This vegan spinach pesto pasta with mushrooms is a simple weeknight dinner that comes together in 30 minutes. Such a delicious way to eat your greens!
This creamy green pasta is kind of a genius recipe, if I do say so myself. It’s the kind of 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? Let’s dive in!
What is This Magical Creamy Spinach Pesto Pasta
This green pasta sauce is made of baby spinach, fresh basil, roasted almonds, garlic, miso, lemon juice, and olive oil. It’s creamy, absolutely delicious, and bursting with freshness – thanks to the abundance of fresh greens.
As you likely already know, traditional pesto is made with basil. Adding baby spinach to the sauce makes it super green – neon almost! – and also adds lots of nutrients, like Vitamins A, C, and K, folate, iron.
The key to the creaminess here is, unsurprisingly, nuts. The roasted almonds create a thick and rich-tasting basil-spinach pesto. Meanwhile, miso is responsible for this pasta’s savory, cheesy flavor.
How to Make This Pasta
Start this basil spinach pesto pasta by bringing a large pot of water to a boil for the pasta and sautéing some mushrooms until they’re golden brown. The meaty mushrooms combined with the creamy, verdant pesto create the perfect balance in this dish.
Like many of the world’s greatest pastas (see: cacio e pepe, carbonara), this green sauce would not be possible without starchy pasta water – a.k.a. liquid gold. 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, 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.
Lastly, drain the pasta and combine it with the sautéed mushrooms and pesto. Like all creamy pastas, this should be served immediately.
Ingredients and Substitutions
- Pasta: This recipe works with almost any short pasta shape, like gemelli, orecchiette, or shells.
- Mushrooms: I use cremini here because they are affordable and easy to find. Feel free to swap in shiitake, oyster, or maitake mushrooms.
- Spinach: I recommend baby spinach because it wilts easily into the pesto and doesn’t need to be pre-cooked.
- Almonds: Can be substituted with cashews or pistachios here. In case of a nut allergy, try pumpkin seeds.
More vegan pastas…
- Pasta with Fried Leeks, Peas and Lemon
- Vegetable Lasagna with Cashew Ricotta
- Creamy Tomato Pasta with Vegan Vodka Sauce
- The Easiest Chickpea Tomato Pasta
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