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26 July 2015

Ultimate Vegan Carbonara

Ultimate Vegan Carbonara
Today marks two years since I first started this blog, I've come a long way since then, turning from vegetarian to vegan, hitting 50,000 all time views, 10,000 monthly views for the first time, figuring out basic coding, getting my first DSLR, and learning all about the art of food photography and I'm still learning every day. So to celebrate my blog turning two I thought I'd make one of my favourite recipes that I've ever created, but one I've never got around to photographing properly. 

Ultimate Vegan Carbonara
This recipe is for vegan carbonara, for which I use cashew cream as a base, the flavours are so authentic it's hard to believe that it's vegan and if I were going to cook for any non-vegan and be sure to impress them, this would be the meal I'd choose. Previously I used smoked soya cheese for this dish and whilst it was amazing then, I replaced that with violife parmesan which is quickly becoming my favourite thing ever. The rich parmesan, combined with the cashew cream, onion, garlic and smoked paprika makes the most amazing carbonara sauce that you can't believe wasn't made with a base of eggs - the sauce is silky, rich and truly incredible; all served up tossed through linguine with maple smoked vegan bacon and topped with another shaving of parmesan.
Ultimate Vegan Carbonara
When I first made this recipe it was with one of my friends and we already had all the ingredients on hand between us, meaning it didn't cost too much; the initial outlay for all of the components can be a bit pricey, but once you've bought the ingredients, you'll have enough left to make it for a second time and per portion it doesn't work out to be too expensive. If you can't get hold of the parmesan or if it isn't available in your country, then go for the richest and strongest dairy free cheese you can find - a smoked flavour one for example. 

Ultimate Vegan Carbonara
This carbonara is the perfect example of how vegan food doesn't mean just salad or that you have to miss out on anything through choosing a cruelty free lifestyle. I added mushrooms and tender stem broccoli to this version; growing up my favourite carbonara and/or dish ever was served at Legoland, it had mushrooms and broccoli in and was the most incredible thing I had ever tasted, in my opinion no other carbonaras I ever ordered or attempted to make came close to this, and all these years later I can  still remember the distinct flavour - this veganised recipe is so incredibly similar to that version from my childhood that it's no wonder I love this dish so much! As always pasta is best served immediately after cooking, so make up and serve straight away!

Ultimate Vegan Carbonara | Serves: 4 | Time: 25 mins

You'll need:

  • Large Saucepan
  • Large frying pan
  • Griddle pan/ non stick frying pan
  • Colander
  • Chopping Board
  • Knife
  • Fine grater
  • High speed blender/ food processor


Ingredients:

  • 1 medium red onion
  • 2 large garlic cloves
  • 250g chestnut mushrooms
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 cup cashew nuts
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup finely grated violife parmesan (~40g)
  • 4 rashers vegan bacon (I used VBites cheatin' maple bacon)
  • 300g linguine 
  • 200g tenderstem broccoli
  • 1 tsp dried/fresh parsley to garnish
  • Salt and pepper


Method:

  1. Add the bacon to a griddle pan on a medium heat and cook until crispy - turning after 5 mins.
  2. Dice the onion and add to a large frying pan on a medium heat with a splash of oil, saute for 5 minutes until it starts to soften, then mince the garlic and add this to the pan. Slice the mushrooms and also add these, along with the paprika and a pinch of salt. 
  3. Bring a large pan of lightly salted water to the boil and add the linguine, after 5 minutes add the tenderstem broccoli and boil for another 5. Add 1/4 cup of the cooking water to the frying pan and then drain the linguine and broccoli.
  4. Meanwhile, make the cashew cream by blitzing up 1/2 cup cashew nuts and 1 cup of water until silky smooth, after the mushrooms have cooked down slightly add the cream to the pan and stir around. Using a fine grater, grate 1/2 cup of the parmesan and stir through the sauce, then reduce the heat to low. Cut the bacon into 1cm cubes and also add this to the sauce, along with the linguine and broccoli, toss together well. Serve up immediately, garnish with a grating of parmesan, a pinch of parsley and a good amount of freshly cracked black pepper and enjoy! 
Cassidy xx


Ultimate Vegan Carbonara