I always get the cacio e pepe at this Italian vegan restaurant called Pura Vita in West Hollywood. It is THE BEST! They make it with light cashew cream, which has the perfect amount of acidity to trick the palette. It’s also served on bucatini which is just delightful. Probably one of my favorite pasta shapes!
It inspired me to make an even easier version of cacio e pepe because I have a level up your leftovers version in my latest cookbook, hot for food all day, but that requires making corn chowder first. Not always gonna happen, right? This recipe calls for store-bought vegan parmesan, a little vegan butter, mellow white miso, starchy pasta water, and pepper or pepe!
Not all store-bought vegan parmesan cheeses are the same! My personal favorite is the parmesan block from Violife, but for this, I had the new Trader Joe’s parmesan cheese alternative shreds on hand and they’re mighty tasty. They worked really well for this, so I would 100% recommend giving them a try. It’s much cheaper too!
OK, are you ready for the easiest way to make vegan cacio e pepe? Just because it’s easy doesn’t mean it sucks! That little bit of miso makes all the difference so don’t skip over it. I also used these noodles I bought in Italy. I’ve never seen reginette in North America before so I had to bring it back from my trip! They’re super duper long which is fun.
how to make the easiest vegan cacio e pepe
All you do is boil your pasta in generously salted water and just before it’s near al dente, heat up a large pan over medium, melt the butter, toast the pepper a little, and add miso and pasta water, then the cheese. Let it melt WITHOUT STIRRING IT—that’s important! Then toss those noods in the sauce and serve immediately so it’s at its best, freshest, and most tastiest!
easiest vegan cacio e pepe
- 250 g long pasta (spaghetti or bucatini works best)
- 2 tbsp vegan butter
- 1 1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
- 1/2 tbsp mellow white miso
- 1 cup shredded vegan parmesan
- 1 C starchy pasta water
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Generously salt it before adding the pasta. Cook pasta to just before al dente.
Just before the pasta is ready, heat a large skillet over medium heat and melt the butter. Once melted add the pepper and cook for about 1 minute to lightly toast it.
Add miso and parmesan. Ensure the parmesan is in an even layer so it can melt evenly. Do not stir it. Add about 1/3 cup of pasta water and allow cheese to melt completely. Then add the cooked pasta and toss well to combine well in the sauce. Add a little bit more pasta water a time if needed to get a smooth shiny sauce that coats the pasta. Plate and eat immediately for best results. Garnish with more fresh ground pepper as desired.
Save remaining pasta water for reheating the leftovers if you have any! It will help get the cheese smooth and glossy again as it will congeal once cooled.