Fried Shiitake Carbonara
This may be my favorite dish as of yet. I’m a huge fan of cream sauces over pasta, especially carbonara. Cashews make the best vegan creams, milks, and cheeses, so anyone in doubt of giving up dairy should try some cashew based products first. Carbonara is typically made with dairy cheese, egg, and bacon, but this version excludes that and relies on cashews to replace the dairy, and the mushrooms to replace the meat.
You can use Follow Your Heart brand vegan egg to add the egg flavor, but I find it tastes great with or without it. Unfortunately many of my cream sauces aren’t nut free but I’m working on making a good alternative for those who have nut allergies. Now, let’s talk about these superfood shiitake mushrooms and their incredible nutrient profile.
Shiitake mushrooms host an impressive array of benefits. They are extremely popular worldwide for their meaty texture and medicinal properties. Known for their anti-infectious, antimicrobial, cancer fighting, and immune boosting properties, they are high in B vitamins and contain 13 vitamins and minerals that are necessary for metabolism, skin, brain, energy, gut, immune, and bone health. These mushrooms are also high in protein, fiber, contain all 8 essential amino acids, and are low in calories. Many studies have been performed on their unique chemical components and phytonutrients showing that they help protect DNA against oxidative damage (especially from anti cancer treatments), are anti-viral, anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, help lower cholesterol build up in the cardiovascular system and the liver, reduce inflammation, and control blood sugar levels and appetite.
Use my vegan butter
recipe for this.
Fried Shiitake Carbonara
Yields: 2-3 servings
- 1 box pasta (linguini, fettuccine, or spaghetti)
- 1 cup fresh peas
- 2-3 boxes of shiitake mushrooms (4oz cartons) sliced or whole
- 1/2 cup tapioca flour
- 1/4 cup finished pasta water (from after straining pasta)
- 1/2 cup soaked raw cashews (soak overnight in 1 cup water, or for at least an hour)
- 1/2 cup vegan butter (use my recipe, link above), or olive oil
- 2-4 cloves grated garlic
- 1 cup unsweetened cashew or almond milk/ water/ or the leftover pasta water
- optional; 1 tbsp Follow Your Heart brand vegan egg powder
- handful of fresh basil
- salt and pepper
Start boiling the pasta water with a bit of salt and olive oil (linguini and long pasta tends to stick to eachother and the oil helps it not to).
Take the mushrooms and wash them. Cut them in halves or quarters. Next, dip and roll them in the tapioca flour generously and put them in an oiled cookie or brownie pan with a little bit of water on the bottom. Dash some salt and pepper on them. Broil for 10 minutes or until they are golden to brown and crispy.
Make the carbonara sauce while the pasta (stir it with a fork regularly so the strands don't stick) and mushrooms are going. Blend all ingredients (except for the basil) until it's a cream, add salt and pepper to taste, then add the basil last and pulse it or blend on low to medium for a few seconds so there are chunks and it's not a green whip.
Strain the pasta but leave the pasta water behind, add a tiny bit to a skillet with the finished al dente pasta and cream sauce and stir on low heat until it's all hot. Make sure you start small with the pasta water until you get the right consistency for the cream sauce. You can also add it to the carbonara in place of the nut milk and it will work great and get the sauce hot. Remove the skillet after a minute.
Add the fresh peas last and toss. Place the pasta in a bowl and top with a few mushrooms. Garnish with fresh basil and pepper and serve. Enjoy!
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