Recipe Spaghetti Carbonara with Aubergine "Bacon"

SatNavSaysStraightOn

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I've adapted this recipe from the July edition of the Vegan Food & Living Magazine.
I've used their Aubergine bacon and my prefered vegan cheese sauce.
You'll need a very sharp knife and very fresh aubergines in order to make this work and resemble in appearance, traditional bacon pieces. Mine didn't but it did taste great - though nothing like bacon - this is appearance only.
If you use "normal" aubergines, you'll need to slice into 3cm wide strips to get the "fake" bacon look. It is for this reason that I changed to the long thin Lebanese aubergines.

Aubergine Bacon Ingredients (makes about 4-6 servings)
6-8 Lebanese aubergines
1 tbsp onion powder
½ tbsp garlic powder
½ tsp ground black pepper
2 tbsp tamari (soy sauce)
1-2 tbsp(s) maple syrup
6-8 tbsp olive oil
1-2 tbsp cold water

Caramelised Onions Ingredients
2 tbsp sunflower oil
1 onion finely diced
½ tsp golden caster sugar

Also needed
4 portions of My Vegan Cheese Sauce (Recipe - My Vegan Cheese Sauce)
4 servings of Spaghetti or pasta of choice. (If you want protein with this, I'd recommend using one of the lentil or pea base pastas that are now available. My favourite are the chickpea or red lentil pasta)

Aubergine bacon Method
  1. Preheat the oven to 150°C and line 2 baking trays with a suitable baking paper because this gets messy and the sauce will run and burn...
  2. In a bowl, add the onion powder, garlic powder, black pepper, tamari soy sauce, maple syrup and olive oil. Whisk until it thickens dramatically and dilute if need by adding a little oil or water. You need it thick enough to stay on the aubergine slices but you do actually need to be able to spread it on them rather than slice it! Taste and if needed add more maple syrup.
  3. Wash the aubergines and top & tail them. Slice them in half lengthways and cut into very thin strips (1mm thick). You'll need a very sharp knife or a mandoline (which I don't have). I found it easier to paint the sauce on the aubergine slices by dunking and dragging rather than by "painting" the sauce on with a brush. Go with what works for you. If there is too much sauce on, it will prevent the slices from curling up which is what happend to me... The original recipe states to coat both sides but again I have found that to cause problems with the curling which you are trying to encourage. I am left wondering if coating both sides and the loosely rolling the strip up and securing with a wooden toothpick might work better? Bake for 15 minutes and check, turn and continue cooking until golden brown but not burnt. Remove from the oven and cool before chopping up into bite sized pieces.
Caramelised Onions Method
  1. In the meantime fry & caramelise the diced onion in a frying pan over a medium heat, until golden brown. (Sunflower oil, diced onion and the golden caster sugar).
Assembly Instructions
  1. Cook your pasta acording to the instructions and serve in a warm pasta bowl, adding a portion of warmed vegan cheese sauce, hot caramelised onions and the warm aubergine 🍆 bacon in that order.

90378

Apologies but a phone call meant the Aubergine bacon got burnt. lol.
 
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SatNavSaysStraightOn

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SatNavSaysStraightOn would you make this Bacon again?
Already have done, twice and have some Lebanese aubergine in the fridge to have another attempt this week.

But it is never going to taste like bacon (thankfully because I don't actually like bacon and never did). It is however, a very tasty sauce/marinade and I've also used in on tofu recently.
 

Mountain Cat

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But it is never going to taste like bacon (thankfully because I don't actually like bacon and never did). It is however, a very tasty sauce/marinade and I've also used in on tofu recently.
Having a food substitute that doesn't try to taste like what it is subbing for - is a definite plus in my book. My vegetarian burgers (there's egg in them) don't taste at all like beef or other meat-oriented burgers - and I wouldn't want them to try.

Looking forward to trying the eggplant bacon!
 

SatNavSaysStraightOn

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Having a food substitute that doesn't try to taste like what it is subbing for - is a definite plus in my book. My vegetarian burgers (there's egg in them) don't taste at all like beef or other meat-oriented burgers - and I wouldn't want them to try.
Agreed.

Looking forward to trying the eggplant bacon!
I recently repeated this, this week. I found it a touch easier and just as tasty when I added about 100ml of extra water to the thick emulsion that forms.

It was deep enough and thin enough to pick up the slices of aubergine (created using the cheese slice!) and dunk them into the sauce, pulling the aubergine slice along the rim of the bowl to remove excess sauce. A quick repeat of the other side and then either roll and spear with a tooth pick or place it on greaseproof paper.

If you are not using onion powder, but onion granules or flakes, you won't get the same result and the emulsion is vital, so you may be to make powder from your granules or flakes in a pestle and mortar or spice grinder.
 
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