This creamy vegan garlic mushroom pasta is a heartier play on the creamy garlic lemon-pepper pasta I shared earlier this year. The amount of lemon juice is reduced in favor of heaps of garlicky sautéed mushrooms, a small amount of minced parsley is added for a spring green pop of freshness, and the seasoning is upped just a touch to enhance the overall savoriness of the dish.
Just like its lemony predecessor, this pasta comes together in a speedy 30 minutes using simple techniques and just a brief list of ingredients that you’re likely to already have on hand.
It’s the perfect weeknight meal for a family but something about it also feels special, almost fancy. Perhaps it’s those mushrooms? Thus, in my book, it’s also ideal for date nights and weekend dinner parties with friends.
Dress it up, dress it down.
Just be sure to give it a whirl, because it’s a dream for any and all lovers of creamy pasta, garlic, and mushrooms.
To make this creamy vegan garlic mushroom pasta, you’ll start by cooking your noodles of choice and boiling 2 1/2 cups of fresh cauliflower florets until fork tender. (Note: I don’t recommend using frozen cauliflower, because it negatively affects the consistency of the sauce.)
Add the cauliflower florets to a blender along with a cup of plant-based milk, 1/4 cup raw cashews, a couple tablespoons of nutritional yeast, a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, a spoonful of apple cider vinegar, a pinch of sea salt, and several grinds of freshly ground black pepper. Give it all a lengthy two-minute whirl around the blender, ensuring that it’s completely smooth and silky.
Meanwhile, heat a large sauté pan over high heat and add one pound of sliced cremini mushrooms. Dry sautéing the mushrooms maintains a rich, meaty texture as opposed to bogging them down with liquids and turning them to mush.
Once the mushrooms are tender and golden brown, you’ll reduce the heat and add lots of freshly minced garlic and a light drizzle of olive oil. Continue to cook for another minute, or until the garlic mellows.
Then, stir in the cauliflower cream sauce, increase the heat, and simmer for just one minute, or until the sauce is hot and bubbly.
Finally, turn off the heat, add the cooked pasta to the pan, and toss to coat. Generously season to taste with sea salt and black pepper and garnish with minced parsley.
Even if you’re not typically a fan of parsley (my hand is raised), I strongly recommend that you add at least a little bit. It adds a lovely pop of freshness that balances the richness of the mushrooms and sauce in the best of ways.
As the recipe is written, the sauce is quite thick (like an alfredo), so if you prefer a slightly thinner sauce (I do), I recommend adding an additional 1/4 to 1/2 cup of plant-based milk at this point.
This helps yield a thinner, silkier sauce. Just be sure to increase the seasoning to accommodate the additional liquid.
Serve the pasta hot and enjoy.
Creamy Vegan Garlic Mushroom Pasta
- 12 ounces gluten-free linguine or rigatoni*
Garlic-Mushroom Cream Sauce
- 2 1/2 cups small, 1-inch fresh cauliflower florets, stemmed (not frozen)
- 1 cup plain, unsweetened plant-based milk , plus more as needed to thin (I use almond milk)
- 1/4 cup raw cashews**
- 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast flakes, plus more to taste if desired
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, plus more to taste if desired
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt, plus more to taste
- 3/4 to 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
- 1 pound cremini or button mushrooms, brushed or wiped clean, trimmed, and thickly sliced
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 6 cloves garlic or to taste, minced
- 1 tablespoon stemmed and minced flatleaf parsley, plus more to taste***
For the Pasta
- Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil. (As they say, your pasta water should be as salty as the sea.)
- Add the pasta and cook until al dente.
- Strain off the cooking water.
For the Garlic-Mushroom Cream Sauce
- Meanwhile, bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Add the cauliflower florets to the pot and boil for 7 minutes or until very fork-tender. Strain off the water.
- Add the boiled cauliflower florets, 1 cup of the plant-based milk, cashews, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, sea salt, and black pepper to a high-speed blender (do not use a food processor).
- Blend on high for 2 minutes or until completely smooth and creamy. Set within reach of the stove.
- Heat a large pan over high heat. Once the pan is hot, add the mushrooms, reduce heat to medium-high, and cook for 4 minutes, or until tender, nudging them around the pan as needed to prevent burning. It will initially seem like the mushrooms might burn but this is about the point when they will release their liquid. Continue cooking until there is just the tiniest amount of mushroom liquid remaining in the pan and the mushrooms have a deep golden-brown glisten to them.
- Then, reduce heat to medium-low and add the garlic and olive oil. Continue to cook for another 2 minutes, or until the garlic mellows and softens, stirring frequently.
- Stir in the cauliflower sauce, increase the heat to medium, and simmer for 1 minute, or until hot and bubbly.
- Turn off the heat, add the pasta to the pan, and toss to coat. If a slightly thinner sauce is desired, add more plant-based milk, one small splash at a time, to thin (I usually add another 1/4 to 1/2 cup). (Note: If you add more milk, you'll need to increase the seasoning to accommodate.)
- Taste and generously season with more sea salt and black pepper to taste.
- Serve immediately.