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Carbonara with Tofu Bacon Bits

Roxan Forest

Plant-based chef and photographer

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Instagram: @pbkindness | plantbasedkindness.com

 

Latest Food Discovery

I have recently fallen in love with sumac! It gives such a nice acidic punch and Middle Eastern flair to recipes. I am obsessed!

 

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The golden ratio is usually 1 part vinegar (acid) to 3 parts oil. Generally, it’s best to match mild-flavored oils with mild-flavored acids. For example, mild acids include white wine vinegar, rice vinegar, lemon juice, etc. Bold-flavored vinegars would include red wine vinegar, apple cider vinegar, balsamic vinegar, sherry vinegar, etc.

 

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It may not be a secret, but the best way to make creamy hummus from scratch is to cook the beans from scratch and add baking soda to the cooking water to soften the chickpeas while cooking. Do not use canned beans, if possible, since firming agents are generally added. Once the chickpeas are cooked and rinsed, peel to remove the skins. (Yes, every single one!) Use a bit of cooking water (aquafaba) to thin out the hummus while in the food processor, and add oil, salt, lemon juice and tahini. Voila! Creamy, perfect hummus!

Vegan Carbonara Recipe

 

INGREDIENTS

White Sauce

1½ cups raw cashews, soaked for at least 4 hours

1 cup chopped onion

1 tbsp grape seed oil

1 tbsp thinly sliced garlic

1½ cups vegetable broth

2 tbsp white wine vinegar

¹⁄³ cup nutritional yeast

2 tbsp lemon juice

1½ tsp sea salt

¼ tsp white pepper

¼ tsp onion powder

 

Tofu Bacon Bits

1 block extra firm tofu (12 oz)

¹⁄³ cup oil

3 tbsp tamari or soy sauce

3 tbsp nutritional yeast

1½ tsp maple syrup

1½ tsp liquid smoke

 

METHOD

White Sauce

Soak cashews in water. Chop the onions and mince the garlic. Heat a pan on low-medium heat. Add the oil and onions. Sweat until translucent, about 10 minutes. Halfway through, add the sliced garlic to sweat with the onions. Once the onions and garlic are ready, transfer to a blender with the remaining sauce ingredients. Blend on high until smooth.

 

Tofu Bacon Bits

Press the tofu block. Preheat oven to 425°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. In a medium bowl, combine the tofu marinade ingredients. Whisk to combine. Crumble the pressed tofu block over the bowl with your hands or mash using a fork. Stir to coat the tofu with the marinade. Transfer the tofu mixture to the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes.

 

Assemble the Carbonara Cook pasta of your choice according to package instructions. Combine the cooked and drained pasta with the sauce, and top with the tofu bacon bits. Cooking With Salt If cooking from scratch, salt is something you should use to season at every stage (except on green vegetables). I often see people cooking with little to no salt, and while I understand the health benefits of lowering sodium consumption, in the kitchen, salt is wonderful to bring out flavors. Salt is used to enhance flavors, and not to make the end result taste salty, contrary to popular belief. If cooking onions, for example, sprinkling a bit of salt will open up the pores of the onions, releasing their juices. The onions (or any vegetable) will cook in their own flavorful liquid, making them more flavorful.

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