Chef Nina Parker presents two vegan carbonara recipes that will satisfy all of your pasta cravings

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A sauce makes a meal. So convinced is chef Nina Parker that she's written an entire cookbook of sauces to jazz up mealtimes.  Saucy: A Cookbook, Only Saucier , follows Nina's other releases  Nina: St Tropez  and  Nina: Capri  which featured recipes inspired by France and the Capri coastline.

Nina has cooked for the likes of Stormzy, Russell Brand and Millie Mackintosh and has more than 61,000 Instagram followers eagerly awaiting her next recipe. But struggled in lockdown like many of us she struggled to eat healthily and to find inspiration for meals each day while managing a busy workload. This is when the idea for Saucy was born.

Here she advises how to make two vegan versions of carbonara. "This is a “creamy” tasting pasta sauce without the heaviness of cream, instead using soaked cashews," Nina explains.

Nina Parker's vegan carbonara recipe with summer greens sauce

Serves two


200g brown rice pasta

150g peas, blanched for 1 minute

1 courgette, thinly sliced with a mandolin

150g asparagus, ends trimmed and blanched for 4 minutes

3-4 tbsp olive oil

For the sauce:

140g cashews, soaked in water and then weigh about 180g

200ml almond/plant-based milk

3 tbsp nutritional yeast

A few gratings of nutmeg

1/2 garlic clove, grated

Sea salt and black pepper

While the pasta is cooking, fry the courgette. Set a frying pan on a medium to high heat and add two tablespoons of olive oil.

Use a mandolin to slice half the courgette straight into the pan and season with salt and pepper.

After 2 minutes, flip everything around the pan so that all the pieces are cooked. This will take another 2 minutes; scrape it onto a plate while you do the same with the rest of the courgette.

Next, drain the soaked cashews and place into a blender along with 100ml of the milk and the other ingredients for the sauce (yeast, nutmeg, garlic, salt and pepper).

Blend for about 2 minutes until you reach a smooth consistency. Then add the remaining milk and blend again. Taste to check the seasoning, adding in more salt, pepper or nutmeg if needed.

Put the frying pan back onto a medium heat and add everything into the pan and toss together (pasta, sauce, peas and asparagus). You can loosen the sauce with a little more nut milk if needed as it tends to thicken quite quickly.

Serve hot!

Nina Parker's vegan carbonara recipe with truffle sauce


200g mushrooms, sliced and dry-fried in batches with salt and pepper

For the sauce:

140g cashews, soaked in water and then weigh out 180g

200ml almond/plant-based milk

3-4 tbsp truffle oil, plus extra for garnish

1 tbsp nutritional yeast, optional

A few gratings of nutmeg

1/2 garlic clove, grated

Sea salt and black pepper

Make the sauce in a similar way to the summer greens except with the truffle oil and assemble together with the mushrooms and pasta.