I’m happy to be back from my blogging hiatus. Unfortunately this was a hiatus of the ‘imposed’ variety. For the past three weeks Janik and I (and my daughter too) have been fighting a sinus infection/head cold that has limited my creativity in the kitchen. In fact, just the other night my daughter remarked “Really mom, soup for five nights in a row?” Yes, it was really that bad 🤪. Now that I’m feeling like my old self again (aka feeling hungry and inspired in the kitchen) I wanted to return here with an incredible vegan twist on an Italian classic: Pasta Carbonara. I thought I’d also try my hand a different format this blog post…one that’s a little more casual in style.
The non-vegan ingredient list for this classic Italian dish would look something like this:
Egg yolks, hard cheese (typically Parmesan or Reggiano), meat (bacon or pancetta), garlic & olive oil
How I’d describe this dish if I didn’t have my photographer extraordinaire husband snapping glamour shots of it:
Indulgent. Features a creamy sauce with delicate garlic undertones. The soy curl “bacon” is the perfect balance of salty, sweet and smoky.
Worth the hunt:
I had to do a bit of digging to find soy curls but they are WELL worth it. Not only do they soak up flavour like nobody’s business but they also have a texturized, meat-like appearance and turn dark and crispy when pan-fried.
My kids’ reaction to this recipe:
I don’t like it, I LOVE it! (as a side note my kids have never eaten meat (at least that I know of) but I’m sure if they had ever tried bacon they would say THANKS MOM!)
The perfect companion to this recipe:
The crisp, firm crust and sponge-like inside of this Ciabatta bread will immerse you in an authentic Italian dining experience – without the hassle or price point. This wholesome bread is perfect for dipping as well!
Note: This recipe was made using a Thermomix appliance; however, it can easily be adapted using similar food prep tools (e.g. multi-function processor, immersion blender etc).
Soy Curl “Bacon” Marinade
- One 8oz/227g package of Butler’s Soy Curls, rehydrated (see Recipe Notes below)
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled (20g)
- 1/3 cup canola oil (or similar lightweight oil) (65g)
- 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar (15g)
- 2 Tbsp maple syrup (30g)
- 2 Tbsp tamari sauce (25g) + extra
- 1 tsp liquid smoke (5g) + extra
- 1 Tbsp sweet chili sauce (20g)
- Olive oil (for pan-frying)
- 1 garlic clove, peeled (5g)
- 2 Tbsp fresh parsley (5g)
- 1 Tbsp Earth Balance vegan butter (15g)
- 1 cup soy milk (260g)
- One batch of our Savoury Parmesan Cheese (150-175g)
- 1/4 cup reserved pasta water (60g)
- Himalayan pink salt
- 1lb dry pasta of choice, cooked
- One batch of marinated & pan-fried “bacon” soy curls
- One batch of cream sauce
- Reserved parmesan cheese (for garnishing)
Soy Curl Bacon Marinade
Important: Insert the butterfly whisk attachment to the Thermomix mixing blade before Step 1
- 1/Add garlic to your Thermomix mixing bowl. Chop 5 sec/Speed 7. Using a spatula, scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl.
- 2/Add canola oil, balsamic vinegar, maple syrup, tamari sauce, liquid smoke and sweet chili sauce to your Thermomix mixing bowl. Whisk 30 sec/ Speed 3.5
- 3/Transfer marinade to a shallow dish. Add rehydrated soy curls to the dish. Marinade soy curls in the refrigerator for 2-3 hours (or overnight if time allows).
- 4/Heat a skillet to medium-high heat. Drizzle olive oil over the skillet. Pan-fry the marinated soy curls until brown and crispy (the darker the better!)
Important: Add a few drops of tamari sauce and liquid smoke to the skillet during frying to enhance the flavour~
- 1/Add garlic and fresh parsley to your Thermomix mixing bowl. Chop 5 sec/Speed 7. Using a spatula, scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl.
- 2/Add butter to the TM bowl. Sauté 2 min/120C/Speed 1.
- 3/Add soy milk, partial amount of the parmesan cheese (1/2 cup/75g), reserved pasta water and pinch of salt to the TM bowl. Cook 3 min/90C/Speed 1.
- 4/Add another heaping Tablespoon of parmesan cheese and pinch of salt to the TM bowl. Blend 30 sec/90C/Speed 5. Your sauce is now ready.
Plate your cooked pasta. Pour cream sauce over pasta followed by pan-fried soy “bacon” soy curls. Garnish with additional parmesan cheese (optional) Serve hot~
* Each 8oz bag Butler’s Soy Curls yields 1.5 lb soy curls when hydrated
*How to rehydrate soy curls:
- 1/Place soy curls (8oz/227g) in water. Add enough warm water to completely cover the curls. Let soak for 10 minutes.
- 2/Drain soy curls and rinse in cold water. Using the underside of a spoon, press gently on the soy curls to release any excess water.
Butler’s Soy Curls