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Parsnip Carbonara with Mushrooms

This is vegan comfort food at its best from Little Bird Goodness.

You’ll be surprised at how well parsnip works as a pasta. It’s natural, earthy smokey flavour really makes this dish. If you haven’t got a batch of coconut bacon to hand, you can buy it in your wholefoods store or just use dried coconut chips – the result won’t be as great in terms of texture, but it will still taste good.
The smoky alfredo sauce recipe has a lovely creamy texture, just like a traditional one. Remember to put the cashews on to soak ahead of time.

Make time: 20 mins
Soak time: 2–4 hours
Serves: 4
Equipment required:
spiraliser, high-speed blender


Parsnip noodles

  • 5 parsnips, peeled

Smoky alfredo sauce (makes 2 cups)

  • 1 cup cashews, soaked for 2–4 hours
  • ½ cup filtered water
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • ½ clove garlic, crushed
  • ¼ shallot, roughly chopped
  • 2 drops liquid smoke
  • freshly cracked pepper to taste


  • 2 tbsp cold-pressed olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • ½ shallot, finely chopped
  • 2 cups Swiss brown mushrooms, sliced
  • sea salt to taste

To serve

  • 1 cup coconut bacon or dried coconut chips
  • a few extra mushrooms, sliced (optional)
  • small handful of parsley leave



To prepare the parsnip pasta, spiralise (or julienne on a mandoline) parsnips into noodles and set aside.

To prepare the smoky alfredo sauce, drain and rinse the soaked cashews thoroughly. Place all ingredients in a high-speed blender and blend until creamy and smooth. Make sure the drops of liquid smoke are actual drops – this stuff is strong. The sauce will keep in the fridge for up to 5 days.

To prepare the mushrooms, heat oil in a frying pan over a medium heat and lightly brown garlic and shallot, taking care not to burn the garlic. Add sliced mushrooms and cook over a medium to high heat, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon. Add sea salt to taste and cook mushrooms until golden brown.

Add 1 cup alfredo sauce (or more to taste!) and warm it through; this should only take around 30 seconds to 1 minute. (If you overcook the sauce, it will become very thick and change its flavour.)

Add parsnip noodles and fold through the sauce and mushroom mixture. If it’s too dry, add a bit more water or alfredo sauce.

Serve in bowls topped with coconut bacon, some more mushrooms if you like, and parsley leaves.

Note: To make this raw prepare the mushrooms in the dehydrator at 46°C for 30-40 minutes, and warm the cashew sauce before serving.

Formats & editions

  • Hardback


    August 28, 2017

    Penguin (NZ Adult)

    320 pages

    RRP $60.00

    Online retailers

    • Fishpond
    • Mighty Ape
    • Paper Plus
    • The Warehouse
    • Whitcoulls
    • The Nile

    Find your local bookstore at www.booksellers.co.nz/directory

Little Bird Goodness Megan May

Nourishing plant-based wholefood recipes from the Little Bird Unbakery cafés.

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