Spinach Pesto Mushroom Pasta

For a healthier twist on the classic recipe, we made this vegan creamy pesto with walnuts and nutritional yeast. Each pasta bowl provides a balanced meal, packed with fibres, healthy fats, and plant-based proteins.

Vegan Spinach Pesto Mushroom Pasta Recipe


Nutrition per serving
Net Carbs53.2 g19.3%
of which Sugars6.5 g7.2%
Fibers10.6 g38%
Fats24.2 g37.2%
of which Saturates3.2 g15.8%
of which Omega 32 g185.5%
Proteins18.6 g40.4%
Calcium74 mg7.4%
Vitamin A100 mcg14.3%
Vitamin C14 mg18.5%
Iron4.6 mg31.2%
Potassium876 mg25%
Sodium27 mg1.2%
Cholesterol0 mg0%
Kcal505 25.3%
Macro split
  • net carbs 50%
  • sugars 6%
  • fats 23%
  • saturates 3%
  • proteins 17%
  • fibers 10%
*RDA based on a 2000 kcal diet;
**Nutritional data sources: USDA, food labels.
505 per serving

Pesto is a delicious sauce for homemade pasta. It's creamy, tasty and, if done right, healthy! In this recipe, we will show you how to make healthy spinach and mushroom pesto pasta.

By preparing spinach pesto instead of classic basil pesto, we get a more nutritious pasta with all the good folate, vitamin C, and antioxidants that spinach provides.

We are also swapping the pine nuts for walnuts. Walnuts are not only an amazing plant-based source of omega-3 fats, but they are also cheaper than pine nuts!

Finally, to make our spinach pesto vegan, we replaced the parmesan cheese used in the classic recipe with nutritional yeast.

This made this mushroom pesto pasta recipe dairy-free and 100% plant-based!

Nutritional yeast is a cheese replacement quite useful on a vegan diet: it provides B vitamins, including vitamin B12, complete proteins, and minerals that link zinc and selenium [1].

If you don't have nutritional yeast, you don't have to use it; your pesto mushroom pasta will still taste delicious!

Alternatively, you could swap it with silken tofu, as in this tofu pesto recipe, or sesame paste, as in this tahini basil pesto.

Big tip? Prepare a big batch of this glorious spinach pesto and store it in the fridge for up to 4 days. You'll have a healthy spinach pesto ready to make this vegan mushroom pasta recipe again!

Or use it for wraps, baked potatoes, pasta salads (like this quinoa pasta salad), pizza, and grain bowls (like this sweet potato quinoa bowl).

Frequently Asked Questions

Which type of pasta is best for pesto pasta?

We like to use short pasta when using pesto sauce. Our favourite type is rigatoni, penne, farfalle, or conchiglie (pasta that looks like a slug's shell).

If you are a traditionalist, then get your hands on some trofie.

Which mushrooms should I use in this recipe?

If you can, use porcini. Nothing beats porcini in pasta recipes!

Alternatively, go for shitake mushrooms, which have a similar consistency and a fantastic taste.

We recently started using king oyster mushrooms and fell in love with them. Give them a try if you like a chicken-like, fleshy consistency.

We also love using a mix of "wild mushrooms", for a fun plate full of surprises.

Finally, you can use chestnut or white cap "button" mushrooms.

Is classic pesto vegan?

Classic pesto is not vegan, as it uses parmesan. We made our spinach pesto dairy-free, and vegan, by replacing cheese with nutritional yeast.

What can I use instead of pine nuts to make pesto?

Pine nuts are the classic choice for basil pesto. They have a delicate yet quirky flavour that stands out from all other nuts. If you are making spinach pesto and would like to taste as close as possible to the traditional one, then use pine nuts.

For our recipe, we used walnuts instead, for two reasons:

  • To try something different

  • To have a better nutritional profile (they are a rich source of omega-3).

Walnuts are an excellent choice for spinach pesto. Spinach flavour is stronger than basil, so we need a stronger-tasting nut. Walnuts are perfect for this, give them a try!

If pine nuts and walnuts aren't your thing, then you can use cashews to make pesto sauce, as we did in this tofu pesto pasta recipe.

Can I use frozen spinach for this pesto?

We don't recommend you use frozen spinach to make pesto. Both the classic recipe and our spinach pesto recipe use fresh greens leaves.

Frozen spinach releases too much water and would make your pesto too liquid. You would have to thaw the spinach and get rid of all excess water before using it. Moreover, frozen spinach has a slightly different flavour and fewer nutrients.

For best result, we suggest you use baby spinach leaves. If you use larger leaves, make sure you remove the stem before blitzing, to get a smoother paste.


Measuring System
Extra Virgin Olive Oil21/2 tbsp
Mushrooms (Shiitake)320 g
Black Pepper to taste
Chopped Parsely4 tbsp
Garlic Cloves2
Fortified Nutritional Yeast (optional)2 tbsp
Spinach80 g
Lemon Juice2 tbsp
Walnuts80 g
Rigatoni Pasta300 g

Step 1

In a skillet, heat 1/2 tbsp of olive oil and add chopped mushrooms and parsley.

Then, season with salt and black pepper and cook for 8-10 minutes or until the water released by the mushrooms has reduced.

Mushrooms cooked with parsley and pepper in a skillet

Step 2

In the meantime, prepare the pesto.

In a food processor, add the remaining oil, garlic cloves, nutritional yeast, fresh spinach, lemon juice, and walnuts.

Blitz the ingredients into a smooth paste, and, if needed, add a splash of water to get a creamier consistency.

Spinach pesto with walnuts

Step 3

Add the pasta to a pan of salted boiling water and cook according to package instructions.

Check the pasta a couple of minutes before the end of the cooking time to make sure it's al dente - meaning firm to the bite.

Once ready, drain the pasta and save some cooking water that you can then add to the mushroom pesto sauce for extra creaminess.

Cooked pasta

Step 4

Once the mushrooms are cooked, remove the pan from the heat and add the prepared spinach pesto (1).

Then, add the pasta and give all a good stir until the pasta is well coated (2).

If the pesto sauce feels too dry, pour some of the cooking water you set aside and mix well.

Garnish with extra pepper and parsley and serve.

Spinach Pesto with mushrooms
Pasta with mushrooms and pasta in a skillet


For extra flavour, add a teaspoon of zested lemon to the pasta before serving.