This easy mushroom zucchini pasta makes for a tasty satisfying vegetarian midweek meal, and the simple sauce and vegetables come together in the time it takes to cook the pasta!
Why you’ll love it
- It’s a great way to use up leftover vegetables. I’ve used zucchini and mushrooms here but you can add in anything else you have lying around in the fridge.
- The vegetables are perfectly cooked and tender, no soggy zucchini or sad mushrooms here!
- The zucchini mushroom sauce takes just ten minutes to make!
- It’s pure creamy cheesy pasta comfort in a bowl.
Ingredients and substitutions
With just nine easy-to-find ingredients, you shouldn’t have any issues throwing this dish together. Have a quick glance at the image below to see what you’ll need, and scroll down below to see the ingredient notes and if any substitutions can be made if you’re missing something.
Mushrooms: I just used regular white cup mushrooms, but you can use button or crimini, or chestnut mushrooms if you prefer. I don’t recommend using oyster mushrooms as they give off a lot of liquid and take longer to cook and are better fried until crispy on their own than in a sauce.
Zucchini: I prefer to use two smaller zucchini than one large one because smaller zucchini taste better and don’t have as much spongey seed stuff in the middle. If you don’t want to use zucchini you can substitute them with more mushrooms, spinach, or half the amount of peas.
Butter: I use salted butter for savory dishes but you can also use unsalted as you will be seasoning to taste later anyway.
Italian seasoning: Any blend of Italian seasoning will do. If you don’t have any Italian seasoning you can either make your own or just use half a teaspoon of dried oregano, half a teaspoon of dried thyme, a quarter teaspoon of dried basil, and a quarter teaspoon of dried rosemary.
Onion: Use any type of onion you prefer, or omit it if you don’t like onion.
Parmesan: Use freshly grated, not packaged, as packaged grated cheese has additives that stop it from letting into sauces well. If you can’t get a hold of parmesan you can use Grana Padano instead but vegetarians should be cautious and check the cheese you’re using is rennet-free – generally, any copycat cheeses called Italian hard cheese are rennet-free.
Pasta: Use whichever pasta you prefer, I used linguine for this recipe, but spaghetti or short pasta like penne or fusilli are also excellent here.
Heavy cream: Heavy cream will give you the best creamiest results, but you can substitute it with creme fraiche, or even half and half although the sauce won’t be quite as thick.
Garlic: Use fresh crushed garlic, not dried or frozen. If you don’t have a garlic crusher, just mince it as finely as you can. Of course, if you don’t like garlic you can just omit it.
How to make it
This is a really simple pasta recipe and comes together in minutes. Pasta professionals can skip on down to the recipe card for exact quantities and concise instructions but newer cooks or anyone who is unsure can have a look at the exact steps to follow in this section along with photos so you can see what’s happening.
First, prep your pasta and vegetables. Put the water on to boil, salt it well, and cook the pasta you’re using until al dente following the package instructions. Quarter the zucchini lengthwise and then chop it into one-inch pieces. Wipe the mushrooms clean and quarter them. Peel and thinly slice the onion.
- Set a large deep pan to heat on medium-high, and add the butter when it’s hot.
- When the butter has melted and is slightly browned, add the mushrooms, zucchini, and onion.
- Stir-fry the vegetables for around seven minutes until the zucchini is tender but not mushy, and add the Italian seasoning and crush the garlic into the pan. Fry another minute or so until the garlic no longer smells raw.
- Add the cream bring it to a gentle simmer by increasing the heat if necessary temporarily, and simmer for two minutes. Add the grated parmesan.
- Turn off the heat and mix the parmesan into the sauce until it has melted in. Take the pan off the heat. Add salt and pepper to taste – I usually add half a teaspoon of salt but it will depend on how salty the cheese you used was.
- Drain the pasta, reserving a cup of pasta water. Don’t rinse your pasta as this will cause the sauce to slide off rather than coating it. Add the drained pasta to the sauce with the pasta noodles and toss until well-coated. If you’d like a bit more sauce or want to loosen the sauce a bit, add the reserved pasta water about a quarter cup at a time, mixing well before adding more until the sauce is just right.
Serve hot with extra cracked black pepper and a bit of parmesan for sprinkling and enjoy!
What you’ll need:
- A chopping board.
- A sharp knife.
- A garlic press.
- A large deep frying pan or work – it will need to be deep enough for the sauce and the pasta.
- A large deep saucepan for cooking the pasta in.
- Measuring spoons and cups or digital kitchen scales.
- Don’t overcook your zucchini as it will get watery. You want it just barely fork-tender before adding the cream as it will still continue to cook a bit.
- Finely mince garlic if you don’t have a garlic press, and remember there is no need to peel garlic when using a press, just scrape the peel out after crushing each clove directly into the can or it will get blocked.
- Always reserve some pasta water for loosening the sauce. It helps the sauce to stick to the pasta and unless you serve pasta right away hot from the pan, it’s inevitable that it will absorb some of the sauce and need to be loosened a bit.
CEasy creamy mushroom zucchini pasta is a meal in itself but you can also consider serving it with a simple arugula side salad dressed with some shaved parmesan, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and salt.
Roasted vegetables also go really well, think grilled aubergines, tomatoes, and peppers dressed with a little oil and vinegar.
To really splurge and make it more of a takeaway night, make some delicious garlic bread to really wow everyone at your table!
Like most pasta dishes this is better served hot and freshly made but leftovers can be stored tightly covered in the fridge for up to five days. You can also freeze it but I don’t recommend it as this pasta and sauce becomes a bit grainy.
Make it ahead
To make this dish ahead of time cook the mushrooms, zucchini, and sauce and then refrigerate until you need it, for up to three days. Then simply stir it into hot freshly cooked pasta.
To reheat leftovers in the microwave add a few tablespoons of water to the container, reseal it, microwave for two minutes until warm, and stir.
Add more water if needed to further loosen the sauce, and heat in one-minute increments, stirring and adding water after each minute if needed until the sauce is creamy and the pasta heated through. Do not heat it all in one whack until really hot as the sauce will seize and become clumpy.
You can also reheat it on the stovetop by adding to a pan with a quarter cup of water on low-medium heat and stirring often and adding water as needed to loosen the sauce until it’s creamy and hot again.
Did you make this dish? Let me know how much you loved it with a star rating ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐and a comment below.
- 1 lb pasta of choice (453g)
- 3 Tablespoons butter
- 2 medium zucchini (roughly 18.5oz or 520g)
- 1 lb white mushrooms (453g)
- 1 medium onion
- 3 large cloves garlic
- 1½ teaspoons Italian seasoning
- 1½ cups heavy cream
- 2 cups grated parmesan (5 oz or 140g)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Put water on to boil for the pasta and salt it well, add around a tablespoon of salt. Quarter the zucchini lengthways and chop into one-inch pieces. Wipe the mushrooms clean, cut off any hard bits at the bottoms of the stems, and quarter them. Thinly slice the onion. Cook the pasta according to package instructions until al dente.
- Add the butter to a large deep pan or wok and heat on medium-high. When hot, melted, and slightly browned, add the mushrooms, zucchini, and onion and toss to coat with the hot butter.
- Stir-fry for around seven minutes or until the zucchini is just about fork tender, then crush the garlic into the pan and add the Italian seasoning and fry for 1-2 minutes more until the garlic doesn't smell raw anymore, stirring often.
- Add the heavy cream. If it doesn't start simmering a few seconds after adding, increase the heat to high until it's simmering, then reduce again to medium-high and allow to simmer for two minutes.
- Turn off the heat and stir in the parmesan. Stir until the parmesan has fully melted and take the pan off the heat. Adjust the seasoning to taste - I usually add about half a teaspoon of salt.
- Drain the pasta, reserving one cup of the pasta water, and add the hot drained pasta to the sauce. Toss until the pasta is well coated with the sauce and veggies. If you'd like a looser sauce add some of the reserved pasta water a little at a time, stirring until incorporated.
- Serve hot and optionally with extra parmesan and freshly ground black pepper for topping it. Enjoy!
If you don't have heavy cream you can substitute creme fraiche.
Parmesan or Grana Padano are great in this recipe but vegetarians should be cautious about rennet, many kinds of cheese marked Hard Italian-style Cheese are rennet free.
Store leftovers tightly covered in the fridge for up to five days and loosen with extra water before reheating slowly in the microwave or on the stovetop - heating too fast will result in a clumpy seized sauce.
Amount Per Serving Calories 554Total Fat 38gSaturated Fat 23gTrans Fat 1gUnsaturated Fat 12gCholesterol 111mgSodium 717mgCarbohydrates 38gFiber 4gSugar 6gProtein 18g