Smoky marinated cremini mushrooms and peas are tossed with spaghetti in a silky tofu and cashew sauce to create this decadently delicious vegan carbonara.

I waited tables all throughout college. By that time, I’d been a vegetarian for quite a while, but none of the establishments that I served in were meatless. Things could get awkward. I felt weird about telling customers I was vegetarian, but at the same time it wasn’t like I could go and suggest the filet mignon. I got some odd looks from people upon telling them that my favorite dish was a dinner salad with a side of mashed potatoes.

The last place I worked at was Italian. We did not have spaghetti carbonara, but I did have a customer ask for it once, and when I didn’t know what it was, she went into great detail explaining the dish and how freaking amazing it was, but it was all kind of lost on me. Bacon and eggs are two things I was never down with, in my early meat eating days.



For the Mushroom Bacon

  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 3 tbsp. maple syrup
  • 3 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp. liquid smoke
  • 1 lb. cremini mushrooms, cleaned, stemmed and sliced
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil

For the Spaghetti Carbonara

  • 1 lb. dried spaghetti noodles
  • 1 cup raw cashews, soaked in water 4-8 hours and drained
  • 1 lb. silken tofu
  • 1/2 cup unflavored soy or almond milk
  • 2-3 tbsp. nutritional yeast flakes , to taste (optional, but adds a really nice flavor)
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup frozen peas, thawed
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley
  • salt & pepper to taste

For Serving

  • cashew Parmesan (optional)
  • red pepper flakes (optional)
  • kala namak (optional, for eggy flavor)


  1. Stir soy sauce, maple syrup, cider vinegar and liquid smoke together in a small bowl. Add sliced mushrooms and toss to coat. Allow to marinate for 30 minutes, tossing occasionally to recoat.
  2. While the mushrooms marinate, bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook spaghetti according to package directions, until al dente. Reserve 1/2 cup of pasta water, then drain pasta into a colander. Return to pot and toss with a bit of olive oil.
  3. Place cashews, silken tofu, milk and nutritional yeast flakes into food processor bowl and blend until smooth and creamy, stopping to scrape down sides of bowl as needed.

You can find complete recipes of this VEGAN SPAGHETTI CARBONARA in

Creamy Chili Sauce with Zucchini, Spinach and Pasta

Creamy Chili Sauce with Zucchini, Spinach and Pasta

Vegan and gluten-free Creamy Chili Sauce with Zucchini, Spinach and Pasta. An incredibly creamy, rich and yet light with no oil or butter. Just whole food ingredients. So much flavor from Italian dried herbs and chili powder and tomato sauce.

If there was ever a throw-together meal that turned out amazing, this is it!! I’m sharing another sauce and pasta dish today. Sauces are one of my favorite things to create, as if it wasn’t obvious by now. My collection is huge. Wellll, this is sooooo good, creamy, amazing, filling, “restaurant-worthy”, as my hubby said. You all wanted this recipe sooo bad when I shared this quick phone snap of my dinner 2 nights ago. Regardless of the fact that I’m a blogger, I do not like to measure ingredients. In fact, I’m a throw-together kind of cook, and even baker. A lot of my dinners I just throw together on instinct and taste as I go. I’ve always done the same when I create cakes, cookies, etc. I have literally had to make myself start writing things down as I’m creating, in case it turns out, I can easily remake it and post it here. I do that now for my baked goods, except for cookies. If I’m craving cookies, I hardly ever measure, unless I’m following a specific recipe of mine, I will just throw everything into a bowl. I’m always pressed for time, so measuring takes longer. However, it is very important to get the right amounts for a recipe to be posted, so the results turn out right for you guys. In that case, I’m very precise in what I post here.

This recipe today, Creamy Chili Sauce with Zucchini, Spinach and Pasta, is infused with a good dose of chili powder (hence the name). I mean, look at all those yummy specks of chili powder in the sauce.

I wasn’t even thinking of creating for the blog, I was just in a hurry to make dinner. As you know, I share my dinners and lunches often with you all on Facebook and IG. Well, I quickly rushed to remake this one and actually write down measurements so I could share the recipe, since the response was so big. So, I hope you are all happy and scarf it down in mere seconds the way my family did. It is THAT GOOD.

I love proving you don’t need animal products to make a delicious dish. Vegan substitutes are soooo easy. Instead of dairy cow milk, I love to use cashew milk, coconut milk and even almond milk. My favorite is cashew milk though, homemade, because it is the creamiest.

Creamy Chili Sauce with Zucchini, Spinach and Pasta
Creamy Chili Sauce with Zucchini, Spinach and Pasta


  • 2 cups dry elbow pasta (I used GF brown rice pasta. You can use spiral or other short pasta, but wouldn’t recommend long noodles)
  • 1 cup low-sodium veggie broth or water, more as needed (I used broth for more flavor)
  • 1 loosely filled cup (130 g) finely chopped onion
  • 2 small zucchini (365 g), sliced into rounds 1/4 inch thick, then in 1/4th’s (see video)
  • 1 cup homemade cashew milk (SEE NOTE below how to make & regarding subs)
  • 3/4 cup tomato sauce
  • 1 tablespoon dried Italian spice blend (I use the McCormick blend, you want one with no salt or red pepper added)
  • 1/2-1 tablespoon chili powder (SEE NOTE, not habanero, just a standard American chili powder. McCormick or Fiesta brand is good)
  • 4 large handfuls fresh spinach (100 g)
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons fine sea salt (notice in directions you are adding salt at different times)
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • optional: 1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke


  1. Make sure your veggies are chopped/prepared at the beginning, as the sauce comes together pretty quickly.
  2. Begin by bringing a large pot of water to boil for your pasta. Adding a lid will make it boil faster. Make sure to salt your water well so the pasta is well seasoned.
  3. Add the onion and broth to a large sauce pan over medium heat. Once it begins to simmer, cook 5 mins and then add the zucchini and just 1/4 teaspoon of salt at this time. Stir well and add cover. Turn the heat down to medium-low. It’s important to cover the zucchini so it cooks through well. Let it all cook about 8 minutes until the zucchini is nice and tender (no longer crunchy), but not mushy. Check it a couple of times to stir it and make sure there is enough broth, if necessary to keep the zucchini cooking, add a little bit more. You basically want most of the liquid gone though before the next step.

You can find complete recipes of this Creamy Chili Sauce with Zucchini, Spinach and Pasta in



I know – there’s nothing especially Thanksgiving-ey about this recipe. I had a number of vegetarian “main course” ideas that I thought of sharing this year. At the top of the list was a creamy vegan pot pie with a delectable flaky crust… but I didn’t get to it. I’m still excited by that idea and when I do get to it, it’ll be amazing… but the week I was creating this recipe, I had leftover butternut squash and I was craving pasta. Pot pie had to wait.

This recipe is loosely based on the other stuffed shell recipe that I made for this blog a few years ago. It’s been a favorite, mostly because (in my opinion) it hardly tastes vegan. The “ricotta,” – made from cashew cream, crumbled tofu, herbs, and lemon zest – is rich and flavorful. If your family is squeamish about tofu, just don’t tell them. They’ll never suspect it here.



  • 1½ cups cubed butternut squash
  • extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
  • 16 jumbo shells

cashew cream

  • 1½ cups raw cashews*(see note)
  • 1 cup fresh water
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 3½ tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper


  • 4 cups fresh baby spinach
  • 1 cup crumbled firm tofu
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon lemon zest
  • pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup cashew cream (from the recipe above)
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Toss the butternut squash with a drizzle of olive oil and a few pinches of salt and pepper. Roast until golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes.
  2. Make the cashew cream: Blend together the drained raw cashews, fresh water, garlic, lemon juice, and generous pinches of salt and pepper. Taste and adjust seasonings.
  3. Make the filling: In a medium skillet, heat a drizzle of olive oil over medium heat. Add the spinach in increments, along with a pinch of salt, and sauté until all the spinach is incorporated and wilted. Remove from heat and let cool slightly. Squeeze out any excess liquid and chop. In a medium bowl, combine the the spinach with the crumbled tofu, oregano, lemon zest, red pepper flakes, and 1 cup of cashew cream. Season generously with salt and pepper, to taste.

You can find complete recipes of this VEGAN BUTTERNUT SQUASH STUFFED SHELLS in



The easiest healthy vegan queso dip made with only 5 ingredients. No one will know it’s vegan, gluten-free, and that it only takes 10 minutes to whip up!

I really never meant to make queso.

Want to know how it all happened? Imma tell you how it all happened. I was minding my own business making a batch of my fave vegan enchiladas and while I was taste testing (as I always do), I thought about how the base of the enchiladas kind of looks and tastes like nacho cheese.

But in the best way. Not the painfully yellow gunk at the stadium, but the good kind. Is there even a good kind? There is today!

I kind of felt like I was eating nacho cheese Doritos. The turmeric gives it this awesome color, and the medium heat chunky salsa adds the perfect spice and overall flavor. It was love at first lick!

This is the easiest recipe ever. Blend, eat, repeat. As far as ingredients go, make sure your cashews are raw, not roasted or salted. The bell pepper and salsa provide the liquid to help blend ’em into creamy, cheese-like greatness. My go-to salsa is Ohio-made Frog Ranch, but use whatever you fancy. Nutritional yeast (which you can find at pretty much any grocery store these days) gives it just enough cheezy flavor. A pinch of salt, some anti-inflammatory turmeric for color, and that is IT my friends.

Five ingredients. Ten minutes. DIEZ MINUTOS MIS AMIGOS!!! (Insert monkey with hands on head emoji here.)



  • ½ cup raw cashews (soaked if you don’t have high speed blender)
  • 1 cup medium chunky salsa
  • 1 small red bell pepper, de-seeded and chopped
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp turmeric (optional but recommended for color)


  1. If not using a high-speed blender or Nutribullet, soak cashews in a bowl of warm water for a few hours or overnight.
  2. If using high speed blender or Nutribullet, place cashews in a bowl with warm water. Set aside while you chop pepper.
  3. Drain and rinse cashews. Place all ingredients in blender. Blend until completely smooth and creamy.

You can find complete recipes of this EASY VEGAN QUESO in



What are your plans for Christmas dinner? A few years ago I decided to make things easy for myself by serving an assortment of lasagnas. I made them the day before and simply popped them in the oven on Christmas day. They were a big hit. But the vegan option – while delicious and well received – was labor intensive. It was also quite different from the meat filled cheesy lasagna I favored in my pre-plant-based life. This Vegan Cheesy Lentil Lasagna recipe comes closer to the mark. With a little planning, it’s also easy to prepare.

If you make a few key ingredients ahead of time, this Vegan Cheesy Lentil Lasagna can be assembled in mere minutes. Here’s what you’ll need:

Vegan Lentil Bolognese Sauce
Basic Raw Cashew Cheese
Vegan Parmesan
You could make the Lentil Bolognese Sauce a day or two in advance. The Cashew Cheese and Vegan Parmesan come together more quickly.

I also like to use uncooked lasagna noodles. This shortens prep time, but extends cooking time. I find it easier to spread the ingredients on uncooked noodles. You can go either way with this recipe. If you opt to boil the noodles, simply shorten the baking time and maybe use a little less sauce. You’ll likely end up with a juicier lasagna…



  • 10 oz gluten-free lasagna noodles uncooked, I use Tinkyáda brown rice pasta lasagna
  • 8 cups Vegan Lentil Bolognese Sauce – see recipe
  • 2 cups Basic Raw Cashew Cheese – see recipe
  • 1/4 cup Vegan Parmesan – see recipe
  • 2 cups baby arugula or baby kale or baby spinach
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 tsp. dried basil
  • 1 cup Daiya mozzarella style shreds optional


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Place arugula in a food processor fitted with the S blade and pulse until finely minced.
  3. Combine minced arugula, oregano and basil with Cashew Cheese and stir to mix well.
  4. Add about 1 cup of Lentil Bolognese Sauce to a 9×13 baking dish and spread to cover the bottom.
  5. Place 3 uncooked lasagna noodles on top of the sauce. (Leave a little space around each noodle – they will expand.)
  6. Spread 1/3 of Cashew Cheese mixture on top of lasagna. (I find it helpful to hold a lasagna noodle in one hand while I spread the cheese on with the other hand – this is the reason why I like to use uncooked noodles.)
  7. Spread about 1 ½ cups of the Lentil Bolognese Sauce over the cheese covered noodles.

You can find complete recipes of this VEGAN CHEESY LENTIL LASAGNA in

Caramelized Onion Dip

Caramelized Onion Dip

One thing you might miss when switching to a plant-based diet is classic chip dip! But, of course, we’ve figured out a way to make this taste better than the real thing, using only real ingredients, plus only good fats, and lots of flavour from adding caramelized onions and shallots.

We were inspired by Better Than Bouillon to make this party appetizer because of what a great flavour base their organic vegetable bouillon creates for so many recipe ideas beyond soups and sauces. We wanted to think beyond typical uses for bouillon, since most of us have a product like this in the fridge or cupboard at all times anyway!

What we love even more is that the vegetarian Better Than Bouillon products are all vegan-certified! Follow us on Instagram @hotforfood and check out our latest post for a chance to win a $100 Sobey’s gift card and Better Than Bouillon products!

If giveaways aren’t your thing, use the code ‘hotforfood15’ to recieve 15% off of your online purchase of Better Than Bouillon here.

Caramelized Onion Dip
Caramelized Onion Dip


  • 3 yellow onions, halved & thinly sliced
  • 2 shallots, thinly sliced
  • 1-2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp fresh thyme
  • 3/4 C raw cashews (soaked for 20 minutes in hot water)
  • 2 C silken tofu
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tsp Better Than Bouillon organic vegetable base
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp ground pepper
  • 2tbsp chives, finely chopped


  1. Allow raw cashews to soak in boiling hot water for 20 minutes. This will soften them, and allow them to blend easily. You can also leave them soaking in water overnight in the fridge.
  2. In a large pan over medium heat sauté onions with 1 tbsp of olive oil for about 14-16 minutes. Then add in shallots, thyme, and another tablespoon of olive oil if the pan seems dry. Continue to caramelize, stirring occasionally, for another 14-16 minutes until the mixture is a deep golden brown.
  3. Meanwhile, rinse the cashews from the soaking water and drain well. Then add them to a high-powered blender along with tofu, lemon juice, Better Than Bouillon base, garlic powder, and ground pepper. Blend on high until very smooth.

You can find complete recipes of this Caramelized Onion Dip in

Vegan Mushroom Risotto

Vegan Mushroom Risotto

Is risotto a regular in your home? Even since I posted my Red Pepper Risotto last Winter, risotto has been one of my go-to meals. It’s easy to whip up, comes together in one pot, versatile, tasty, healthy and everybody always goes crazy for its naturally creamayyyy texture.

I made this Vegan Mushroom Risotto for J’s family last week for dinner and everybody loved it! Up until now my partner J has been my “recipe tester” eating literally everything I make (the fails and the successes, lol!) from cookies to banana bread to almost every dinner recipe you can imagine.

We’ve been staying with J’s family for the past couple weeks and it’s been great creating and sharing my plant-based recipes with his family. Making recipes for a bigger group of people and gauging their response is the best way to create a new recipe in my books. Especially, when the people trying your recipe are not vegan. This Healthy Vegan Mushroom Risotto is made without any cream or butter but everyone agreed the richness and creaminess of this vegan risotto was spot on and reminded us of the traditional risotto we enjoyed in Italy.

If you guys do make this Healthy Vegan Mushroom Risotto, it makes my week reading your reactions and feedback. Share your creations with me by writing your feedback in the comments below, tagging me (#cearaskitchen) in your beautiful shots on Instagram or sharing your photo on my Ceara’s Kitchen Facebook page. #EatHappyLiveHappy

Vegan Mushroom Risotto
Vegan Mushroom Risotto


  • 2 white onions, diced
  • 3-4 gloves garlic, diced
  • 2 tsp herbes de provence
  • 5 cups white button mushrooms, chopped
  • 1½ cups arborio rice (“risotto” rice)
  • 5 – 5½ cups vegetable stock
  • ¼ cup dry white wine*
  • 1 tsp truffle oil (optional)
  • 2 – 4 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 cups frozen peas
  • Sea Salt + Pepper to taste
  • Sea Salt to taste

Cashew Cream

  • ⅓ cup cashews
  • ½ tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 – 2 tbsp nutritional yeast (optional)
  • 2 – 3 tbsp water


  • Fresh Basil


  1. Soak cashews in hot water while preparing the risotto.
  2. Over medium high heat, in a large and deep pan, saute the diced onions and garlic with the herbes de provence in a splash of vegetable broth until they begin to soften. Add chopped mushrooms and saute for 3-4 minutes until the mushrooms soften and reduce, adding a bit of extra vegetable broth if necessary.
  3. Add the arborio rice to the hot pan and saute with the vegetables for a couple of minutes until the rice begins to turn a light golden brown. (*Saute continuously to ensure that the rice does not burn).

You can find complete recipes of this VEGAN MUSHROOM RISOTTO in

30-Minute Roasted Garlic Cauliflower Chowder

30-Minute Roasted Garlic Cauliflower Chowder

A snow storm in NYC yesterday and I missed it. I’m SO bummed.

Being in the city when it’s snowing is magical. It gets super quiet – there’s practically no one walking around and the streets are almost empty. It’s like the city goes to sleep.

Luckily, having Trevi makes us get out and experience the peacefulness. And even though neither of us feel like bundling up and bracing the cold, her excitement when her paws hit the snow is worth it. She LOVES the snow. Like I’m not even kidding you, as soon as we let her off leash in the park, she’s like the Tasmanian Devil bombing around trying to dig for sticks and chasing every dog she sees. She’s definitely a winter creature.

Her parents on the other hand? Not so much.

We’d much rather be snuggled on the couch watching a movie and eating a bowl of soup. Or if it’s a Sunday, watching football (and yes, still eating soup).

30-Minute Roasted Garlic Cauliflower Chowder
30-Minute Roasted Garlic Cauliflower Chowder


  • ½ cup raw cashews, soaked for at least 2 hours
  • 1 head cauliflower
  • 1 small potato
  • 1 garlic bulb
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • ½ cup Sabra Roasted Garlic Hummus
  • ½ cup cooked quinoa
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 cups water (+ more as needed)
  • 2 teaspoons miso paste
  • 2 teaspoons nutritional yeast (optional)
  • Salt + pepper to taste
  • Additional garlic if desired


  1. Add cashews to a bowl, cover with hot water and let soak for at least 2 hours.
  2. While cashews are soaking, preheat the oven to 425ºF. Chop cauliflower into florets, and peel and chop the potatoes. Arrange on a baking sheet and drizzle with about 1½ tablespoons of oil. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Cut the top off the garlic bulb so that some of the cloves are slightly exposed. Drizzle with remaining oil and season with salt and pepper. Wrap bulb in tin foil and place on sheet with vegetables.

You can find complete recipes of this 30-Minute Roasted Garlic Cauliflower Chowder in

Vegan Rose Sauce

Vegan Rose Sauce

Happy Easter friends! How was your Easter weekend? Okay, so maybe Vegan Rose Pasta is not really that Easter friendly but when you are a vegetarian/vegan you tend to break all the food rules for holidays anyways. Like eating Mac + Cheese with Christmas dinner because… why not?

What did you eat for Easter dinner? J and I were not very traditional this year and stayed in to make homemade vegan sushi for dinner. It was sooo good! I’m by no means a sushi expert but making sushi at home is so much fun! But enough about sushi, this post is ALL ABOUT THE PASTA! Specifically, the best rose pasta I’ve ever had.

I made this recipe last week and was planning on sharing some festive no-bake cookies today but asked you on Facebook + Instagram which recipe you’d rather see first and this pasta won by a landslide. Dinner then dessert, amiright?! 😉

This Vegan Rose Sauce is SO luscious, rich, creamy and perfect. I honestly could eat this Vegan Rose Sauce with a spoon by itself. It’s that good. #SorryNotSorry #PassTheSpoonPlease

The creamy part of this Vegan Rose Pasta is made without cream or butter ironically. Before I ate plant-based I used to love cooking with lots of cream and lots of butter. I was the creamy pasta queen. I still am the creamy pasta cream just without all the cream, butter and stomach aches that seemed to always followed a dairy rich meal.

So what’re the magic ingredients in this Healthy Rose Sauce? Cashews and Pine Nuts.

Now, just here me out if the idea of adding nuts to your pasta sauce sounds totally weird. Soaking the nuts in hot water while you make the pasta (or overnight if you’re a better meal planner than me!) makes the cashews and pine nuts dissolve into creamy tomato saucy goodness when blended with the tomato sauce, garlic and herbs. If the idea of nuts in pasta sauce still seems kind of odd to you think of the role that pine nuts play in pesto – they add a nutty and luscious element to traditional pesto just like in this Creamy Vegan Rose Sauce. Yum. 🙂

Vegan Rose Sauce
Vegan Rose Sauce


  • 500 grams/1 pound farfalle pasta
  • 2 zucchinis, chopped
  • ⅓ cup raw cashews
  • 2 tbsp pine nuts
  • 2 cloves garlic (or ½ tsp garlic powder)
  • 1 red or white onion (or 1 tsp onion powder*)
  • ½ cup vegetable broth or reserved pasta water
  • ⅓ cup fresh basil (lightly packed) (or 1½ tsp dried basil)
  • 2 cups plain tomato sauce (pureed tomatoes)
  • ¼ cup nutritional yeast*
  • Sea Salt + Pepper to taste
  • Garnish
  • Fresh Parsley
  • Hot Pepper Flakes


  1. Soak cashews and pine nuts in boiling water for 20 minutes while preparing the rest of the ingredients (or soak the nuts overnight). In a large pot, cook pasta according to the directions on the box with the chopped up zucchini. Cook pasta until it is al dente.
  2. While the pasta and zucchini are cooking, prepare the sauce. Saute garlic and roughly chopped onions over medium high heat in vegetable broth or a bit of the starchy pasta water until the liquids are absorbed. Drain and rinse your nuts. Add the soaked cashews and pine nuts, sauteed garlic and onions, fresh basil, tomato sauce and nutritional yeast to the blender and blend until a thick and creamy sauce is formed. Add up to ½ cup of the starchy pasta water to the sauce if it is too thick (I added ⅓ of a cup). Taste and add sea salt and pepper to taste.

You can find complete recipes of this VEGAN ROSE SAUCE in