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Pasta Carbonara with Mushroom Bacon

Pasta Carbonara was a staple when visiting my dad growing up. As a chef, he always had a story to tell about his food. He’d tell me about the flecks of pepper being reminiscent of the coal dust for Italian miners and how they sold it for an exorbitant amount a plate at his restaurant, but that it was peasant food. There was part of me that thought it was just a story. He was good at those. Years later though, the internet seemed to back him up on this one. As I got older I’d make vegetarian versions of it, and slowly forgot about pasta carbonara entirely.

Lately, however, I’ve seen a recipe going around with zucchini as a base and while I’m sure it’s delicious, it just didn’t seem right to me. I’ve created this version with tofu, miso, lactic acid, soaked raw cashews, and a decent amount of oil. It’s important to me to dishes as closely as I can. To keep the heart of the dish the same. Pasta Carbonara was a dish very dear to me, and I’m so pleased to be able to pass that on to my son.

I buy lactic acid from Amazon, but according to Serious Eats some sauerkraut brine would work as well.

Pasta Carbonara with Mushroom Bacon, a creamy vegan take on the Italian classic

Pasta Carbonara with Mushroom Bacon Recipe

Pasta Carbonara with Mushroom Bacon

Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian


  • 1 pound spaghetti

Egg & Cheese Mixture

  • 2/3 c tofu
  • 1/2 c soaked drained cashews
  • 1 tsp lactic acid
  • 1/2 tsp reduced sodium red miso
  • 1/4 c nutritional yeast
  • Pinch turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp iodized salt omit if not using reduced sodium miso
  • 1/4 c oil

Mushroom Bacon

  • 8 white mushrooms
  • splash soy sauce
  • pinch salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 tsp molasses or maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp canola oil

To Finish, optional

  • 1/3 c oil
  • 1/3 c soymilk
  • fresh cracked pepper a generous amount


  1. boil pasta

Mushroom Bacon

  1. slice mushrooms, and heat a cast iron skillet on medium high heat. Add oil, then add mushrooms. Season, stir, and turn down heat a bit and stir occasionally. The goal is to dry them out as much as possible without burning them.

Egg & Cheese Mixture

  1. Add all ingredients to a blender cup. Process until smooth. 


  1. Once the pasta has boiled, drain, and return to the pot. Stir in the egg & cheese mixture. I find a rubber spatula is helpful to get as much out as possible. Mix on low heat until it soaks in a bit. Turn off heat. Season generously with pepper, salt if needed, and if desired, add the soymilk and additional oil. Twirl onto a plate with tongs and top with mushroom bacon. Enjoy!

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