If you're looking for a quick and easy vegan meal that is delicious and nutritious, look no further than this vegan asparagus mushroom pasta.
The combination of asparagus and mushrooms gives the dish a wonderful earthy flavor, while the thyme adds a touch of sophistication. You can make this dish in less than 30 minutes!
Seeing all the beautiful and fresh spring produce available at the market inspired me to make this vegan penne pasta recipe. The tender and thin stalks of young and tender asparagus are among my favorite spring veggies. The slimmer asparagus taste the best to me, as they are green, grassy, and fresh.
This meatless meal makes a wonderful main course or a great side dish. If you're looking for another side dish, try these air fryer potatoes.
To make this pasta, you will need:
- Gluten-free pasta - I chose brown rice gluten-free penne pasta. Any type of short pasta will work, including bowtie pasta.
- Asparagus - use the freshest asparagus you can find, you can find tips on selecting asparagus above.
- Garlic - fresh garlic
- Mushrooms - I chose white and brown beech mushrooms, you can choose any combination you like with wild mushrooms and button 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 - I love Violife Just Like Parmesan Wedge for this recipe (not sponsored, I just love this vegan cheese).
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 to 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 in the ingredients are brown beech mushrooms, also known as bunashimeji, which are delicious in this recipe as well.
You can use any combination of mushrooms you like, including shiitake and Baby Bellas.
How to 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 mean that they have a
You can use whichever variety of mushrooms is available. For this recipe, my favorite mushrooms are 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, as I mentioned before, feel free to try whichever mushrooms suit your taste!
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.
Here's the equipment you will need to make this dish:
- Large pot
- Wooden spoon
- Cutting board
- Microplane grater to grate vegan Parmesan
How to make Vegan Asparagus Mushroom Pasta
- Boil a large pot of 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 a couple tablespoons of kosher salt. Add the pasta and stir right away so the pasta doesn't stick to the saucepan. Keep stirring occasionally.
- Two minutes before the pasta is supposed to bedone, add the fresh 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 cooked pasta in a colander, and set aside, reserving half a cup of water. Do not rinse the pasta.
- Place the empty saucepan back on low to 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, keep stirring, 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 ¼ cup to ½ cup of the pasta water. Or if you are enjoying white wine such as Sauvignon Blanc with your meal, try deglazing with wine instead. Using the pasta water will add creaminess.
- Stir in the cooked pasta with the asparagus that you set aside earlier. Toss in ½ cup grated vegan Parmesan. 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 more grated vegan Parmesan if you wish. Garnish with sprigs of fresh thyme.
- Use the freshest vegetables you can find!
- Crush the thyme leaves gently before adding them to the pasta to release the flavor.
- Do not rinse the pasta once it is cooked.
- Do not overcook the pasta, you want it to be al dente.
- Be sure to save at least a half-cup of pasta water before you drain the cooked pasta. You can use it to give body to the light sauce.
- Gluten-free pasta - You may use any short pasta you wish, such as bow-tie pasta. Fresh vegan pasta is great as well. I love the 100% organic brown rice penne I used to make this asparagus and mushroom pasta.
- Vegan Parmesan cheese - Stir in a tablespoon of nutritional yeast, or skip it!
- Creamy - Stir in vegan cream cheese or cashew cream along with the pasta water at the end to make a creamy pasta dish.
- Fresh thyme - You can try fresh basil instead, or any combination of fresh herbs that you like, including fresh parsley.
- Mushrooms and asparagus - Try this recipe with your favorite vegetables. Peas would be a great alternative to asparagus.
- Spicy - Add red pepper flakes.
- 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 recipe, let me know what you think by ★★★★★ star rating it and leaving a comment below. 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.
Vegan Asparagus Mushroom Pasta (Gluten-free)
- 8 oz brown rice gluten free penne pasta or pasta of your choice
- 1 pound asparagus (typically 1 bunch) snap off the tough ends, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 large cloves garlic minced
- 7 oz beech mushrooms or other mild-flavored mushrooms chopped into 1-inch pieces
- ¾ 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
- ¼ cup vegan Parmesan optional, plus extra for topping
- 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 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 half-cup of pasta water.
- Place the empty saucepan back on low to 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 ¾ teaspoon sea salt, vegan butter, and thyme. Sauté for 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 ¼ cup to ½ cup of the reserved pasta liquid.
- Stir in the pasta and 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. Garnish with sprigs of fresh thyme.
- Use whichever pasta you like.
- Deglaze the saucepan by adding reserved pasta water, a couple of tablespoons of water, vegetable stock, or white wine if you are enjoying some with your meal.
- Calories are calculated without the addition of vegan Parmesan.
Resplendent Kitchen offers nutritional information for recipes contained on this site as a courtesy. Although resplendentkitchen.com attempts to provide accurate nutritional information from online calculators, these figures are estimates.