This is very reminiscent of traditional Carbonara but you've got to try it for yourself. Rich, Carbonara-y goodness comin’ at ya. You will be in a hurry and itching to taste it. The squash is really what takes the longest in this recipe. It is SO worth it. The creamy goodness will melt your problems away.
Creamy Veggie Carbonara With Shiitake Bacon [Vegan, Grain-Free]
For the Shiitake Bacon:
- 10-12 large Shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced and destemmed
- 4-5 teaspoons coconut aminos
- 1/2 tablespoon avocado oil
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
For the Cheesy Sauce:
- 1 cup cashews
- 1/2 small butternut squash (or medium zucchini)
- 1 tablespoon coconut aminos
- 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
- 2 shallots
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional, for a nice spicy kick)
- 1/2 cup cashew milk, or more as necessary (almond milk works too)
- Juice of one lemon
- Salt, to taste (1 teaspoon should suffice)
- Black pepper, to taste
For the Pasta:
- 1 pound spaghetti, gluten or grain-free if necessary
- 4 large handfuls spinach
- Remaining 1/2 of squash
- Fresh parsley, chopped, to garnish
- Start by peeling the butternut squash. Cube the inside, and then set the butternut squash in a steaming basket, and steam for about 15-20 minutes, or until soft.
- Whilst the squash steams, begin boiling water for the noodles in a large pot. Cook as per the package instructions. When finished, transfer the noodles to a colander.
- Meanwhile, sweat the shallots on medium-low heat until translucent. If they begin to stick, add a little bit of veggie broth or coconut oil to the pan. Once they are done, remove from heat and add to a high-speed blender.
- Once the butternut finishes steaming, add it to the blender, along with all the other Carbonara sauce ingredients, and blend on high until a creamy, thick consistency is achieved. You may need to add more almond milk as needed. Set aside.
- Marinate the sliced mushrooms in the coconut aminos, black pepper, and smoked paprika for about 15 minutes or so. Heat a medium-sized pan and add the oil once hot, followed by the marinated mushrooms. Cook for about 10-12 minutes or until dry. De-glaze with the apple cider vinegar, give the mushrooms a shake, and then turn off the heat. Leave them in the pan for a few moments and set this aside.
- Pre-heat a large skillet and add the sauce once it is warm, along with the spinach and remaining butternut cubes. Cook for about 4 or 5 minutes, stirring all the while. The sauce should thicken slightly, and once a nice, creamy, thick texture is achieved, add the noodles and stir until the noodles are well-coated.
- Garnish with the parsley and shiitakes. Nom your way into nirvana.