09 July 2010

No Meat Zone Recipes: Vegan New Age Pasta Carbonara


New Age Vegan Pasta Carbonara

When you feel like something substantial but don’t have the time, try this quick and easy sauce. If you’re too rushed to make tempeh bacon, you can use diced smoked tofu, or your favorite brand of prepared “bacon.”


For the bacon:
  • one 8-ounce (225 g) package tempeh, cut into strips as thin as you can manage (I got about 15 strips from one package)
  • 3 Tbsp (45 ml) Bragg’s liquid aminos, tamari or soy sauce
  • juice of 1/2 lemon plus enough water to equal 1/3 cup (80 ml)
  • 1/4 tsp (1 ml) liquid smoke or 1/2 tsp (2.5 ml) smoked paprika
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 5-10 drops liquid stevia, to your taste (don’t overdo the sweetness in these)
  • 2 Tbsp (30 ml) extra virgin olive oil, preferably organic
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) water

For the pasta and sauce:
–enough of your favorite pasta for 4 servings, dry (I used brown rice penne)
  • 1 recipe of your favorite tempeh bacon (see above)
  • 2 Tbsp (30 ml) smooth natural cashew butter
  • 1 Tbsp (15 ml) white miso
  • 1 Tbsp (15 ml) tahini (sesame paste)
  • 1/4 tsp (1 ml) dijon mustard
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp (2. 5 ml) turmeric
  • pinch nutmeg
  • fine sea salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup soy or almond milk
  • 1 cup (240 ml) vegetable broth or stock
  • 2 Tbsp (30 ml) potato or arrowroot starch
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) fresh or frozen peas (no need to defrost if frozen)
  • 3 Tbsp (45 ml) chopped fresh parsley


Prepare the bacon: cut the tempeh into strips as thin as you can manage (I got 15 strips). In a large frying pan, mix together the remaining ingredients. Add the tempeh and turn each strip over a few times to coat it in the sauce.

Turn on heat to medium-low and cook the strips for about 5 minutes until the sauce has begun to evaporate and the bottoms are browned; turn the strips and continue to cook the other side, pushing the bacon back and forth occasionally to prevent sticking, until the liquid ingredients have been absorbed and the bacon is browned and crisp on the outside, another 5-10 minutes. If the liquid is absorbed too quickly, add a little more water, as needed. Turn off heat and set aside.

Prepare the pasta: Set your water boiling in a large pot. Cook the pasta according to package directions.

Meanwhile, prepare the sauce: In a medium pot, whisk together the cashew butter, miso, tahini, mustard, garlic, turmeric, nutmeg, salt and pepper until smooth. Very slowly, whisk in the almond milk, a little at a time, until the mixture is smooth and well combined. Add the vegetable broth and mix again.

Place the potato starch in a small bowl. Add about 1/3 cup (80 ml) of the liquid mixture and whisk until smooth; slowly add this to the liquid in the pot. Heat the mixture in the pot over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until it begins to bubble; cook for about a minute more, stirring constantly, until the mixture is thick and creamy. If the pasta isn’t yet ready, turn off the heat and cover the pot.

Once the pasta is ready, drain it and reserve about 1/2 cup (120 ml) pasta water. Add the pasta to the sauce pot along with the tempeh and peas and continue to cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until everything is warmed through, about 10 minutes. If the sauce becomes too dry during this time, add the reserved pasta water (if the sauce remains smooth and doesn’t dry out, you can discard the pasta water). Sprinkle with fresh parsley and serve. Makes 4 servings.

Submitted by Ricki Heller, PhD, RHN-- Author of Sweet Freedom: Desserts You'll Love without Wheat, Eggs, Dairy or Refined Sugar. Twitter: @RickiHeller Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Diet-Dessert-and-Dogs/124799880868208?ref=ts

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Photo Credit: Ricki Heller