This vegan spinach pesto pasta with mushrooms is a quick and healthy weeknight dinner that comes together in 30 minutes.
This creamy green pasta is kind of a genius recipe, if I do say so myself. It’s the perfect, low-effort-high-impact meal that requires almost zero kitchen skills. It comes together in just the time it takes to boil a box of pasta and calls for minimal equipment. Seriously, if you can make a smoothie, you can make this pasta.
This basil spinach pesto pasta is vegan, but it’s so rich, creamy, and savory, you may actually find yourself wondering, Did someone put cream in this when I wasn’t looking?
The key to the creaminess here is, unsurprisingly, nuts. Roasted almonds get blended into this basil-spinach pesto, creating a rich-tasting, thick sauce that coats every single piece of pasta, turning it bright green – neon, almost. Miso is responsible for its savory, cheesy flavor.
As you know, traditional pesto is made with basil. Adding baby spinach to the sauce makes it super green and also adds lots of nutrients, like Vitamins A, C, and K, folate, iron.
You start this basil spinach pesto pasta by boiling a pot of water and sautéing mushrooms. The meaty mushrooms combined with the creamy, verdant pesto create the perfect balance.
Then you combine all your pesto ingredients in a blender (or Nutribullet, Vitamix) and start cooking the pasta. After a few minutes of boiling the pasta, the cooking water will turn cloudy, meaning starch has been released into the water.
At this point, you scoop out some of that water, add it to the blender, and puree the pesto until it’s smooth and bright green. The hot pasta water actually cooks the spinach in the blender, and assists in softening and pureeing the almonds.
This recipe works with almost any short, non-tubular pasta shape, like gemelli, orecchiette, or shells. If you enjoy this dish, be sure to try this creamy tomato pasta, too.Print
This creamy, vegan basil-spinach pesto pasta is a quick and healthy weeknight dinner that comes together in 30 minutes.
- 1 pound short pasta, like gemelli, orecchiette, or shells
- Fine sea salt, to taste
- 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 8 ounces cremini mushrooms, sliced
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 3 packed cups baby spinach
- 2 packed cups basil
- 1/2 cup roasted almonds
- 2 medium garlic cloves, roughly chopped
- 2 tablespoons white miso
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil.
- Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add the mushrooms with a pinch of salt and pepper, and cook until golden brown, about 8 minutes.
- In a blender, combine the spinach, basil, almonds, garlic, miso, lemon juice, the remaining 3 tablespoons of oil, and lots of black pepper. Set aside.
- Cook the pasta according to package directions until just shy of al dente. After about 5 minutes – when the pasta is not yet cooked through but the water is cloudy – scoop out about 1 cup of the starchy cooking water. Add 1/2 cup of pasta water to the blender and puree until the pesto is smooth and creamy.
- Drain the pasta and return it to the pot. Add the mushrooms and pesto, and stir to combine, adding about 1/4 cup more of the starchy water to achieve a creamy consistency. Serve immediately.
- Serving Size: 1/6 of the recipe
- Calories: 400
- Fat: 14.8 g
- Carbohydrates: 56.9 g
- Fiber: 4.3 g
- Protein: 12.6 g
Keywords: vegan, pesto, pasta, spinach, basil