This vegan creamy pasta is inspired by the Italian Boscaiola recipe. Mushrooms, peas, and vegan bacon make the base of this luxurious restaurant-y sauce.
It is easy to cook and is ready in less than 30 minutes, perfect for a quick and fulfilling vegan dinner.
What to expect
"Boscaiola" is a simple dish with Tuscan origins made mostly during autumn when mushrooms are in season.
Probably, the name refers to the earthy and forestry feel you get when eating mushrooms, cream, and sausage or pancetta in one bite. Bosco in Italian means forest.
In our vegan version, we replace the sausage and the pancetta with our homemade vegan bacon. It's easy to make, with tempeh, and it tastes really delicious.
Even if you normally don't like tempeh you'll love it cooked this way.
In Italy, there are two main versions of this dish. One with tomato sauce, one without. Here I am doing the one without tomato sauce, which is the version I would eat growing up.
Ingredients & Substitutions
- Pasta: I like to use a short pasta shape hollow on the inside, like penne or maccheroni.
- Tempeh: cut into small cubes and pan-fried with olive oil, soy sauce, salt, and pepper to make it taste like bacon. You can replace the tempeh with smoked tofu if you like.
- Plant-based cooking cream: there are many available on the market made from soy, rice, oats, and other plants. If you can't find it, then you can make it at home very easily.
Put ⅔ cups of unsweetened soy or oat milk and ⅓ cups of sunflower oil or melted vegan butter in a jar and blend with an immersion blender for 1 minute. That's it.
- Onion: white or red onion.
- Mushrooms: you can use any mushrooms for this recipe. To keep it affordable I use white mushrooms, brown mushrooms and portobello mushrooms.
- Peas: frozen peas or peas from a can. They are optional but they add a nice flavour to this vegan creamy pasta.
- Parsley: fresh chopped parsley.
- Olive oil, salt and pepper: extra virgin olive oil would be best, regular olive oil works too.
Step 1: make the tempeh bacon
Cut the tempeh into small dice, like if it were bacon dice.
To a non-stick pan, add 1 to 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Warm up the oil on medium-low heat, then add the tempeh dice.
Season with salt and pepper, then pan-fry on medium-low heat for about 5 minutes, till the tempeh starts to get golden on the outside. Move the tempeh around often.
Add a tablespoon of soy sauce and fry for another minute. Note that tempeh bacon should be quite salty, to recall the flavor of real bacon. Transfer onto a plate and set aside.
Step 2: make the creamy vegan pasta sauce
At this stage, put the water for the pasta to boil.
Then in the same non-stick pan where you cooked the tempeh, without washing it, add a tablespoon of olive oil and the chopped onion.
Fry for 2 minutes on low heat, adding some water if the onion starts to burn.
In the meantime, chop the mushrooms. I like to chop them quite chunkily. Then add them to the pan with the onion, and season them with salt and pepper.
Let the mushrooms cook on medium-low heat for 8 minutes. At the same time, boil the pasta in salted boiling water.
Now add frozen peas, cooking cream, and half a cup of water, and let cook on low heat for 3 to 4 minutes.
When the pasta is al dente (that is slightly undercooked) add it to the pan. Add plenty of finely chopped parsley and half a cup of pasta cooking water. Stir well but gently.
Now add the tempeh bacon, stir and serve this delicious vegan creamy pasta. If necessary, you can add some more pasta cooking water to make the sauce creamier.
Tips and questions
Yes. Replace the tempeh bacon with smoked tofu, adding it raw without frying it. Fry the onion with water, rather than oil.
Sure, reduce the salt as much as you need to. Here too, I would use smoked tofu rather than tempeh, if you are using less salt.
You can easily use whatever mushrooms you can get. White mushrooms, brown mushrooms, portobello, chanterelle, and porcini are all great options.
If you want to add some extra mushroom flavor, you can add about 0.5 ounces or 15 grams of dry porcini mushrooms.
You just have to soak them in half a cup of water for 10 minutes first, then add them with their soaking water to the pan with the other mushrooms.
This vegan creamy pasta, boscaiola style, is best eaten as soon as it's cooked. If you have some leftovers, store them in a bowl or in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours.
Reheat the pasta on a pan with a drizzle of olive oil.
It's no secret that we love creamy pasta recipes! It's a complete meal and frankly, one of our favorite choices for an easy dinner. BUT, if you want to increase your veggie intake - we're certainly trying, then check out these vitamin-rich side dishes:
- Crunchy kale chips
- Roasted artichokes
- Steamed artichokes
- Brussels sprout salad
- Roasted broccoli
- Roasted Brussels sprout
- Oven-baked veggie tray
- Fennel and orange salad
Vegan creamy pasta
- 12 ounces pasta penne, maccheroni, rigatoni
- 21 ounces mushrooms white, brown, portobello, or a mix
- 5 ounces tempeh or smoked tofu
- ⅔ cup frozen peas
- 1 onion
- 7 ounces plant-based cooking cream
- 2 tablespoons olive oil extra virgin
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 handful parsley
- salt and pepper
- Cut the tempeh into small dice, then add it to a non-stick pan with 1 to 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and cook on medium to low heat for about 5 minutes.
- Move around quite often, then add a tablespoon of soy sauce and fry for another minute. Transfer onto a plate and set aside.
- Put the water for the pasta to boil, then in the same non-stick pan where you cooked the tempeh, without washing it, add a tablespoon of olive oil and the chopped onion.Fry for 2 minutes on low heat, adding some water if the onion starts to burn.
- In the meantime, chop the mushrooms, add them to pan and season with salt and pepper. Cook on medium-low heat for 8 minutes. At the same time, boil the pasta in salted boiling water.
- Now add frozen peas, cooking cream, and half a cup of water, and let cook on low heat for 3 to 4 minutes.
- When the pasta is al dente (that is slightly undercooked) add it to the pan. Add plenty of finely chopped parsley, half a cup of pasta cooking water and the tempeh bacon.
- Finish cooking for 1 minute, stirring gently, then serve and eat immediately.