 small/medium shiitake mushrooms, stems removed and sliced thin
2 tsp grapeseed oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp (or more for color) non-smoked paprika
1/8 tsp (a couple pinches) black pepper
1/8 tsp (couple pinches) smoked paprika
For the sauce-
1/3 cup + 1 tbsp raw cashews, soaked
1/4 cup raw macadamias, soaked
2/3 cup + 1/4 cup water
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tbsp lemon juice
2 1/2 tbsp nutritional yeast
big pinch white pepper
2 tbsp (separated) vegan butter (I prefer I can’t Believe It’s Not Butter Vegan or Miyoko’s Kitchen vegan butter)
1 large shallot, diced small (almost a mince)
2 large cloves garlic, minced
big pinch smoked paprika
1/3 cup vegan parmesan (I used Follow Your Heart)
1/3 cup green peas
salt and pepper
- Prep ingredients as needed. Set large pot of salted water to boil, soak nuts in warm water, and preheat the oven to 375*F.
- Add noodles to boil. Toss shiitakes in seasonings and oil and lay on a baking tray lined with parchment paper with none overlapping. Put into the oven and check every 5 minutes for 20-30 minutes, flipping once or twice through. They should come out crispy in the end! Let cool while you make the rest of the dish.
- In a pan over medium heat, melt 1 tbsp vegan butter. Add shallots to pan and sauté until softened and slightly brown (5-7 minutes). Reduce heat if needed so that they don’t burn. Add garlic for another 2 minutes. Stir in a big pinch of smoked paprika and another 1/2 tbsp vegan butter until melted and well mixed (this helps deglaze the pan). Take off heat while you blend the cream sauce.
- Blend the cashews, macadamias, water, salt, lemon juice, white pepper and nutritional yeast. It should be a bit watery and white since your are going to thicken it up later in the pan.
- Add the pan with the shallots back over medium/low heat. Melt another 1/2 tbsp vegan butter in the pan then immediately pour in the cream sauce, mixing with the shallots and butter to heat through and change the color a bit darker. Sprinkle with salt, black pepper, and stir in the vegan parmesan until melted. When sauce is almost completely melted, thickened and combined, stir in the green peas. Mix this with your noodles, then top with a good handful of the shiitake bacon and vegan parm, and parsley if you like. If the sauce gets too thick when you toss it with the pasta, mix it with a little bit of water. Enjoy!