Healthy Pasta Carbonara

Being half Sicilian I LOVE my pasta.  Now that I am eating better I am limiting my carb intake, which means that when I want to have pasta I want it to really be good - not only tastewise but healthwise too.  I was so excited when I came across this recipe on BAKEANDDESTROY.NET. That website is one of my favorites for finding delicious recipes.

I immediately made plans to have this be the entree for  our  Valentine’s Day dinner even though my husband is a total omnivore.  It was so delicious he had absolutely no complaints and said he would eat that anytime I wanted to make it.  Poor man, little did he know he would be eating that three times over the next three weeks!!

This recipe works as it replaces the bacon with “bacon” made out of mushrooms.  It calls for shiitake mushrooms, which are pretty expensive.  I used them the first two times and they were wonderful but when my son suggested we try a cheaper alternative - cremini (aka baby bella) mushrooms I thought why not?  I had nothing to lose and everything to gain.  As it turned out they worked perfectly!

The other part of this recipe I love is the sauce.  It is the first vegan “alfredo type” of sauce that I have found that does not use cashews as its base (which can be expensive and calorie dense too).  The sauce is extremely easy to make and turns out beautifully creamy and smooth.

Give this a try and let me know how you liked it! Remember - Whatever you’re in the mood for - I’ve got ya covered!!!


Pasta Carbonara with Mushroom Bacon

_Slightly adapted from:_

BakeandDestroy – Vegan Pasta Carbonara with Skiitake bacon:

1 pound cremini (aka baby bella) mushrooms

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

1 ¼ teaspoon sea or Himalayan salt (I use Himalayan salt because I love all the nutrients in it)

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

Stem and slice the mushrooms as thin as possible.  Toss them in a bowl with the remaining ingredients and turn them out onto a rimmed baking sheet.  Do not be worried if they look too crowded on the baking sheet, they will shrink as they roast.  Place in the oven and bake for about 50 minutes, stirring often.  The cremini mushrooms will give off a lot of water as they begin to bake, but do not worry, as the process continues the water will evaporate and the mushrooms will cook down.  Watch them carefully as you get towards the end of the time so you don’t burn them – they made need a little more or a little less time depending upon your oven.  Stir them and every now and then grab one and eat it.  You are checking to see if they are getting a little bit crunchy but are still a little bit chewy – like bacon.

Once done, remove from the oven and put them onto a small plate or bowl for serving.

While the mushrooms are baking, put a large pot of water on for your pasta and bring to a boil.

1 pound of whole wheat spaghetti or any type of pasta you prefer.  We have made this with spaghetti and penne and both worked wonderfully.

About 10 minutes before the mushrooms are done start cooking the pasta according to the directions and <strong>SAVE </strong>a cup of the pasta water when you drain it!

While the pasta is cooking make the carbonara sauce.

Carbonara Sauce:

1 large onion chopped

3 cloves of garlic, pressed through a garlic press or minced

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 x 14 oz package of soft tofu

½ cup water

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

2 ½ teaspoons Himalayan or sea salt

Freshly ground black pepper (optional)

Fresh Italian (flat leaf) parsley, chopped for garnish if desired

In a small skillet, heat the olive oil and sauté the onions over medium low heat until translucent and soft.  Add the garlic and sauté for 30 seconds to a minute longer.

Place the onions and all the rest of the ingredients through the pepper (if using) in a blender and blend away.  In a minute or two it will be nice and thick and creamy.  Set aside until the pasta is done.

Once you have drained the pasta (<strong>DON’T FORGET TO SAVE A CUP OF THE PASTA WATER!</strong>), return it to the pot and pour the carbonara sauce over it.  Mix well, put the lid back on the pot and let it sit for 5 minutes.  Remove the lid and check the pasta – if the sauce is too thick, you can thin it out with some of the reserved pasta water.  Serve . garnishing with the parsley if desired and passing the “bacon” around for people to put on top of their pasta.