Pasta Carbonara with Shiitake Bacon

I somehow got on the mailing list for cookbook writer Chloe Coscarelli, and last week I got an email saying she was putting out a new vegan cookbook, and here’s a sample recipe! This recipe sounded so intriguing….shiitake bacon??? So…a pound of shiitake mushrooms costs A LOT. So instead, I bought 2 packs of gourmet mushrooms (about 1/2 a pound). They were already sliced, and some of them were not sliced as thin as they should have been (I found out). All you do for the mushrooms is season them with salt and pepper, add some olive oil, and bake for 30 minutes. And the really thin ones? Yep- taste like bacon. THEY TASTE LIKE BACON. What the heck? So the pasta- the sauce is really easy and looks like an Alfredo sauce but isn’t. It’s not as heavy. Man, was this dish good. I might have to get your cookbook, Chloe! I can’t wait to eat the leftovers for lunch!

rating: 9.8

Pasta Carbonara with Shiitake Bacon
(Chloe’s Vegan Italian Kitchen, Chloe Coscarelli)

serves 4-6


1 pound shiitake mushrooms,
trimmed and thinly sliced
(about ¼ inch thick)
¼ cup olive oil
1¼ teaspoons sea salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 pound long pasta
(spaghetti, linguine, fettuccine)
(or gluten-free pasta)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
14 ounces soft tofu
½ cup water
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2½ teaspoons sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Chopped fresh Italian parsley for garnish


For the shiitake bacon:
Preheat the oven to 375°F.
On a large rimmed baking sheet, toss mushrooms with oil, salt, and pepper. Bake for about 30 minutes, turning frequently
with a spatula, until lightly browned and crisp.
For the pasta:
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook according to package directions. Drain and return to the pot.
Meanwhile, heat oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add onion and let cook until soft. Add garlic and let cook a few more minutes. Remove from heat.
In a blender, combine onion, garlic, tofu, water, lemon juice, and salt. Process on high until very smooth, about 2 minutes.
Add sauce to pasta and toss to coat. Season with pepper and add more salt to taste. Let pasta sit for about 5 minutes to allow sauce to thicken slightly. Top with shiitake bacon,
parsley, and serve.


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