This vegan, gluten-free lean green avocado-spinach pesto pasta with sautéed mushrooms comes together in a pinch. With just a small handful of ingredients and about 30 minutes of time, you'll have a nourishing and super flavorful dinner for two.
I hope you all had a wonderful weekend! We spent ours working and getting things done around the house. Said housework included installing a new kitchen faucet because our old one fell apart while I was recipe-testing on Saturday. Apparently my Popeye-like strength -- must be all the avocado-spinach pesto I've been eating -- was too much for our faucet to withstand, because I went to turn off the water and the handle broke right off into the sink.
Dan and I pretended to be mildly dismayed as we confusedly eyed the detached faucet handle; however, we both later admitted to our happiness about the mishap because we had been wanting a snazzier faucet anyway. I woke up yesterday excited to do dishes while I worked in the kitchen. What? So strange but so true. New faucet = newfound appreciation for dishes.
I've been pretty much obsessed with recipe creation since we returned from Lake Tahoe, and I've spent three of the last seven days in the kitchen <-- this makes me super happy. It's amazing what some time off can offer us in terms of creativity, energy, and inspiration. Yet another reminder of the necessity of relaxation.
This pasta recipe stemmed from something I threw together for dinner last week at the end of a busy day. After posting this photo on Instagram and having a handful of people ask for the recipe, I spent time remaking, adjusting, and photographing so that I could officially share it on the blog.
Because I'm incredibly indecisive and couldn't decide on which pasta base to use, I ended up using two. Thus, you can pick your pasta path to dinner enlightenment by opting for either of these two beauts:
Option 1 | zucchini noodles
Option 2 | brown rice pasta
Both yield an equally-delicious result, but the zucchini noodles are obviously a bit lighter and less filling. On the other hand, the brown rice pasta is a heartier, more filling meal.
To make this versatile dish, you'll sauté baby bella mushrooms in olive oil until they're golden brown. If the mushrooms look familiar, it's because they're made using the same approach as the ones in this avocado toast from last week.
As your mushrooms are cooking, you'll make the pesto by adding avocado, baby spinach, raw almonds, garlic, lime juice, sea salt, and chili flakes to a food processor. Then, you'll process until you have a silky-smooth and creamy pesto sauce.
To assemble this dish, you'll add your zoodles or brown rice pasta to a large bowl, dollop on a generous amount of pesto, and toss to coat. Once you've divvied up the green goodness between two plates, you'll artfully scatter the mushrooms across the top of your pasta.
The result? A simple but flavor-packed pasta. The mushrooms add a heartiness that's comforting on a cold winter day, and the pesto is chock full of micronutrients thanks to the avocado, spinach, and almonds.
Lean Green Avocado-Spinach Pesto Pasta with Sautéed Mushrooms (vegan, gf)
For the Mushrooms
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 8 ounces baby bella mushrooms, stemmed and thickly sliced
For the Avocado-Spinach Pesto
- 1 avocado, halved, pitted, and peeled
- 3 cups baby spinach
- 1 tablespoons raw almonds
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 lime, halved
- ¼ to ½ teaspoon sea salt (I use ¼ + ⅛ teaspoon)
- Red pepper flakes, to taste
- 4 large zucchini (spiralized) or 8 ounces brown rice fusilli or penne
- large flake sea salt (optional)
To Make the Mushrooms
- Add the olive oil to a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add in the mushrooms and saute for 8-12 minutes, stirring infrequently to allow the mushrooms to turn golden-brown. Remove from stove and set aside.
To Make the Avocado-Spinach Pesto
- Add the flesh of the avocado, spinach, almonds, garlic, juice of the lime, sea salt, and chili flakes to a food processor. Process for 2-3 minutes, stopping to scrape down sides as needed, or until smooth and creamy.
- If you opt for zucchini noodles, you can serve them raw or cooked. If you want to cook them, simply add them to a large skillet over medium heat, and cook for 5-6 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Add your zucchini noodles or brown rice pasta to a large bowl. Top with desired amount of pesto (I usually have about ¼ cup of leftover pesto), toss to coat, and divide between plates.
- Top with mushrooms and a sprinkle of sea salt.
- Serve immediately.
Meredith @ Unexpectedly Magnificent says
Ashley, this recipe has been calling my name since you teased me with photos on Instagram. Pasta with pesto is my all-time favorite meal. This looks SO. GOOD. I love the addition of mushrooms! I've been trying to add more mushrooms to my diet; serving them with pasta is the perfect way to get me to eat them. ;)
Thanks so much, Meredith! Pesto pasta is a favorite of mine too! Mushrooms add such a hearty richness to this dish without overpowering it. I hope you have a chance to make this one soon! Enjoy :)
Celeste Jackson says
This looks like a great and satisfying weeknight dinner! Look forward to trying it!
Liz @ Floating Kitchen says
Love that artfully scattering the mushroom on top is part of the instructions!! This look beautiful. I just love the color!
My neighbor just brought me a bag of avocados that she and her kids picked locally. I can't wait to try them in this recipe and in your recently posted guacamole recipe!
What a generous neighbor, and how awesome that the avocados were picked locally -- I wish we had avocado trees in Chicago! I hope you enjoy this recipe and the guacamole, Heather!
This pesto sauce is delicious! I used spaghetti squash as the "pasta" and it worked perfectly. I made it last week and am making it again tonight. Thank you!
[email protected] says
I made this with Zucchini noodles for myself and Rice Noodles for my son. We both loved it. Thank you!
Hi Ashley! Thank you for all the hard work on this website. I really enjoy your recipes. I had a question, how long would this dish keep in the fridge if I mixed the pesto sauce with pasta? Thank you! Elisa
Hi, Elisa! I wouldn't keep it for more than 1 day or so because of the avocado (it browns and its flavor alters quite quickly).
Would the pesto be suitable to do as a big batch and portion out and freeze? I have a bunch of avocados to use before they turn, and my girls love 'green pasta' so love the idea of a healthier version of pesto
Hi, Catherine! Because of the avocado, I wouldn't recommend batching this recipe and freezing. It's definitely best enjoyed fresh.