A classic, simple mushroom pesto pasta with sautéed cremini mushrooms and vegan pesto. (This article has been updated from its original March 2017 version.)
Sometimes, you just need a big bowl of pasta at the end of the day. Whether you’ve had a rough one, or just want to treat yourself, this mushroom pesto pasta always hits the spot. The whole thing comes together in the time it takes to boil a pot of water and you can use whatever herbs, nuts/seeds, and mushrooms you’ve already got on-hand.
How to Make This Mushroom Pesto Pasta
This weeknight-friendly pasta comes together in three simple steps: first you sauté some mushrooms, then you make pesto in a food processor, and finally toss everything together with hot pasta.
How to Make Vegan Pesto
As you probably know, traditional pesto is made with basil, pine nuts, and lots of Parmesan cheese. For vegan pesto, I use white miso as a Parmesan substitute. It lends a similar “cheesy,” savory flavor that rounds out the whole dish.
I recommend making a double batch of the pesto for stashing in the fridge. It’s great for spreading on sandwiches or tossing with roasted vegetables. Pesto also freezes nicely, which is useful if you don’t plan on using it up within a week.
With all that said, if you’re feeling lazy, this pasta dish will work just as well with store-bought pesto. Just be sure to look for a brand that uses high quality ingredients and no artificial preservatives.
Ingredients and Substitutions
- Pasta: Mushroom pesto pasta works best with short pasta (instead of something like spaghetti) because the pesto gets into all its little crevices. I recommend something non-tubular, like farfalle as seen here, orecchiette, gemelli, or shells.
- Mushrooms: I used cremini (aka baby bella) mushrooms here because they’re available everywhere. Feel free to use other types, like shiitake or oyster, but steer clear from white button mushrooms since they don’t have any flavor.
- Basil: Classic pesto is made with basil, but I encourage you to experiment with other herbs and greens, like parsley, cilantro, spinach, and even arugula!
- Nuts: Traditionally, pesto is made with pine nuts, which can be expensive and hard to find. I find it works just as well with almost any roasted nuts, including almonds, pistachios, and walnuts. If you have a nut allergy, toasted pumpkin and sunflower seeds work, too.
Check out these other pasta recipes…
- Pasta with Fried Leeks, Peas and Lemon
- Creamy Basil-Spinach Pesto Pasta
- Vegetable Lasagna with Cashew Ricotta
Pasta with sautéed mushrooms and vegan basil pesto is a simple weeknight dinner that always hits the spot.
For the Mushrooms and Pasta
- 3/4 pound short pasta, like farfalle, gemelli, or shells
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 10 ounces cremini mushrooms, sliced
- Pinch of salt + pepper
For the Pesto
- 3 packed cups basil leaves (about 1 large bunch)
- 1/3 cup roasted almonds, pistachios, or walnuts, or toasted pumpkin or sunflower seeds
- 1 medium garlic clove, roughly chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon white miso
- 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- Boil a large pot of water for the pasta.
- Heat the oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add the mushrooms, salt, and pepper, and cook until golden brown, 8 to 10 minutes.
- Make the pesto. In a food processor, combine the basil, nuts, and garlic. Pulse until everything is broken down. Then add the lemon juice, miso, salt, and pepper. With the motor running, gradually stream in the oil and puree until smooth. Taste and adjust the seasonings, if needed.
- Generously salt the boiling water and cook the pasta according to package directions until al dente.
- Drain the pasta and return to the pot. Add the mushrooms and pesto and toss to combine.
- Serving Size: 1/4 of the recipe
- Calories: 460
Keywords: pasta, mushrooms, pesto, vegan, basil