Are you here looking for a weeknight dinner recipe that’s going to not only be easy and quick to make but one that the whole family will love? For a pasta dish that’s got veggies to feel good about and a light cream sauce that is a just-right balance between creamy yet not heavy?
If the answers are yes, and yes, and yes, then you are in the right place, my friend! While you can enjoy this vegetarian pasta for dinner all year long, it’s especially cozy and comforting on cool nights. So, let’s make it!
A few notes on the main ingredients in this meatless recipe. Please be sure to see the full recipe card below for amounts and instructions.
- Mushrooms: It’s no secret that mushrooms are a key ingredient in making hearty, savory vegetarian recipes, and they bring their A-game in this pasta! I recommend using sliced Baby Bella mushrooms, but feel free to play around with a variety like shiitake, oyster, or Portabella mushrooms.
- Shallot: give a girl a recipe and she’ll use a shallot. I love the mild onion flavor that shallots provide, with a hint of sweetness. They pair so well with mushrooms too – like in this 5-star mushroom bruschetta.
- White Wine: is excellent for deglazing the sauce, adding a wonderful depth of flavor. However, you can easily use additional vegetable stock if you don’t have any on hand.
- Baby Spinach: roughly chop spinach leaves so they incorporate into the sauce, otherwise wilt them whole for a more substantial spinach bite. Finely shredded kale would also work as a substitute, it just needs an extra minute to soften.
- Parmesan Cheese and Half-and-Half: a little to make our light cream sauce. If you are strictly vegetarian, be sure to get vegetarian parmesan cheese.
- Noodles! Penne works well in this recipe, but if you can find it, I have absolutely loved using the larger penne-like shape of Pennoni (as pictured).
How to Make Spinach Mushroom Pasta
First things first: boil salted water for the pasta. Get the stockpot over the heat so it has time to come to a boil while you assemble the sauce, keeping this recipe ready in just 30 minutes!
Step 1: Saute the Mushrooms
Before you begin, make sure you use a large skillet so the entire pasta dish can fit as it comes together.
As with many of my mushroom recipes, start with the sliced mushrooms spread in an even layer in a dry pan over medium heat. As the mushrooms heat, they will begin to release their water. Once the water begins simmering from the mushrooms, you’ll be able to stir them.
This cooking process allows for the mushrooms to have room to absorb the other flavors they’ll cook with since the water is then displaced.
Once much of the water has evaporated, melt in the butter and saute the finely chopped shallot with a little salt and red pepper flakes. Stir in the minced garlic to soften, along with a pinch of Italian seasoning for rounded-out flavor.
Step 2: Continue Simmering the Sauce
Once the garlic is fragrant, deglaze the pan with white wine (or veg-stock) and let it simmer for about 2 minutes. Then, bring the rest of the vegetable stock to a simmer to reduce down into the sauce.
At this point, the pasta should be boiling in the pot of water. Set the timer for just under the suggested cook time on the package, so it ends up perfectly al dente once it’s tossed in the sauce.
As the vegetable stock reduces down in the sauce, add the cream and parmesan cheese until combined into the sauce. This also helps to thicken.
Be sure to taste-test the sauce for salt and pepper levels!
Step 3: Put it all Together in the Creamy Sauce
Toss in the chopped spinach; stir to combine as it gently wilts. Toss in the cooked pasta, simmering for 1-2 minutes until combined with the sauce and the noodles are fully cooked to al dente.
Garnish with finely chopped fresh parsley and grated parmesan cheese.
If you are a fan of additional texture and a little crunch with your pasta, garnish this dish with homemade toasted breadcrumbs.
Homemade pasta dinners pair well with a light green salad. I like a simple white balsamic vinaigrette with this recipe because it’s lighter than a balsamic, giving a nice contrast to the richness of the dish.
Storage & Reheating Tips
If you have any leftovers, store them in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.
To reheat from the fridge, add a splash of cream if you have it, and microwave until warmed through, stirring occasionally. The additional cream will help reconstitute the sauce. You can also reheat on the stovetop in a skillet.
To freeze, place portions of the pasta in freezer-safe containers like Souper Cubes. Although the sauce has cream in it, it does actually freeze well, which is a great option for having individual dinner servings on hand.
Defrost in the microwave with an additional splash of cream if you have it on hand. Stir frequently so the top noodles do not harden. The cooking time to thaw and heat fully will depend on the amount of pasta that has been frozen.
Did you make this recipe? Please leave a star rating and review in the form below. I appreciate your feedback, and it helps others, too!
Get the Recipe 30-Minute Spinach and Mushroom Pasta in a Light Cream Sauce
- 16 ounces pennoni pasta, or penne
- 16 ounces baby bella mushrooms
- 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter
- ½ cup shallot
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- ½ teaspoon Italian herb blend
- ¼ cup dry white wine, or additional stock
- 1 ¼ cups vegetable stock
- ⅓ cup half and half, or heavy cream
- ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
- 3 cups baby spinach leaves, roughly chopped
- Fresh parsley, for garnish
- Fill a large stock pot with salted water and heat over high heat to bring to a boil for the pasta. Once the water boils, cook the pasta 1-2 minutes less than al dente. Drain, but do not rinse. In the meantime, continue on with the sauce.16 ounces pennoni pasta
- In a large skillet over medium heat, add sliced mushrooms in an even layer. Let them be until the water begins to release, then stir occasionally. Cook for 8-10 minutes until most of the water has evaporated and they are about halved in size.16 ounces baby bella mushrooms
- Add the butter to the skillet to melt. Add finely diced shallot along with ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt and red pepper flakes. Satue for 3-4 minutes. Add the minced garlic and Italian seasoning, cooking for an additional minute.4 Tablespoons unsalted butter, ½ cup shallot, ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes, 4 cloves garlic, ½ teaspoon Italian herb blend
- Deglaze the skillet with dry white wine (or vegetable stock). Simmer for 2-3 mins Then add the remaining vegetable stock and bring to a simmer simmer; you may need to increase the heat. Simmer for 6-8 minutes until the sauce has reduced. Be sure to taste test and add additional salt as needed. By this time, the pasta should be drained or about ready.¼ cup dry white wine, 1 ¼ cups vegetable stock
- Stir the half and half and parmesan cheese into the sauce. Add the spinach and begin to wilt in. Toss in the pasta until coated, cooking in the sauce for 1-2 minutes until the pasta is to al dente.⅓ cup half and half, ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese, 3 cups baby spinach leaves
- Serve immediately with fresh parsley and parmesan to garnish as desired. Enjoy!Fresh parsley
- Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.