This vegan pasta carbonara recipe is the perfect dish to make on your next Italian night. With crispy shiitake bacon and fresh parsley, this creamy pasta is full of flavor.
Pasta carbonara originates in Rome where eggs, butter, and cheese are the key ingredients of the dish. Pasta carbonara is typically made with spaghetti or fettuccine noodles and topped with Parmesan cheese and cancer-linked bacon. One serving of the heavy dish typically has about 35 grams or more of fat and more than 800 calories, depending on the ingredients used.
This vegan version of pasta carbonara made with gluten-free noodles is far lighter and won’t leave you feeling heavy, either. Instead, it’s made with a light cashew cream sauce, mushroom-based bacon, and fresh herbs.
Shiitake bacon is a wonderful substitute for real bacon and provides a smoky flavor with a crispy texture to this creamy pasta. Plus, shiitake mushrooms have a number of health benefits!
Shiitake mushrooms are a great source of copper, pantothenic acid, selenium, vitamins B2, B3, B6, zinc, and manganese. Shiitakes are known for providing support to the immune system and more recently, the cardiovascular system.
While there are quite a few shiitake bacon recipes out there, this one has a secret trick. The shiitakes are cooked over medium-high heat with just a tiny bit of oil. Other shiitake bacon recipes call for the mushrooms to be marinated or coated in oil first which actually prevents them from crisping.
Feel free to make this pasta carbonara recipe closer to the traditional version by adding a sprinkle of vegan parmesan cheese.
- 16 ounces gluten-free fettuccine or spaghetti noodles
- ½ cup cashews, soaked for at least 8 hours
- ¾ cup unsweetened almond milk
- ½ lemon, juiced
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- 7 ounces shiitake mushrooms, rinsed and patted dry
- 1-2 teaspoons safflower oil
- 1 teaspoon tamari
- 1 teaspoon pure maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons parsley
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add noodles and cook according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
- Heat one teaspoon safflower oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet. Add shiitake mushrooms in an even layer. Cook for about 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally. If they begin to stick to the pan, add another teaspoon of oil.
- Once shiitakes are crispy and golden brown, reduce heat to low. Add tamari and maple syrup and toss until evenly coated. Remove from heat.
- Meanwhile, add cashews, almond milk, lemon juice, and sea salt to a high-speed blender. Blend for about two minutes, until completely smooth.
- Toss noodles with cashew cream and shiitake bacon. Top with fresh parsley and a sprinkle of vegan parmesan cheese if desired. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Enjoy!
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Images via Karissa Bowers