Pasta carbonara is a hearty Italian dish from Rome that’s traditionally made with eggs, cheese and cured meats. My much healthier vegan version is delectable and easy to make. It works best with a long pasta like spaghetti or linguine. I used one of my favorite pastas here in this dish, fusilli longhi, which is really just a long fusilli. It’s harder to find but you can get it online or at some specialty stores. I just love the texture and it’s a fun shape of pasta to cook with and make dishes really pop. I also used some beet bacon that I made (recipe below); but you can use store bought vegan bacon. SweetEarth Foods makes Benevolent Bacon which is really good. Yves pepperoni would also work well here. Most grocery stores have at least a few of these types of options. Just a note if you do use the beet bacon, top the pasta with the beet bacon when ready to serve. Otherwise, the beets will make the pasta sauce a pink color which you don’t want. Buon appetito!
If using the beet bacon, preheat oven to 400F. Add the beet bacon ingredients to a bowl and coat the beet slices with the mixture. Place the beet slices on a parchment lined cookie sheet and bake for 10 minutes. Turn over the slices and bake another 5-10 minutes or until starting to brown. When cool enough to touch, cut into small pieces. Set aside.
Add the cashews and water to a high speed blender. Blend until smooth and set aside. To a pan on medium to high heat, add the olive oil and garlic. Sauté until the garlic is just starting to brown. Add the cashew cream and dijon mustard to the pan and stir. Add in the turmeric, salt and pepper and stir, then turn off the heat. Set a large pot of water on the stove. When boiling, add your pasta and cook according to package instructions. You can add salt to the water if you wish. While the pasta is cooking, cook your vegan bacon according to package instructions. When cool enough to the touch, cut the bacon into small pieces and set aside. When the pasta is almost done cooking, reserve 1 to 1 1/2 cups of the pasta water and add to the pan with the cashew cream mixture. Heat the cashew cream sauce on low heat. Blend the pasta water into the cashew cream mixture to thin out the sauce. Add in the grated vegan parmesan, salt and pepper, and stir. When the pasta is finished cooking, drain and add to the pan of sauce. Stir to coat all of the pasta. Top with the bacon pieces and parmesan. Serve warm.