Vegan Kimchi Carbonara
Probiotics have been become increasingly popular with new discoveries in the importance of gut health to overall health. While some supplements have been shown to repopulate the gut, it's unclear that most probiotics actually take residence and benefit the microbiome. When taken in whole food form, the benefits are more certain. Therefore, we prefer to get our probiotics from whole food sources, rather than a supplement.
Kimchi is a popular probiotic-rich food popular in Korea. Usually served as a side condiment to Korean dishes, here it’s incorporated into a delicious and mildly spiced crave-worthy noodle dish. Kimchi supports healthy digestion and is traditionally made with vegetables including cabbage, mustard greens, and bok choy that are also rich in vitamins and minerals.
Carbonara is usually made with pasta, raw egg, parmesan and pork. While this recipe’s ingredients have little in common with the original, it has a carbonara-like vibe that is incredibly satisfying and delicious. Once the ingredients are prepped, it comes together in just minutes. Make the sauce ahead of time and enjoy an easy crave-worthy dinner in a pinch!
I'd love to credit the chef at the Two Bunch Palms resort in Desert Hot Springs for inspiring this one, thank you chef!
All you need on hand is:
Kimchi (homemade classic style or a good quality brand like this one)
Sweet chile sauce (use a good quality one like this one)
Noodles of choice (gluten free preferred or veggie spirals)
Parsley, scallions, sesame seeds, optional for garnish
First, prep your ingredients.
Let's get started by making our shiitake "bacon" bits. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit, toss your sliced shiitakes with oil and seasonings and bake until crispy (be careful not to burn!). You can do this ahead of time or while you prep your sauce and cook your noodles.
Now let's toast the pine nuts. We use a skillet method because it makes it a little easier to prevent burning. Simply heat a skillet, add 1/4 cup pine nuts and toast, tossing frequently by shaking the pan or using a wooden spatula to roll around. Be careful not to burn!
Remove from heat and gather the rest of your ingredients.
There is so much to love about this recipe on top of the many health benefits. The sauce requires no cooking, so just heat up some noodles and toss in your sauce and "bacon" bits. You can also make the sauce ahead of time and store in the fridge until ready to use. It'll be as easy as opening a jar of store-bought sauce, and taste a whole lot better with a ton more gut-friendly nutrients. This one's a keeper!
Prep time: 30 minutes
8 oz. shiitake mushrooms, stems removed and roughly chopped
2 TB avocado oil
½ tsp sea salt or Himalayan pink salt
1 tsp smoked paprika
2 tsp gluten free Tamari or soy-free coconut aminos, optional for flavor boost
1 1/2 cups kimchi (use homemade or a good brand, I used volcano brand)
1-2 tsp chile sauce (or ½ - 1 tsp red pepper flakes)
½ cup white cannellini beans
2 TB nutritional yeast
1 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
½ tsp garlic powder
¼ cup toasted pine nuts
½ cup organic diced tomatoes (we prefer fire-roasted for deeper flavor)
8 oz. noodles of choice, we like these ones (can sub zucchini or any veggie noodles)
Chopped parsley, sliced green onions, toasted sesame seeds, optional for garnish
Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
In a medium bowl, toss mushrooms with oil, salt, smoked paprika, tamari (or coconut aminos).
Spread mushrooms on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake in oven for 10-15 minutes until they become deep brown and fragrant. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely. Be careful not to burn!
While the “bacon” is cooking, heat a large pot of water for the noodles.
While the water heats, add kimchi, chili garlic sauce, beans, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, garlic powder, pine nuts, and diced tomatoes to a food processor and blend until roughly combined. If you want a smooth texture, keep blending until smooth. Taste and adjust flavors if needed. Set the sauce aside or store in fridge until ready to use.
When the water boils, cook the noodles according to directions.
Check “bacon” and remove from oven when just starting to crisp, being careful not to burn.
Set sauce in a serving bowl and toss in hot noodles when ready. Add 2/3 of shiitake bacon and toss well so the sauce is evenly distributed. Serve topped with remaining bacon bits and optional toppings.
Only thing left to decide is what color plate to serve it on. Which one do you think looks prettier?
Cheers to you and your gut bugs!
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