An easy Mushroom Pesto Pasta recipe with tomatoes! Completely dairy-free and oil-free, but so rich & creamy thanks to homemade "buttermilk" and pesto. A satisfying comfort meal made healthier! (Vegan, gluten-free, oil-free.)
This recipe is loosely inspired by the "Pesto Cavatappi" at Noodles and Company.
That dish was a favorite during my college days (pre-vegan) so it's been over a decade since I've had it. But I remember the flavors well, and had to try a remake at home.
This version is made without dairy and heavy cream, but it's actually much creamier and luscious. Instead of the heavy whipping cream, we make an easy buttermilk with only 2 ingredients. Then we combine it with a homemade cashew pesto. Creamy bliss!
I find this to be a fantastic (healthier) replicate for the nostalgic comfort meal I once enjoyed.
Ingredients for Mushroom Pesto Pasta
For this recipe you will stir together in a large skillet or fry pan on the stove:
- Pasta: Fusilli or penne pasta works great with this recipe. Be sure to use gluten-free pasta if desired. I use organic brown rice & quinoa fusilli.
- Fresh garlic cloves: Use 3 to 4 cloves (more or less) based on your preference. I love garlic and it adds a lot of great flavor to the sauce, so I use four cloves.
- Mushrooms: Most often I use cremini mushrooms, but you can use white button, shiitake, portobello, oyster, or a combination.
- Beefsteak tomato: You'll need one large beefsteak tomato for this recipe. However you can also use about 3 roma tomatoes, or other garden tomato if needed to substitute.
- Plant milk: Any dairy-free milk should work. Just be sure it's plain and unsweetened. I use homemade cashew milk, but you can use almond milk, soy milk, etc.
- Apple cider vinegar: Or substitute distilled white vinegar. We'll combine this with the milk to create a simple vegan "buttermilk". It adds a slightly tangy, creamy richness to the sauce.
- Vegan pesto: I use one full batch of my homemade (oil-free!) Cashew Pesto for this recipe. It's made in a food processor with cashew nuts, fresh basil, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, milk, and garlic. Feel free to use your own favorite pesto however. Just be aware most classic pesto sauces contain dairy and olive oil.
- Salt/pepper: Stir in salt and black pepper to taste before serving.
Tip: My homemade pesto keeps well in the refrigerator for about 3 days. So I like to make a batch ahead of time for this recipe.
Vegetables: Instead of the mushrooms you can try adding other veggies such as asparagus, peas, bell pepper, broccoli, onion, Brussels sprouts, spinach, etc.
Add heat: Sprinkle red pepper flakes on top before serving for a little spice.
Parmesan: Garnish your bowl with vegan parmesan cheese before serving if desired. Either use your favorite store-bought version, or homemade parmesan made with cashews or pine nuts.
Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge. I find they keep for about 3-4 days. Simply reheat in the microwave when ready to enjoy.
For more inspiration, also browse all vegan pasta recipes or mushroom recipes.
Mushroom Pesto Pasta (Vegan)
- 8 oz. fusilli or penne pasta (gluten-free if desired)
- 8 oz. mushrooms (I use cremini)
- 3-4 cloves garlic
- 1 large beefsteak tomato
- 3/4 cup Cashew Pesto (or other vegan pesto)
- Salt/pepper to taste (or vegan parmesan for serving)
For the vegan buttermilk:
- 1/2 cup plant milk (plain & unsweetened)
- 2 tsp. apple cider vinegar (or white vinegar)
- Cook pasta according to package instructions, leaving al dente (slightly firm, not mushy). Drain when finished.
- Meanwhile, make the buttermilk: Add milk and vinegar to a small bowl/jar. Stir and set aside for a few minutes. It should slightly curdle.
- Prepare veggies: Slice mushrooms, mince garlic, and chop tomato.
- In a large pan over medium-high heat, sauté mushrooms for 5-7 minutes. (I use 3 Tbsp. water/broth for no-oil sauté method, adding more as needed.)
- When mushrooms are softened, add garlic. Stir and sauté 1 minute.
- Add tomato and buttermilk mixture. Stir and cook 3-4 minutes.
- Decrease heat to low. Add pasta (cooked & drained) and pesto. Stir well to combine and heat through for 1-2 minutes.
- Salt and pepper to taste. Serve with vegan parmesan if desired.
Nutrition Per Serving (Estimate)
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