Pasta Carbonara with Shiitake Bacon

Packed with protein instead of fat! The shiitake mushrooms add an amazing crisp, umami element that is irresistible.

Makes about 6 servings



Shiitake Bacon:

  • 3/4 pound shiitake mushrooms, stems removed and thinly sliced (about ¼ inch thick)
  • Avocado or canola oil spray (or 1 tablespoon oil)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt (or smoked sea salt)

Pasta Carbonara:

  • 1/4 cup cashews
  • 1 pound long pasta (spaghetti, linguine, fettuccine)
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
  • 12 ounces silken (or soft) tofu
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Chopped fresh Italian parsley for garnish


Initial Prep:

  1. Cover cashews with boiling water and let sit for 10-15 minutes. Drain before using.

Shiitake Bacon: 

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Spray a large rimmed baking sheet generously with oil spray.
  2. Toss mushrooms in pan to partially coat and top with a light spray of oil and sprinkle with salt.
  3. Bake for about 30 minutes, turning frequently with a spatula, until lightly browned and crisp.

Pasta Carbonara: 

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook pasta according to package directions. Do not overcook. Drain and return to the pot.
  2. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and let cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and let cook about two more minutes. Remove from heat.
  3. In a blender, combine onion, garlic, tofu, drained cashews, water, and salt and pepper. Process on high until very smooth. Add sauce back to the skillet and warm over medium heat. (The consistency should be like a heavy cream. If the sauce thickens too much as it sits, add a little water to thin.)
  4. When warmed, remove sauce from the heat. Stir in lemon juice. Pour sauce over the pasta and stir gently to combine. Let sit for about 5 minutes to allow sauce to thicken slightly and adhere to the pasta. Taste and adjust seasonings.
  5. Top with Shiitake Bacon and parsley and serve.


Adapted from Chef Chloe Coscarelli’s By Chloe restaurant.