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Vegan Mushroom Pesto Spaghetti

 A simple recipe for the most delicious vegan mushroom pesto spaghetti with a freshly made cheese-free pesto and spinach for extra greens. Such a tasty dinner option.

Vegan spinach and mushroom spaghetti in a pink pasta bowl served with red wine

Vegan Mushroom Pesto Spaghetti


The most scrumptious pasta dish I've enjoyed in a while is this vegan mushroom pesto spaghetti.

Admittedly I am a sucker for any recipe with mushrooms but this is utterly delicious with the fresh pesto and the added spinach.

I was inspired to try this dish after seeing my friend Ness make mushroom pesto pasta and sharing the photos. 

Each time she made it and shared photos I thought I have to make that!

I hope you try it soon and love it as much as we do.


pesto being made in a mini food processor

Homemade or shop-bought pesto?



You can of course use shop-bought pesto to make this tasty mushroom pasta dish.

It's a good option as a quick standby meal, but you will get so much more flavour from homemade pesto and it's super quick and easy to make. 

It can be made in a pestle and mortar; in a blender or in a food processor.



Is pesto suitable for vegans?



If you make pesto at home, you can make sure it is vegan, but you have to specifically look for a vegan pesto if you buying it ready-made.

Most pesto contains Parmesan which isn't suitable for vegans or vegetarians.

My personal recommendations for shop-bought pesto are Sacla Gluten-Free Vegan Pesto, which I always have in my cupboard or Mr Organic Pesto which is dairy-free.

I've tried a lot of vegan pesto and these are the best in my opinion.


fresh basil in a colander

Is supermarket basil worth buying?


Basil is one of the few plants I have in the house and I add this tasty herb to so many dishes, including this fresh pesto.

Everyone says to grow your own basil and they seem to think supermarket basil isn't worth buying, but I think it's really worth picking up when you do your shopping.


How to make supermarket basil last longer


Here are a few tips to make sure supermarket basil lasts longer.

  1. Remove the packaging - Take it out of the plastic wrapping and pop the potted basil in a bowl (leaving it in its plastic potting container).
  2. Position it - Place it on a windowsill where it will get the most sunshine.
  3. Water it - Add plenty of water to the bowl for the plant to drink, but never water the soil.
  4. Plenty of water - Keep that water topped up. They like lots of water
  5. Picking basil - When you pick the basil, pinch leaves off near the stem, working your way around the plant, leaving leaves on each section, giving it a chance to re-grow.
  6. Be careful - Try not to tear the leaves or damage the stem.
  7. Keep it in good condition - If any leaves are going yellow, pinch them off at the stem.


Do you need to add vegan cheese to pesto?


Not really, but it is good when you add a vegan-style parmesan cheese like Violife's Prosociana, which is an excellent copy of parmesan with that wonderful tang.

I buy a few at a time from the Vegan Cheese Shop (online) and keep it in the freezer until I need it.

It's not always easy to find in local supermarkets.

On this occasion, I didn't bother adding it. 

I didn't want the sauce to be cheesy, I just wanted the garlicky basil flavour to shine through the sauce.


Which nuts are best in pesto?


There are so many different nuts you can use when making pesto and each one will change the flavour and texture.

I have used cashew nuts, pine nuts, roasted salted peanuts, walnuts and even pistachios.

For this pesto I decided to keep it traditional and used pine nuts.

For a cheaper version, use peanuts, but if they are already salted you won't need to add extra salt to the pesto.


nutritional yeast (also known as nooch) in a dip bowl

Can you add nutritional yeast to pesto?


Nutritional yeast or nooch as it is also called,  is a good option to add to pesto in place of vegan cheese.

It gives a good cheesy flavour and it also adds vitamin B 12, which can be hard to include in your diet as a vegan.


How long will homemade made pesto last?


Homemade pesto will keep in a clean jar or other airtight containers for 4-5 days.

You can top it up with a little extra olive oil to keep it moist.


Can pesto be frozen?


Pesto freezes well.

It will keep for 3-4 months in the freezer. 

Still safe to eat after 3-4 months, but the quality won't be as good.

My recommendation is to freeze it in ice cube trays, then pop in a freezer bag, so you can grab some when you need it and add it to sauces or use it as dip or spread.

To defrost, leave it in a tub in the fridge overnight or just throw it into a cooking sauce frozen, while the sauce cooks. It will soon melt into the sauce.


sliced mushrooms in a bowl

Which type of mushrooms are best in pasta?


It depends on the type of pasta or sauce you are making.

In general, closed cup mushrooms, chestnut mushrooms and large flat mushrooms like portobello mushrooms all work well in pasta dishes.

Wild mushrooms can add extra flavour, but I prefer the sturdier, everyday mushrooms.

I used large white closed cup mushrooms for this mushroom spaghetti.


mushroom pesto pasta



How to add extra flavour to cooked mushrooms


Mushrooms will soak up lots of flavour when cooking.

Saute them in olive oil and add garlic while the mushrooms are cooking.

The key is to season them well with salt and pepper. Lots of black pepper.

You can also add a pinch of chilli flakes if you like for a wee zing of flavour.

Cook the mushrooms until they release liquid, then soak it all up again.


bowl of spinach

Cooking spinach with spaghetti


No need to cook spinach or wilt it before adding it to a pasta dish like this pesto spaghetti.

Just add it to the cooking pasta and it drains with the pasta.

Add it for the last minute or two and no earlier.

It really just needs to be wilted in the hot water,

You can add fresh or frozen spinach.

It's a good way to get extra greens and flavour into a dish.

Also, try this Summer Pasta where the veg is also cooked with the pasta.


close up of mushroom pesto spaghetti


Give wholemeal spaghetti a try


We all know wholemeal or brown bread, rice and pasta are better for us.

But, it can be a hard swap to make when it comes to pasta.

Wholemeal pasta tends to be a bit nuttier and has more bite to it, so many people try then never go back to it again.

If you've completely changed to wholemeal pasta, I salute you,

Spaghetti was the one I decided to tackle first, it's a much easier swap than say a penne where there's much more pasta in each bite.

I did get some resistance from my husband, but after eating it a few times, he really doesn't notice now.

It's all about getting used to something new isn't it?

vegan mushroom dishes - a stew, a pasta dish, a soup and a tartMore vegan mushroom recipes to try after this mushroom spaghetti


Here are some of my favourite mushroom dishes.


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A simple recipe for the most delicious vegan mushroom pesto spaghetti with a freshly made cheese-free pesto and spinach for extra greens. Such a tasty dinner option.

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How to Make Vegan Mushroom Pesto Pasta

Scroll down for step-by-step photos followed by a full printable recipe. If you don't have a printer, hit print then save as a PDF.

Making mushroom pesto spaghetti - step 1

Step 1


  • Start to boil water in a deep pan and when it's at a rapid bowl add the spaghetti and stir well.
  • While the water is boiling, start to cook the mushrooms. Saute them in olive oil, add garlic and season well with salt and pepper.

Making mushroom pesto spaghetti - step 2

Step 2


  • Now make the pesto. You can make it in a pestle and mortar, food processor or blender. (full recipe below in the printable recipe card).
  • Add fresh basil, garlic, pine nuts (see above for alternatives), olive oil, salt and pepper and blend until fairly smooth.
  • Set aside.

Making mushroom pesto spaghetti - step 3

Step 3


  • In the last minute or two of pasta cooking time (sometimes wholemeal spaghetti needs a few minutes more than standard pasta), add the spinach to the pot to let it wilt and take a scoop of the pasta water and reserve.
  • Drain the pasta and spinach well, then add back into the pan. Add the pasta water and stir in.
  • Now add the cooked mushrooms and all the pesto and stir well to combine.
  • Serve and enjoy!

vegan pasta, vegan spaghetti, pesto spaghetti, mushroom pasta
dinner
Italian, vegan
Yield: 4-6
Author: Jacqueline Meldrum
Vegan Mushroom Pesto Spaghetti

Vegan Mushroom Pesto Spaghetti

A simple recipe for the most delicious vegan mushroom pesto spaghetti with a freshly made cheese-free pesto and spinach for extra greens. Such a tasty dinner option.
Prep time: 6 MinCook time: 14 MinTotal time: 20 Min

Ingredients

  • 50g (1/2 cup) olive oil
  • 2 large clove garlic
  • 500g (17 oz) large closed cup mushrooms
  • 20g (1 cup) fresh basil
  • 100g (3/4 cup) pine nuts
  • 1 large handful spinach
  • 400g (14 oz) wholemeal spaghetti
  • Salt and pepper

Instructions

  1. In a large pan, bring salted water (make sure it's deep) to a rapid bowl and add the spaghetti, giving it a good stir.
  2. While the water is boiling start to cook the mushrooms. Saute them in a little of the oil (the rest is for the pesto) with one clove of crushed or grated garlic until soft. Season well with salt and pepper.
  3. Once the pasta is on and the mushrooms are cooking, make the pesto. You can make it in a pestle and mortar, food processor or blender. I used a food processor.
  4. Add the rest of the oil, the basil, 1 clove of garlic, pine nuts, salt and pepper and blend until fairly smooth. Set aside.
  5. When the spaghetti is nearly cooked (I find wholemeal spaghetti needs 2 or 3 minutes longer than the pack says), add the spinach and scoop out some of the pasta water (just a few tablespoons).
  6. Once the pasta is cooked, drain well and add the pasta and spinach back to the pan, add the pasta water and stir well.
  7. Now add the cooked mushrooms and the pesto and stir well to combine.
  8. Serve and enjoy!

Notes

Calories

4 huge portions = 951 calories

5 large portions = 761 calories

6 standard portions = 634 calories


Spinach

You can use fresh or frozen spinach (frozen will have to go into the pan a few minutes sooner to give it time to melt.


Nooch

You can add 2 tablespoons of nutritional yeast or vegan-style parmesan to the pesto


Cut the calories

You can cut the calories by using less of the pesto

Nutrition Facts

Calories

634.08

Fat (grams)

31.12

Sat. Fat (grams)

4.88

Carbs (grams)

100.23

Fiber (grams)

3.6

Net carbs

96.63

Sugar (grams)

32

Protein (grams)

15.78

Sodium (milligrams)

313.55

Cholesterol (grams)

1.67

14 comments

  1. Such a great simple vegan meal. Love the hearty mushrooms in the mix!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Comforting, delicious and good for you. Love all the fresh herbs used to make this pesto. Yum!

    ReplyDelete
  3. This made such a satisfying dinner! This pasta was so tasty, hearty, and love that it's vegetarian too!

    ReplyDelete
  4. I have put this on this week's meal plan. You are always my first stop. Jill

    ReplyDelete
  5. I have mushrooms to use up & this is just the thing. Thanks D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love pesto flavor in my spaghetti, tour version sounds so good! So trying it out.

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    2. You will definitely enjoy this one then Neha.

      Delete
  6. Ahhh, I thought you made mushroom pesto, so I was real curious about that! Love this recipe. Spring perfection.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't think that would be all that great. The texture would be slightly wrong.

      Delete

I love reading comments, so thank you for taking the time to leave one. Unfortunately, I'm bombarded with spam, so I've turned on comment moderation. I'll publish your comments as soon as I can and respond to them. Don't panic, they will disappear when you hit publish. Jac x