This easy "no cream" vegan pasta is made with mushrooms sauteed in chili, cinnamon, and clove and a delicious sauce with tahini to coat the wholewheat fusilli. All topped with walnuts for a crunchy finish.
Pasta with creamy mushroom sauce is a great Italian classic, but it's usually prepared with cream which is not suitable for vegans or people with lactose intolerance.
In this recipe, instead, we have replaced cream with tahini, a smooth and tasty sesame paste which is perfect for making a vegan sauce. Using wholemeal pasta instead of the plain one boosts your fiber intake and adds a rich texture to the dish.
Prepare this healthy recipe and pack it for your next lunch at work as it provides a nutritious and balanced meal thanks to the combination of mushrooms, sesame and walnuts.
In fact, mushrooms are a great source of plant-based protein and are packed with vitamin D, fibers and minerals.
Tahini paste is rich in calcium, vitamin B complex, healthy unsaturated fats, and protein. You can get all the nutritional power of the sesame seeds if you use raw organic tahini paste. Finally, walnuts provide essential omega-3 fatty acids and iron.
Which mushrooms can I use for this vegan pasta?
In this recipe, we have used Shiitake mushrooms for their smoky flavour, fleshy texture, and beneficial properties.
However, you can definitely swap them with other varieties, such as Portobello, porcini, chestnut, oyster, chanterelle, or plain white mushrooms.
Also, if you have some dried mushrooms in your cupboard, this recipe is great for them too. Just remember to use one-third of the amount and rehydrate them by soaking in water for about 20 minutes. Then, add them to the other ingredients following our recipe above.
Which type of pasta should I use?
To make this recipe even healthier, we have used wholemeal pasta which packs three times more fibres than the plain white one. Also, gram per gram, it has fewer calories, making the perfect ingredient in weight loss diets.
White pasta is usually a more refined, processed product where the outer shell of the wheat grain is removed, and with it, essential nutrients are lost.
The fibres in whole-grain pasta keep you feel full for longer and slow down the digestion and metabolism of other nutrients. This way, you'll eat less during the day, thus consuming fewer calories overall.
In terms of pasta shapes, we recommend a short type of pasta, such as penne, fusilli, rigatoni, or farfalle. This way, they will hold the creamy tahini sauce better.
How can I make a creamy pasta sauce with vegan ingredients?
If you're following a vegan diet, have lactose intolerance or milk allergy, there are many ways to make a creamy pasta sauce without using dairy products.
In this recipe, we have used raw sesame paste, namely tahini. When you dilute this fantastic ingredient with a little water, it turns into a flavourful, rich pasta sauce that you can add to almost any dish.
Beside tahini, other great dairy-free alternatives to cream, double cream, butter, or creme fraiche are:
Silken tofu, as in this creamy courgette risotto recipe
Yogurt, like soy or coconut yogurt
Hummus, as in this kale hummus pasta recipe
Plant-based milk, such as almond, soy, oat, or hemp milk, mixed with a bit of potato or corn starch and added it to the pasta ingredients. With the heat, the starch will make a thick, dense, and creamy sauce.
- Shiitake Mushrooms
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Garlic Cloves
- Wholewheat Fusilli
- Fresh Parsley
Rinse and chop the shitake mushrooms slicing them into quarters.
Then, start boiling a pot of water for the pasta.
Meanwhile, toast the walnuts in a dry skillet or roast them in the oven at 160°C for 10 minutes until fragrant.
In a large skillet, heat the extra virgin olive oil and add crushed garlic.
Sizzle for a minute or until the garlic is fragrant, but don't let it burn. Then, stir in the oregano, cloves, cinnamon, and chilli flakes.
Add the prepared mushrooms and half a glass of water, and cook for 10 minutes. The mushrooms will release their juices and soften.
Then, season with salt and pepper to taste.
In the meantime, add the wholemeal pasta to a pot of boil water with a pinch of coarse salt.
Cook according to packet instructions or until the pasta is al dente, meaning cooked through but firm to the bite.
Then, drain the pasta, saving half a glass of cooking water for the tahini sauce.
Now, pour the water you have set aside into the skillet with the cooked mushrooms and add the tahini paste.
Stir well into a creamy pasta sauce, and add in fresh chopped parsley (1).
If the sauce it's too runny, let it cook for a few minutes. If, instead, it's too dry, add more water until you reach the right consistency.
Divide the tahini pasta among serving bowls and top with the roasted walnuts.
Finish with a sprinkle of chilli flakes and freshly chopped parsley (2).
If preferred, you can replace cinnamon and clove with other herbs such as thyme, basil, or sage.