Spaghetti carbonara with sun-dried tomatoes and shiitake mushroom “bacon”! (vegan, gluten free)

Spaghetti carbonara with sun-dried tomatoes and shiitake mushroom “bacon”! (vegan, gluten free)

I am going to say it… this shiitake mushroom bacon is a game changer! Bacon is one of those things that meat eaters are always saying they could never live without but really what they enjoy about bacon is the chewy, salty, smoky, meatiness of bacon…and this shiitake mushroom bacon delivers on all of this and more so there is no excuse!

Shiitake mushrooms have a lovely smoky flavour naturally, and their texture when baked is very similar to how I remember bacon before I became vegan. Add some olive oil, salt and pepper and it’s just perfect! Shiitake bacon is a delicious topping for a vegan carbonara as in this recipe, but I plan to use my new favourite recipe on salads, burgers, pastas and sandwiches. The recipe cogs in my foodie brain are already mentally cooking a shiitake mushroom fajita recipe so watch this space!

I have been going on and on about shiitake bacon so much I haven’t even mentioned how deliciously easy this carbonara sauce is. Ben and I have been playing around with this recipe trying to get it just right and we have realised less is more and its best to let the flavours of the shiitake mushrooms, sun dried-tomatoes and fresh basil compliment the simple garlicky creamy cashew base of the sauce. Even though I must have eaten this meal 10 times in the last month my mouth is watering thinking about it and I am very glad I have some leftover carbonara sauce in my freezer that I am going to have to defrost for dinner!

I would love to hear what you think of this recipe!


Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes

Serves 4


  • 150g cashew nuts (soaked for 8+ hours or at a push 15 minutes in boiling water)
  • 250ml plant milk (we use Oatly barista oat milk as its lovely and creamy!)
  • 10 sun-dried tomatoes
  • Large handful of fresh basil
  • 300g shiitake mushrooms
  • 1 onion
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • Olive oil
  • 500g spaghetti (we use doves farm organic brown rice spaghetti)

Optional – throw in some fresh spinach at the end for a veggie boost


  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180’C.
  2. Wash and slice the shiitake mushrooms finely, and then add to a baking tray covered in baking paper. Toss the mushrooms in olive oil, salt and black pepper, and bake in the oven for about 30 minutes, turning every 7-8 minutes or so. They are ready when they start to go crispy!
  3. While the mushrooms are cooking chop the onion and garlic and fry for about five minutes until soft
  4. Drain the water and place the soaked cashew nuts, milk, salt, pepper and the onion garlic mixture in a blender and blend until smooth. Have a taste and check if it needs any more salt or pepper
  5. Put a pan of water on to boil and cook the spaghetti as per the packets instructions
  6. Finely chop the sun-dried tomatoes and basil
  7. When the pasta is cooked drain the water then return to the pan and add the carbonara sauce and the sun-dried tomatoes and stir well. If you feel the sauce is a bit thick add a splash of water or plant milk and it will loosen
  8. Spoon onto plates and add the chopped basil and shiitake bacon and enjoy!

Tip – the sauce freezes really well so I always make double and pop half in the freezer for a quick weekday dinner.

One Comment

  1. Sally Bishop

    Thank you Sunny Peas!

    Made this for my kids, and they absolutely LOVED IT! The sauce is so much better than making one with cream!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *