Who doesn’t love a creamy, savoury carbonara? Here is a healthy spin on a classic favourite which is quick to make, easy & tastes delicious.
Conventional carbonara is heavy on pasta, cream & cheese. So how do you make it healthy? Easy! By using cashew cream & tofu as the base, you can whip up a creamy sauce in no time, which is rich in fibre, protein, vitamins (esp. vitamin B1, B5, B6) & minerals, (esp. manganese, potassium, copper, iron, magnesium, zinc, & selenium).
By using wholegrain mustard, you create a savoury flavour & so can reduce the amount of cheese/ nutritive yeast you need to add. Also, by using courgette noodles instead of pasta, you have a low carb dish which is less stodgy on the belly.
This recipe can be made dairy-free too, so suitable for vegans & those with a tyramine intolerance (associated with matured foods like cheese).
For added flexibility, I have given alternative ingredients to make this recipe suitable for vegans, vegetarians & meat-lovers on a paleo diet. You can also add protein powder which makes the sauce a little creamier, but can be omitted if required. I love using vegan varieties: soya bean or pea protein powder).
Preparation time: 10 mins (allowing soaking time for the cashews for 4 hrs)
Cooking time: 13-16 mins
For the sauce:
150g raw cashews, soaked for 4 hr or overnight
160ml cold water
200g soft tofu, diced
2 tbsp of nutritional yeast (for vegans) or 2 tbsp parmesan (for non-vegans)
3 tbsp of good quality wholegrain mustard
Pinch of nutmeg
Salt & pepper
1 tbsp coconutoil
3 plump garlic cloves, crushed
3 rashers of bacon, diced or vegan bacon
700g courgette, ideally spiralised
250g edamame/soya beans
250g button mushrooms, sliced
To garnish: freshly chopped herbs (I have used parsley in the photos pictures, but torn basil leaves are also a lovely alternative) & a sprinkle of ground flaxseed if desired.
Soak the raw cashews for 4 hrs or overnight (the cashews will plump up!), drain away the water & place the soaked cashews in a blender or food processor .
Add the remaining sauce ingredients & blend for a few seconds to form a creamy sauce.
Spiralise your courgettes. If you do not have a spiraliser, vegetable peeler peelings can be used.
In a big non-stick pan, melt the coconut oil. Add crushed garlic & bacon/ vegan bacon. Sauté for about 3 mins before adding in the spiralised courgettes, mushrooms & edamame beans. Continue cooking for about 6-8 mins to cook through & to evaporate as much moisture as possible (this prevents the final sauce from becoming too watery).
Add the carbonara sauce to the vegetables & cook though for 4-5 mins. Serve. Garnish with fresh herbs & ground flaxseed to boost the nutritive profile.
Don’t forget you can find my favourite recipes in my FREE eBook here.