A couple months back, I was struck by a sudden craving for pasta carbonara. The authentic Italian recipe calls for guanciale (pork cheek), eggs and cheese — basically the antithesis of vegan-friendly. My initial thought was to simply use pre-made vegan versions of each of these key ingredients: Sweet Earth Benevolent Bacon and Follow Your Heart VeganEgg and Parmesan shreds. However, I also decided to also try out a more from-scratch version after stumbling upon this recipe on the Serious Eats blog.
Miso paste and nutritional yeast impart a savory, cheesy flavor. Sauerkraut brine and lemon juice lend tartness, and puréed silken tofu makes the entire sauce velvety-smooth. The recipe calls for fried sliced mushrooms in place of guanciale. I also added some cashew parmesan (raw cashews processed with nutritional yeast, salt and garlic powder) for a bit of extra texture.
It's been years since I last had real carbonara, so I can't guarantee that this is an exact stand-in, but I can guarantee that it's delicious! The flavors are perfectly balanced, and the addition of silken tofu makes for a wonderfully creamy sauce (without the high fat content of egg yolks and dairy, might I add). I would absolutely serve this to a non-vegan friend or family member — even a picky one; it tastes that good!