Creamy Carbonara with Smoked Carrot ‘Bacon’ by Catherine Atkinson

Photo by Polina Tankilevitch on Pexels.com

Christ is risen!

Who doesn’t love a good pasta dish? One so good you are transported to Italia! I love a good pasta; it is rare to find me eating a tomato based sauce. If you do, its because the marinara sauce is divine. Choosing the wrong tomatoes can mess up a sauce that is so simple to make. You can’t go wrong with a creamy sauce. EVER. I have found an amazing carbonara sauce recipe. I love creamy things — from creamy soups to sauces. I used to make Alfredo sauce in my university days. Every Friday night I had a ritual to make linguini with Alfredo or salmon with rosemary (foraged in SF!!) and lemon (back in my fish eating days). I can see myself making this sauce as an alternative to Alfredo sauce. My favorite home made Alfredo recipe that is super easy, delicious and healthy (I know, it’s the whole package of amazingness and sounds too good to be true… but boy, is it delicious!) The thing is. It can be time consuming. I make it from cauliflower as per instructions. This carbonara sauce just requires some silken tofu, milk, and spices. Simple. Easy. Healthy. Another wholesome package of a perfect meal. In a matter of weeks, I will be helping out at our local church for the election and enthronement of the new Metropolitan for the ROCOR church. This is one of the recipes I plan to make because it is easy to make for a large crowds without breaking my bank account and most importantly my back!

Thank you Catherine for sharing this deliciously creative recipe! It is a distinctive delight that is heavenly!

Carrot Bacon

Yes, carrot bacon. Strange, right? But DELICIOUS! Now before anyone goes hating and nay saying on carrot bacon… I used to eat bacon. So I know. I know everything what you are about to say. If I may… Just hear me out please for a moment before you type. This carrot ‘bacon’ is simply an alternative. It is quite creative and really delicious. I eat vegetables and I was surprised myself! 🥔 Potatoes, in my opinion, are the ultimate awesome vegetable because you can turn it into so many things like fries, mash, VODKA. But carrots? 🥕 Not much. If you need to eat more veggies or need to get your kids to eat veggies, this is a great sneaky way to get your nutrients from carrots. They are an amazing source for vitamin A and beta-carotene (these are great for your skin and body). The umami flavor from the tahini, liquid smoke and maple syrup is mmm-mmmm. It really pairs well with this recipe. Aside from this pasta dish, it would pair well with grain and salad dishes as a garnish (or side dish 😉 my husband and I kept eating it from the plate like they were chips!). So yeah. I know it sounds skeptical, but try broadening your taste buds. Don’t think of it as bacon from the pigs because then you will be deeply dissatisfied. Don’t compare the two. Just think of it as eating a carrot in a brand new way. And if you don’t like it, it’s not the end of the world.

Author’s notes: Classic carbonara sauce is made with egg yolks, dairy cream and Parmesan cheese. This vegan version combines silken tofu and soya milk to make a deliciously rich sauce without the dairy. The final flourish is a scattering of carrot ‘bacon’ with a lovely smoky flavor and crispy texture.

Cook’s tip: Plate and serve the carbonara quickly once it is mixed together as the pasta will soak up the sauce if left to stand too long.


Ingredients

Serves 4

For the carrot bacon:

2 large carrots, trimmed, peeled

15 mL/1 tbsp tahini

15 mL/1 tbsp sunflower oil

10 mL/2 tsp maple syrup

5 mL/1 tsp dark soy sauce

5 mL/1 tsp liquid smoke

For the carbonara sauce:

250 g/9 oz/2 1/2 cups silken tofu

120 mL/4 fl oz/ 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk or soya milk

75 mL/5 tbsp nutritional yeast flakes

15 mL/1 tbsp lemon juice

15 mL/1 tbsp tahini

5 mL/1 tsp white miso paste

2.5 mL/ 1/2 tsp ground turmeric

salt and ground black pepper. to taste


Directions
  1. To make the carrot bacon, slice the carrots lengthways using a vegetable peeler to get thin even slices. Mix the tahini, oil, maple syrup, soy sauce and liquid smoke together in a bowl. Add the carrot slices and mix with your hands to coat all over. Cover the bowl and marinate the carrot strips at room temperature for about 15 minutes.
  2. Preheat the oven to 180C/350 F/Gas 4. Line a baking sheet with baking parchment. Arrange the carrot slices on the baking parchment and bake for 10 -12 minutes or until dark golden and crisp, turning over halfway through the cooking time. Leave to cool.
  3. For the pasta, bring a large pan of lightly salted water to the boil, add the spaghetti and when the water comes to the boil, cook at a constant simmer, covered, for 10 minutes or until al dente (just cooked).
  4. Meanwhile, blend the tofu, almond or soya milk, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, tahini, miso paste and turmeric together in a blender until very smooth. Season to taste.
  5. Drain the spaghetti in a colander, reserving 60 mL/4 tbsp of the cooking liquid to the pan and heat until steaming. Pour the carbonara sauce into the pan and bring to a boil, stirring. Turn off the heat, add the pasta and gently stir to coat in the sauce.
  6. Divide the spaghetti between warmed bowls, adding a few pieces of carrot bacon to each. Serve immediately with a grinding of black pepper.

Make your pasta and eat it too, without the guilt 😉 Buon Appetito!

Photo by Nadin Sh on Pexels.com

Nutritional Benefits

Energy 701 kcal/2952 kj Protein 50.6 g Carbohydrate 91.3 g, of which sugars 7.4 g Fat 19.9 g, of which saturates 1.2 g Chlolesterol 0mg Calcium 269 mg Fibre 10.6 g Sodium 112 g


Sources

The Vegan Dairy: How to Make Non-Dairy Milks, Butters, Creams and Cheese – and then Use Them in Your Cooking By Catherine Atkinson

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