Combine alfredo, mac ’n’ cheese, and buttered pasta into one and this is what you get. Oops, don’t forget to wipe the drool off your phone screen.
Here, we have al dente penne – we used white rice penne – in a thick, silky, and savory vegan cheese sauce made using full-fat coconut milk and nutritional yeast. Then, to accentuate the comforting factors of this dish, we add black pepper veggie bacon that’s been sautéed golden brown.
For a long time, we stayed away from “veggie bacon” mostly because the substitutes out there just aren’t that good. That was until our teeth graced veggie bacon that was meaty, smoky, and even had layers of chewy “fat” in it that mimic pork belly to a T.
Of course, this bacon can’t be found anywhere – not even in the most hipster health store around. Instead, it’s sold in vegan restauranteur’s hidden treasure chests: Oriental markets’ frozen section. Wander over to where the sign says “vegetarian” and you will find the holy grail of vegan meats, including the best damn vegan bacon ever. It gets better too – the bacon isn’t even pre-sliced. It comes in a long rectangular block, much like a slab of actual pork belly, meaning you can cut, slice, or dice it up in any way you desire. Our brand of choice is VeriSoy, who pretty much dominates veggie meats at Oriental markets.
While you’re there, check the noodles aisle for the best selection of white rice pastas ever. If your wondering why that is, the answer is quite simple: rice has been a prominent grain in Asian cultures far longer than wheat has. Thus, rice is what’s usually called upon when flour or starch is needed in a product, making it the obvious choice for pastas. With little to no downside too – white rice pastas are neutral in flavor, color, and keep their shape so as long as they’re not overcooked. The main noticeable difference would be that white rice pasta has a bit more bounce and sponginess than wheat pastas, which are more tender and dough-y. All in all, go for whatever penne is accessible and enjoyable for you.
We hope you guys enjoy this pasta, it’s:
- Comforting, indulgent, and rich
- Smoky, savory, and cheesy
- Tender, silky, and chewy
- An easy to make dinner for two
If you like what your tastebuds are tellin’ ya, leave behind a nice rating, share your thoughts with us in the comments, or show us your creations by tagging @noeggsorham on Instagram.
Pasta On ddduuudddeeee,
Cheesy Vegan Penne Alfredo w/ Crisp, Smoky Veggie Bacon
Al dente pasta, thick & silky cheese sauce, and crisp, golden brown veggie bacon served alongside roasted broccolini.
- 7-8 oz penne pasta (we used white rice pasta)
- 1/2 c full-fat coconut milk
- 1/2 c water
- 3 tbsp nutritional yeast
- 2 tbsp cassava flour
- 2 tsp lemon juice
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/8 tsp onion powder
- 1/4 c vegan butter
- 3 oz black pepper veggie bacon, diced (we used VeriSoy, found in many Oriental markets)
- 3 medium garlic cloves, roughly chopped
- 2 heads of broccolini, cut into thin long pieces
- 1 tbsps avocado or olive oil
- Broccolini: Pre-heat oven to 450° F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Add on broccolini and toss with oil and a heavy pinch of salt & pepper.
- Roast until crispy on the surface and tender on the inside; about 7 minutes. Set aside until ready to serve.
- Pasta: Cook pasta in a large pot of salted, boiling water until it’s tender with a bit of chew. Drain into a colander, rinse with thoroughly with cold water, and set aside.
- In a personal sized-blender cup or mason jar, blend or shake together coconut milk, water, nutritional yeast, cassava flour, lemon juice, salt, and onion powder until smooth. Set aside for now.
- Heat same pot pasta was cooked in over medium high-heat. Once hot, add in vegan butter & veggie bacon and cook until bacon’s golden brown on one side; about 2 minutes.
- Toss in garlic and cook until it’s browned around the edges; about 45 seconds. Stir in coconut milk mixture and bring to a boil, stirring frequently.
- Turn heat down to medium-low, rinse pasta with warm water to remove excess starch, and add it to the pot. Stir until thoroughly combined.
- Serve while fresh with roasted broccolini. Store leftovers in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Reheat over medium heat with a splash of water to loosen up the sauce.