This vegan asparagus mushroom pasta is an easy and delicious pasta dish. This one pot dish with a light sauce takes less than thirty minutes to make.
What inspired me to make this dish was seeing all the beautiful and fresh spring produce available. The tender and thin stalks of young asparagus are among my favorite spring veggies. The slimmer asparagus taste the best to me, as they are so green, grassy and fresh.
How to select asparagus
Although I prefer the thinner stalks of asparagus, the thicker ones will work fine in this recipe. Thickness is not an indicator of freshness but maturity. Avoid asparagus with woody stems, since they lack flavor and freshness.
You can use the thicker asparagus. Be sure to snap the ends off first. For the photo above I trimmed the asparagus evenly, but this is a step I usually skip.
Look for purplish tips and bright green color when you are shopping for asparagus. You can see a faint violet tinge in the tips of the asparagus above. Avoid the stalks with limp stems, since they should be firm.
Another indicator of freshness is closely tipped asparagus. Have you ever heard asparagus squeak when you grab a fresh bunch? That is how they should sound.
How to keep asparagus fresh
When you bring the asparagus home from the grocery store or the market, snap off the tough ends, as mentioned above. Fill a mason jar with water and place the asparagus in the jar upright so it can absorb the water through the snapped ends. I tried this recently and the asparagus was much fresher than it otherwise would have been. I'm going to do this from now on!
Which mushrooms do I use?
I came across these organic Japanese mushrooms which I ended up using in the pasta recipe. The white beech mushrooms pictured above, also known as bunapi mushrooms, are clean tasting and delicate. They are less earthy tasting than cremini or baby Portobello mushrooms.
The white beech mushrooms pair quite well with the grassy taste of the asparagus and the flavor of the fresh thyme. Pictured below are brown beech mushrooms, also known as bunashimeji, which are delicious in this recipe as well.
How do I select mushrooms?
Look for fresh mushrooms that are smooth, plump and firm. Avoid those that look dried out or damp. Many of the cremini and portobello mushrooms I see have exposed gills. Exposed gills means that they have a
You can use whichever variety of mushrooms is available. My favorite mushrooms are the white beech or brown beech mushrooms. I find that the cremini mushrooms overpower the asparagus with their earthiness and the flavor of the thyme is not as pronounced. However, feel free to try whichever mushrooms suit your taste!
Here's what you will need to make this dish:
- medium saucepan with high sides
- wooden spoon
- cutting board
- chef's knife
- Microplane grater if using store-bought vegan Parmesan
To make this pasta, you will need:
- penne pasta - I chose brown rice gluten-free penne pasta
- mushrooms - I chose white and brown beech mushrooms
- sea salt - I like to use Himalayan sea salt or Celtic sea salt
- extra-virgin olive oil
- fresh thyme - tips on how to destem fresh thyme are below
- vegan butter, or more extra-virgin olive oil
- vegan Parmesan (optional)
- a couple of tablespoons of water, vegetable stock, or white wine to deglaze the pan if needed
How do I destem fresh thyme?
Rinse the fresh thyme with stems in cold water and dry gently with a soft towel. Hold the top of the stem with your left hand and pull the leaves off in a downward motion with your right thumb and index finger. This will take the leaves off easily.
Crush the thyme leaves gently before adding them to the pasta to release the flavor.
If your thyme is fresh, the stems will be soft and they are edible. However, if your thyme is on the dry side, you can hydrate it by soaking it in cool water for about 10 minutes or so. If your thyme stems are woody, those are inedible.
- In a medium saucepan, boil water on medium heat. In the meantime, wash the asparagus, snap off the ends, chop the mushrooms and garlic, and measure the other ingredients so that they're ready to go when you start cooking.
- When water is boiling, add salt, then add the pasta and stir right away so the pasta doesn't stick to the saucepan. Cook the pasta up to 2 minutes before the recommended cook time period for the pasta. Stir occasionally.
- Two minutes before the pasta is done, add the asparagus to the pasta and water, and cook for 2 to 4 more minutes. Stir occasionally, until the asparagus turns bright green and the pasta water starts gently boiling again.
- Drain the asparagus and pasta in a colander, and set aside, reserving about a half cup of water. Do not rinse the pasta.
- Place the empty saucepan back on medium heat. Add olive oil and when the oil starts to shimmer, add the garlic and stir continuously for 30 seconds. Do not let the garlic turn brown or it will taste bitter. If it starts turning golden, add the mushrooms and stir immediately.
- After adding mushrooms, stir, and add sea salt, vegan butter, and thyme. Sauté for a few minutes, stirring frequently on low-medium to medium heat. If you are seeing browned bits on the bottom of the saucepan, you can deglaze with a couple of tablespoons of the reserved pasta liquid. Or if you are enjoying white wine with your meal, try deglazing with wine instead.
- Stir in the pasta with asparagus that you set aside earlier. Add a couple of pinches of salt to taste. Keep stirring gently until everything is heated through.
- Serve immediately. Add freshly ground black pepper and grated vegan Parmesan if you wish. Garnish with sprigs of fresh thyme.
💭 Top tips
- Use the freshest vegetables you can find!
- Crush the thyme leaves gently before adding them to the pasta to release the flavor.
- Be sure not to overcook the pasta.
Although I used gluten-free penne pasta, you may use whichever pasta you prefer. I like to experiment with different varieties of pasta. Our household is not gluten-free.
I love the 100% organic brown rice penne I used to make this asparagus and mushroom pasta.
Deglaze with white wine instead of water if you are enjoying wine with your meal, or use vegetable stock.
Refrigerate pasta within two hours of cooking in shallow airtight containers (I prefer glass) or resealable plastic bags. It will last for three to five days in the refrigerator.
Usually, you can freeze leftover pasta in covered airtight containers or heavy-duty freezer bags for one to two months. Since this pasta is very light on the sauce, I don't recommend freezing it since it may become mushy when thawed.
I'd love to hear from you! If you make this Asparagus Mushroom Pasta, let me know what you think by ★ star rating it and leaving a comment below. It would make my day. You can also follow me on Instagram and share your creation with me. Just tag me @resplendentkitchen and hashtag #resplendentkitchenrecipes, so I don't miss it.
Asparagus Mushroom Pasta
- 4 oz brown rice gluten free penne pasta or pasta of your choice
- 1 pound asparagus snap off the tough ends, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 7 oz mild flavored mushrooms chopped into 1-inch pieces
- ½ teaspoon sea salt plus 1 tablespoon for pasta water, to taste
- 1 tablespoon vegan butter or extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 teaspoons fresh thyme destemmed, crush gently before adding to the pasta, reserve a few sprigs for garnish
- 2 tbsp grated vegan Parmesan optional
- In a medium saucepan, bring to boil approximately 3 quarts of water on medium heat. In the meantime, gather and prep ingredients.
- When water is boiling, add 1 tablespoon sea salt, then add the pasta and stir immediately. Cook pasta up to 2 minutes before the recommended cook time period for the pasta, stirring occasionally throughout.
- Two minutes before the pasta is done, add the asparagus to the boiling water, and cook for 2 to 4 more minutes, stirring occasionally, until the asparagus turns bright green and the pasta water starts gently boiling again.
- Drain the asparagus and pasta in a colander. Do not rinse. Reserve a small amount of pasta water.
- Place the empty saucepan back on medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil and after 30 seconds or when the oil starts to shimmer, add garlic. Stir the garlic continuously for 30 seconds, do not let the garlic turn brown. If it starts turning golden, add the mushrooms and stir immediately.
- After adding mushrooms, stir, and add ½ teaspoon sea salt,1 tablespoon of vegan butter, and thyme. Sauté for at least 3 to 5 minutes, stirring frequently on low-medium to medium heat. If you are seeing browned bits on the bottom of the saucepan, you can deglaze with a couple of tablespoons of the reserved pasta liquid.
- Stir in the pasta with asparagus. Add a couple of pinches of sea salt to taste. Keep stirring for a couple of minutes, until the vegetables and pasta are heated through.
- Serve immediately. Add freshly ground black pepper as desired, and grated vegan Parmesan if desired. Garnish with sprigs of fresh thyme.
- Feel free to use whichever pasta you like. I found a brown rice gluten-free pasta that I really enjoy as the best alternative to wheat pasta.
- The vegan Parmesan is entirely optional and is not needed.
- You can deglaze the sauceopan by adding reserved pasta water, a couple of tablespoons of water, vegetable stock, or white wine if you are enjoying some with your meal. I don't usually find it necessary to deglaze since the mushrooms usually release enough water.