Vegan Carbonara with Tofu Pancetta
Updated: Jan 26, 2021
This decadently delicious carbonara is easy to make and packed full of flavor. It starts with a creamy cashew sauce over whole grain spaghetti, then topped with sautéed mushroom, peas, and homemade smoky tofu pancetta. If you want smoky bits that are more crispy, you can sub for my coconut bacon or skip making it all together and just buy your preferred brand from the store. This is the perfect meal to impress your non-vegan friends or on a busy weeknight when you need something hearty and nutritious.
12-16 oz pasta of your choice
8 oz of crimini mushrooms - sliced
frozen peas - about a half a bag
1/2 c raw cashews - soaked overnight or in hot water for an hour
3/4-1 c non-dairy milk
1/4 c nutritional yeast
1 t Dijon
1/2 lemon - juiced
1 t vegan Worcestershire sauce
1/2 t Black Salt
1/2 t onion powder
1/2 t garlic powder
1/4 t smoked paprika
1/4 t turmeric (optional, just for color)
Tofu Pancetta (or you can sub for my coconut "bacon" from the Wedge Salad Recipe)
1/2 piece of extra firm tofu - drained of excess water
1 t cornstarch
1 T low-sodium tamari
1 T coconut aminos
1/2 t liquid smoke
1 t maple syrup
1 t apple cider vinegar
1 t olive oil
1/4 t smoked paprika
Pinch of salt and fresh cracked pepper
Start by preparing the tofu pancetta. Remove the tofu from the package and cut it in half. Take one half and wrap it in paper towels, put it on a plate with something heavy on top of it, and set aside for about 15 minutes to gravity do all the work at removing the excess liquid.
Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Combine the marinade in a zip lock bag. When the tofu is ready, cut it into small bits and put into ziplock bag to marinate for about 15 minutes. Spread bits on a baking sheet and spray lightly with oil. (optional). Cook for 30 about minutes until browned and slightly crispy, flipping over half way.
Heat a large pot of water and cook the pasta according to package. While pasta is cooking, prepare the sauce.
Add the sauce ingredients to a high speed blender and mix until creamy and smooth.
In a non-stick pan on medium, sauté the mushrooms until liquid removed and they start to dry again. Add in the peas and cook until just thawed, then pour in the sauce ingredients and simmer on low until the pasta is ready.
When the pasta is ready, add 1/2 - 1 ladle of the pasta water to the sauce and stir. Remove from heat and add the pasta, reserving some of the water. Add the cooked pancetta, tossing to combine.
Top with fresh parsley (optional) and serve immediately.
As it sits, it will continue to thicken, so you may need to thin it out a bit by adding more pasta water or non-dairy milk.