Laura Chepner is a teacher, environmentalist, and vegan-inclusion educational consultant from the United Kingdom. She is the author of the new book, Veducated! An Educator's Guide for Vegan-Inclusive Teaching.

Laura graduated from Manchester Metropolitan University in 2009 with a BA in Primary Education and specialization in Global Citizenship and the Humanities. Upon recognizing a gap in vegan inclusion and education, both in her capacity as a teacher and as the mother of a vegan student (Lois, now 6), Chepner formed the United Kingdom's first non-profit, vegan, school consultancy company "Primary Veducation" in 2017. She frequently presents to school staff and parents at events supporting vegan-inclusion, and has successfully campaigned for plant-based options on both private and public-sector menus.

 

Mushroom and Pea Carbonara with Cashew Mascarpone


1 Ib. Organic Pasta

soaked in 1-1/2 cups hot water

3 stalks celery, diced fine

2 carrots

1 org. pepper, seeds removed, diced- orange or red

1 onion, chopped

8 cups oyster mushrooms

1 cup fresh or frozen peas

3 Tbs. tomato paste

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

1 cup vegetable broth

½ cup cashews, soaked for 2 hours

½ cup red wine

2 teaspoons dried oregano

1 t. dried basil

½ t. dried thyme

2 Tbs. minced garlic

½  t. red pepper flakes (optional)

3 Tbs. chopped fresh Italian parsley

1-1/2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon pepper


Coat bottom of cast iron pan with olive oil. Sauté onions, carrots, celery for a few minutes, then add garlic and cook for 5 minutes. Cut the mushrooms into strips. Add the mushrooms, and cook for 10 minutes, until well done.  Add the peppers, the dried herbs, and the tomato paste and cook for 5 minutes.  De-glaze the pan with the red wine and vegetable broth, and let the mixture cook down for about 10 minutes, until the liquid is reduced by half. 

In a mini food processor, mix the drained cashews with ½ cup of fresh water. Pulse until completely smooth, scraping down sides of processor to incorporate all of the cashews. Add cashew mixture to the sauce. Taste and adjust salt, pepper and add the parsley. 

Meanwhile, cook pasta according to directions in salted water, (al dente). Time it, so that the pasta just comes out of the water, when you are ready to mix it with the sauce. Reserve some of the pasta water to add to the Carbonara sauce if it needs to be thinned out. Garnish with parsley.