Creamy Mushroom Zucchini Pasta is an easy and healthy vegan meal that is quick to make for a weeknight dinner or meal prep. The zucchini is spiralized and tossed with regular or gluten-free spaghetti in flavorful plant-based creamy sauce made with aromatic baby bella mushrooms, onions and garlic.
There is nothing more comforting than a bowl of spaghetti in my opinion. Though I absolutely love pasta and always have, I don’t eat it often, mostly because of high carb content. However, when I do have a serious pasta craving, I try to think up ways to make it lighter and nutritious. Usually this means replacing it with spaghetti squash or zucchini noodles and serving them with a classic meat sauce, shrimp or fresh tomato sauce.
Recently, I discovered chickpea and red lentil pasta and it was love at first taste. The texture is so close to the real thing and yet these noodles are made 100% with chickpeas or red lentils. That’s a true win-win in my book! My chickpea pasta obsession started with this Creamy Veggie Chickpea Pasta Bake recipe.
For this dish, I decided to combine chickpea spaghetti with spiralized zucchini and serve it with flavorful, cashew-based creamy sauce made with mushrooms, onions and garlic. The effect is a purely comforting pasta bowl that’s bursting with umami flavors.
What you will need
- Zucchini: use medium sized firm zucchini. They will work best for spiralizing.
- Pasta: I used chickpea spaghetti but use whatever spaghetti or linguine you like. Regular white pasta, whole wheat or brown rice pasta will all work.
- Mushrooms: you can use baby bella mushrooms like me, or any mushrooms you like: regular button mushrooms, sliced portabella or wild mushroom blend.
- Cashews: use raw unsalted cashews for a neutral tasting cashew cream.
- Nutritional Yeast: to add cheesy flavor to the dish without using dairy. If you’re not familiar with nutritional yeast, see my note.
- Onion & garlic: because every sauce needs them. Use fresh white or yellow onion and fresh garlic.
- Fresh herbs: fresh basil, dill or parsley leaves are sprinkled on top of the dish for a nice fresh finish.
- Red pepper flakes: if you like a hint of spicy, finish the dish with a light sprinkle of pepper flakes.
How to make creamy zucchini mushroom pasta
STEP 1: Soak the cashews. Place the cashews in a small bowl or cup and cover with boiling water. Set aside for at least 15 minutes to soak, then drain.
STEP 2: Cook the pasta. In the meantime, bring a large pot of water to a boil, add 1 -2 tablespoons of salt and cook the pasta al dente according to packaging instructions. Drain the pasta reserving some cooking liquid (a cup or so) and set aside.
STEP 3: Spiralize the zucchini. Turn the zucchini into thin long noodles using a spiralizer (I use this one from Amazon).
STEP 4: Start the sauce. In a large skillet heat olive oil and add sliced mushrooms and chopped onion. Cook on medium heat until browned, stirring often. Add minced garlic at the end and cook together stirring until fragrant.
STEP 5: Make cashew cream. While the mushrooms and onions are cooking, place the soaked cashews, water and garlic in a blender and add nutritional yeast. Blend until smooth.
STEP 6: Make the sauce. Pour the cashew cream into the mushroom, onion and garlic mixture, stir and bring to a gentle boil.
STEP 7: Add zucchini. Turn the heat down, add spiralized zucchini and toss together. Cook zucchini in the sauce for about 2 minutes or until the zucchini is softened but not mushy.
STEP 8: Add cooked pasta. Once the zucchini is softened, toss the cooked spaghetti into the sauce and stir together. If the sauce seems thick, loosen it with some liquid you reserved from cooking the pasta, though no more than ¼ cup at a time or it might turn too watery.
STEP 9: Serve immediately sprinkled with chopped parsley leaves and enjoy!
Variations, substitutions and special diets
My version of this dish is vegan and gluten-free but there are many ways you can make it your own, depending on your preferences and dietary restrictions. Here are some ideas:
- To make this dish low-carb, skip the pasta all together and use more zucchini noodles (4 instead of 2). You can also use low-carb pasta substitute such as palm of hearts pasta.
- For a nut-free version, replace cashew cream with half and half. Just mix it with nutritional yeast and add to mushrooms and onions.
- If you don’t like or have nutritional yeast, you can replace it with vegan or regular grated parmesan cheese.
- No chickpea pasta? Just use regular white pasta and it will also be delicious, though less nutrient-dense.
- If you are a carnivore and like higher protein dishes, you can add some chopped cooked chicken breast to the sauce.
Storage and meal prep tips
This Creamy Mushroom Zucchini Pasta will keep in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to five days. If you are meal prepping, divide the dish between a couple of smaller airtight glass containers and store in the refrigerator. When ready to serve, remove the lid and heat it up in the microwave for a minute or two. You can also transfer the pasta to a skillet and heat it up on the stove.
Other healthy comfort food ideas
Creamy Chicken and Mushroom Cauliflower Rice Casserole
Spaghetti Squash with Bacon, Spinach and Goat Cheese Skillet
Loaded Potato Cauliflower Soup
Creamy Veggie Chickpea Pasta with Feta Cheese
Mexican Inspired Quinoa Stuffed Peppers
Vegan Egg Roll in a Bowl with Tofu
If you try this Creamy Mushroom Zucchini Pasta and love them, or if you have any questions about this recipe please leave me a comment below!
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Creamy Vegan Zucchini Mushroom Pasta
- 2 medium zucchini
- 14 oz baby bella or white button mushrooms sliced
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large onion chopped
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 5 oz uncooked spaghetti of your choice I used chickpea spaghetti
- ⅔ cup raw cashews
- ⅔ cup cold water
- 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 1-2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves dill or basil (optional)
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes optional
- salt and black pepper to taste
- Place the cashews in a small bowl or cup and pour some boiling water over to cover. Set aside for at least 15 minutes to soak (preferably longer) and drain.
- Spiralize the zucchini using your favorite spiralizer such as this one from Amazon.
- In the meantime, bring a large pot of water to a boil, add 1 -2 tablespoons of salt and cook the pasta al dente according to packaging instructions. Drain the pasta reserving some cooking liquid (a cup or so) and set aside.
- In a large skillet heat olive oil and add sliced mushrooms and chopped onion. Cook on medium heat until browned, stirring often. Add minced garlic at the end and cook together stirring until fragrant.
- While the mushrooms and onions are cooking, place the soaked cashews in a standup blender, add nutritional yeast, garlic and ⅔ cup water. Blend until smooth.
- Pour the cashew cream into the mushroom, onion and garlic mixture, stir and bring to a gentle boil. Turn the heat down, add spiralized zucchini and toss together. Cook zucchini in the sauce for about 2 minutes.
- Once the zucchini is softened, toss the spaghetti into the sauce and stir together. Loosen the sauce with some liquid you reserved from cooking the pasta until you reach the desired consistency, though no more than ¼ cup at a time or it might turn too watery.
- Serve immediately sprinkled with chopped herbs and red pepper flakes (if using) and enjoy!