Easy Vegan Spaghetti Carbonara with Mushroom Bacon
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Vegan Carbonara with King Oyster Mushroom Bacon

This Vegan Carbonara Spaghetti has a silky, umami sauce and smoky, chewy “bacon” made from king oyster mushrooms. It tastes like it’s loaded with egg and cheese but contains neither. Takes just 20 minutes to cook.
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 4
Author: Thomas

Ingredients

  • 8-12 ounces long pasta thick spaghetti or similar (230-340 grams)

King Oyster Mushroom Bacon

  • 8 ounces king oyster mushroom
  • 2 Tablespoons liquid smoke
  • 2 Tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons natural unsalted peanut butter
  • 4 Tablespoons maple syrup
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil

Sauce

  • 8 ounces soft silken tofu (230 grams)
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 cup sauerkraut brine
  • 2 teaspoons black salt aka kala namak
  • 1 Tablespoon white miso
  • 1/4 cup olive oil

Garnish/topping

  • 2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • Black pepper to taste
  • Vegan parmesan cheese

Instructions

Set the pasta water to boil

  • Cook the pasta according to the instructions but for 1 minute less than advised for al dente. You can work on the other steps while waiting for the water to boil. Drain and rinse the pasta with cold water when finished. Reserve 1 cup of the boiling water for later.

Prepare and marinate the mushrooms

  • Slice the king oyster into bite-sized pieces about 1/8 inch (3 millimeters) thick. Combine the liquid smoke, soy sauce, peanut butter, and maple syrup in a medium-sized bowl. Stir until well-combined. Add the sliced mushroom. Stir well to coat. Use a spoon to scoop marinade over the mushroom pieces periodically as they marinate for the next 10 minutes.

Blend the sauce

  • Combine all the ingredients for the sauce in a blender. Blend on medium until well-combined, 30 seconds or so. Don’t be alarmed if the sauce has a strong eggy aroma when you remove the lid. You can also use an immersion blender and glass for this step.

Cook the mushrooms

  • When the mushrooms have finished marinating, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When hot, add the mushrooms and all the marinade. Spread the mushrooms into a single layer.
  • Cook until all the liquid has evaporated and the mushrooms are browned, crispy, and cooked through, about 10 minutes. As you saute the mushrooms, use a pair of tongs or chopsticks to “wipe up” the crispy bits as if the mushrooms are tiny sponges. The goal is to coat the mushrooms in the crispy dried marinade.

Combine everything

  • Add the pasta and sauce to the skillet with the mushrooms. Stir to coat well. Cook until the pasta is heated through and al dente, 1-2 minutes. Add a few spoonfuls of the boiling water if the sauce becomes too thick.

Serve

  • Dish the pasta onto plates, taking care to distribute the mushrooms evenly among them. Garnish with a splash of lemon juice, a few grinds of black pepper, and shredded vegan parmesan. Enjoy immediately.

Notes

The amount of pasta you use depends on personal preference. Less pasta means a saucier dish.