One Pot Creamy Mushroom Pasta that's lightened up and has less than half the calories of the restaurant version. Packed with hearty mushrooms, Parmesan cheese, and garlic, this is a pasta dish you will want to make again and again.
This Creamy Mushroom Pasta takes less than thirty minutes to make and is serious comfort food. I mean what is better than a bowl full of cheesy, garlicky pasta topped with golden mushrooms?
As a kid, my father used to make the most fantastic mushrooms. My sister and I would fight over them. His method was simple - a cast iron pan and butter. This easy mushroom pasta recipe was inspired by those delicious golden brown mushrooms.
What's better than those delicious mushrooms in a creamy Parmesan sauce over your favorite pasta - I can't really think of anything.
Let's talk about the creamy sauce. It's creamy and cheesy, but it's actually really light compared to typical alfredo and cream sauces you would find with mushroom pasta. The sauce gets most of its creaminess from cooking the pasta in vegetable broth. This creates a thick and creamy sauce (from the starch in the past) that needs just a touch of cream and Parmesan cheese to take it over the top.
Grab some fancy mushrooms to make it dinner party worthy, add some chicken sausage or chickpeas for protein, top it off with some grilled chicken or shrimp, or add extra veggies. It's a versatile recipe and one I am sure you will love.
Why We Love This Creamy Mushroom Pasta
- Quick and Easy: All you need is one pot, 8 ingredients, and 20 minutes
- Easy to customize: Add protein, try it with more vegetables, change up the herbs, or make it creamier
- Delicious leftovers: Not all pasta dishes make great leftovers, but this one reheats well
Ingredients and Easy Swaps
- Mushrooms: This recipe works with any type of mushroom. Most of the time I use baby bella (cremini) mushrooms since they have a deep, rich flavor. When I am feeling fancy, I love to use a combination of mushrooms and add fresh herbs like thyme and rosemary.
- Garlic and onions: These aromatics ensure the pasta has tons of flavor even though it only has a few simple ingredients. Swap in shallots for the onions for a milder flavor.
- Pasta: Reach for a long pasta like spaghetti, fettuccini, or linguini or use a hollow pasta like rigatoni or ziti. Almost pasta will work, but the cooking time and amount of broth may need to be adjusted slightly.
- Broth: To ensure the pasta is flavorful, cook it in chicken or vegetable broth. As the pasta cooks in the broth, the starch from the pasta turns the broth into a creamy sauce. Regular water won't have the same rich flavor.
- Cream: To really get that silky, creamy sauce you have to add some cream. Heavy cream or half and half gives you the most luscious sauce. Swap in a lighter option if you like, but milk won't be as creamy and the Parmesan won't melt as nicely. Cream cheese can be used as well.
- Parmesan cheese: Pasta and parmesan cheese is a must. The Parmesan cheese will melt into the sauce. Add some extra sprinkled in top as well.
- Grill seasoning: This choice may seem strange, but good grill seasoning has strong notes of black pepper and dried herbs that enhance the "meaty" flavor of the mushrooms. Swap in any seasoning you like or just use salt and black pepper.
Best Mushrooms to Use with Pasta
There are so many different types of mushrooms out there and it can be hard to know which to choose. Really any type of mushrooms will work in this pasta recipe from basic white mushrooms to portobello mushrooms to harder-to-find "fancy" mushrooms like shitake or chantarelles.
Here are some of my favorites to use and remember you can always use a combination of mushrooms.
- Portobello mushrooms: Portobello mushrooms are the largest of the white mushrooms and have a mild flavor and great meaty texture. Slice them horizontally for this pasta dish. They taste great and look beautiful.
- Cremini mushrooms: These light brown mushrooms have a mild flavor and are easy to find in most grocery stores. Their meaty texture works great with pasta and they absorb sauce well. They are also sold as baby bella mushrooms.
- Shiitake mushrooms: Shitake mushrooms are primarily grown in Asian countries and have a strong earthy umami flavor. They are stronger than a typical white mushroom and add tons of delicious flavor. If you can't find shitake mushrooms, you can always sprinkle some shitake mushroom powder on top of the pasta to kick up the mushroom flavor.
- Porcini mushrooms: These mushrooms are used in Italian dishes and add a nice nutty, creamy flavor to dishes. They are delicious with pasta, which is why they work great for this recipe, but can be more expensive and harder to find. If you decide to use dried porcinis, make sure to rehydrate them first in boiling water for about 15 minutes.
- Button mushrooms (white mushrooms): These mushrooms are found in most grocery stores and work great with pasta. They soak up the flavor of the sauce, have a great texture, and are a great choice.
Recipe Tips and Ideas
There are so many ways to customize this recipe and make it your own.
- Add protein: Make the dish more filling by adding chicken, shrimp, chicken sausage, or salmon. For vegetarian options, add chickpeas, white beans, or vegetarian sausage. For the best results, I usually cook the protein separately and add it before serving.
- Add more veggies: Consider adding spinach, kale, zucchini, or sundried tomatoes. The spinach will wilt right into the hot pasta, making it the easiest option.
- Extra creamy: If you want really rich and creamy sauce, double the amount of cream you use in the sauce.
- Add fresh herbs: Finish the dish with some fresh parsley, thyme, rosemary, or chives,
Tips for One Pot Pasta
- Stir often: To prevent the pasta from sticking together and ensure it cooks evenly, you need to stir it often.
- Leave the lid on when not stirring: When you aren't stirring the pasta, leave the lid on. the steam will help the pasta on the top cook as well.
- Always simmering: The broth should be simmering the whole time so everything cooks evenly. Boiling the broth will cause it to evaporate too quickly and can cause the pasta to burn on the bottom. If it isn't simmering, the pasta won't cook through.
- Trust your instincts: One pot pasta can be a little finicky and requires some attention. If the liquid is evaporating before the pasta is fully cooked, add some extra. If there is too much liquid, don't be afraid to drain it a little out or bump up the heat slightly. The end result should be slightly saucy with some liquid on the bottom of the pan.
- Cook until al dente: Make sure to simmer the pasta until it is al dente and not mushy. The pasta will continue to cook as you let the dish rest and the sauce thicken.
Side Dish Ideas
There are so many tasty side dishes to serve with pasta. At our house, we usually stick to classics like green salads and garlic bread. Here are some fun dishes to serve on the side.
- Salads: Serve this with a classic Spring Mix Salad, Arugula Salad, or Cucumber Salad.
- Bread: Make some delicious Two Ingredient Dough Garlic Knots or Breadsticks.
- Get creative: Add some extra greens and serve this with sauteed kale, broccoli, or zucchni.
Can I make this Mushroom Pasta without cream?
There are a few options to make this dish without cream. If dairy isn't a problem, you can use milk, cream cheese, sour cream, Greek yogurt, or canned condensed milk in place of the cream.
For a non-dairy option, you can use soy or almond milk. It won't turn out quite as creamy, but will still taste delicious. You can also use canned coconut milk but it will add a touch of coconut flavor.
Another non-dairy option that creates a nice thick sauce is to use half vegan cream cheese (or vegan ricotta) and half soy milk.
If you also do not eat Parmesan cheese, you can use nutritional yeast or vegan Parmesan cheese.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are the most common questions about making this mushroom pasta recipe.
Compared to the standard creamy pasta with mushrooms served in restaurants, this dish has significantly fewer calories and fat. However, it does contain some cheese and half and half, which are not the most healthy ingredients. Some healthy highlights from this recipe include:
- Cremini mushrooms are packed with minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants. Specifically, they are a great source of B vitamins, copper, and selenium. They are also low in calories, high in fiber, and often thought of as a super food since they are very nutrient dense.
- High fiber or whole wheat pasta: By using a high fiber or whole wheat pasta, you add whole grains and fiber to your diet. It's a better for you option than standard white pasta.
The most common reason that pasta sticks together in one-pot pasta dishes is that it isn't stirred often enough. Stir the pasta well when you add it in and open the lid to stir every 2-3 minutes so the pasta doesn't clump up.
One Pot Creamy Mushroom Pasta
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- 1 tbsp. olive oil
- 2 tsp. grill seasoning
- 1 onion, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 8 oz. cremini mushrooms, sliced
- 3 1/2 cups chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
- 8 oz. high fiber pasta (break spaghetti or linguine in half)
- 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
- 1/4 cup half and half (or heavy cream)
- Salt and pepper
Add the broth and bring it to a boil. Turn it down to a simmer. Add the pasta and simmer for 10-15 minutes until the pasta is tender and has absorbed most of the liquid. Stir as needed, especially as the liquid is absorbed more. Add extra liquid if needed. Keep the lid closed when you aren't stirring the pasta.
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
The Nutritional Values provided are estimates only and may vary based on the preparation method.
The exact cooking time will depend on the type of pasta you are using. Cook the pasta until al dente, adding a touch of extra broth or water if needed.
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