Garlic Mushroom Pasta topped with herby breadcrumbs is a simple yet luxurious dish that can be on the table in under 20 minutes. It’s vegan too!
Vegan Garlic Mushroom Pasta
Mushrooms and garlic are always a winning combination, and when tossed with pasta they are absolutely perfect. This recipe was inspired by the traditional Spaghetti Aglio e Olio – a simple dish of pasta with olive oil and garlic, sometimes served with toasted breadcrumbs.
Unlike a lot of mushroom pasta dishes, this recipe has no heavy cream or butter. In fact, this garlic mushroom pasta is vegan, so it is perfect if your are following a plant based diet or unable to eat/avoiding dairy!
An Alternative to Grated Cheese
I usually love to smother pretty much any pasta dish in grated cheese! But obviously that’s not great for the waistline or an option if you’re following a plant-based diet. These delicious and crispy breadcrumbs with herbs and a hint of garlic are the best substitution to cheese. They have a moreish salty taste and crunchy texture which just elevates this pasta dish to perfection.
Apparently Italians of old came up with this when they couldn’t afford parmesan so they would grate stale bread over their pasta. So it’s also a great choice if you’re trying to be frugal!
Pasta Topped with Breadcrumbs
You can buy pre-made breadcrumbs but they are so easy to make at home! I always save up unused slices of my sourdough bread (when it’s about to go stale or the end parts that nobody ever wants to eat!). Roughly rip the bread into small chunks and blitz in a food processor.
You can freeze them too, and no need to defrost before cooking. I literally never throw a bit of bread away – I make breadcrumbs and keep them in a ziploc bag in my freezer so I always have some handy as they can be used in so many different recipes.
How to Make Herby Breadcrumbs
To make the herby breadcrumbs, simply warm a tablespoon of olive oil in a non-stick frying pan over a medium heat, then add the breadcrumbs. Sprinkle in a dash of garlic powder and some salt and pepper, then stir the breadcrumbs as they toast. When they turn a lovely golden brown, remove from the heat and stir in some fresh chopped parsley and thyme (or whatever other herbs you prefer). A touch of lemon zest also adds a nice zing.
Tips for Cooking the Best Garlic Mushrooms
- I recommend chestnut, baby portobello or cremini mushrooms for this recipe but you can use any variety, or even a mixture of different types.
- When preparing mushrooms for cooking, be careful with water when cleaning them. Mushrooms are super porous so they will soak up excess water – instead of submerging or rinsing them to clean, use a slightly damp cloth or kitchen towel to wipe off any dirt.
- To avoid soggy mushrooms, make sure to use a pan wide enough for the mushrooms to fit in one layer. If you over-crowd the pan then the mushrooms will steam instead of getting browned and crispy.
- Season mushrooms at the END of cooking – add any salt and pepper just before ready to serve. Mushrooms are super spongy and adding salt while cooking causes them to release excess water, which will give you soggy mushrooms.
- Don’t over-stir mushrooms while cooking. I add them to a hot pan then toss them once or twice only during cooking. You want to let them brown well on each side.
- Mushrooms will shrink while cooking so when slicing them I always err on the slightly larger side. For example, I use chestnut mushrooms for this recipe and I slice them in half lengthways then cut each half into 3 pieces.
Garlic Mushroom Pasta FAQ
Yes- I love the combination of mushrooms, garlic and thyme, but you can swap the thyme for any other herb you prefer. Parsley, coriander or even lemon zest are great substitutions.
This recipe works best with fresh herbs, but if you don’t have any to hand then dried will suffice in a pinch – just cut the quantity in half.
yes! Just use a suitable GF pasta and bread or pre-made GF breadcrumbs.
I hope you like this recipe as much as I do! Please leave a comment or tag me on Instagram @carrieskitchen_ if you make it!
Looking for more great vegetarian recipes? You will LOVE these:
- Kale and Pomegranate Salad with Apple and Quinoa
- Lentil and Mushroom Bolognese
- Gnocchi bake with Tomato, Mozzarella and Red Pepper
Garlic Mushroom Pasta with Herby Breadcrumbs
- Large frying pan
- Pasta Pot
- 300 grams mushrooms, sliced chestnut, baby portobello or cremini
- 200 grams pasta I prefer spaghetti but you can use whatever you like!
- 4-5 cloves garlic thinly sliced
- 1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves roughly chopped
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- ½ cup breadcrumbs roughly 30g
- 1 tsp olive oil
- a pinch garlic powder
- a pinch salt and pepper
- 2 tsp fresh chopped parsley
- 2 tsp fresh chopped thyme
- Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil for the pasta.
- To make the breadcrumbs, warm 1tsp olive oil to a non-stick frying pan over a medium heat.
- Add the breadcrumbs plus a pinch each of garlic powder, salt and pepper, and stir the breadcrumbs for 2-3 minutes until toasted and golden. Remove from the heat, transfer to a cold dish and stir in the dried herbs.
- Cook the pasta to al-dente (the lower end of the time stated on the packet).
- Meanwhile, heat 2 tbsp of olive oil over a medium-high heat in a wide frying pan.
- Add the sliced mushrooms to the pan, ideally in one layer and not crowded inside the pan. (see post notes for tips on cooking the best mushrooms).
- Cook the mushrooms for 6-7 minutes, tossing them once after about 3 minutes. When the mushrooms are nicely browned, add the garlic, thyme, a pinch of salt and pepper and stir well.
- When the pasta is cooked, reserve ¼ cup (60ml/4 tbsp) of the cooking water then drain the pasta.
- Add the pasta to the mushrooms with the ¼ cup of reserved pasta water and the remaining tablespoon of olive oil, and toss with tongs to coat the pasta and mix the mushrooms through. Season to taste with salt and pepper if necessary.
- Divide the pasta between two bowls, making sure the mushrooms are evenly distributed. Sprinkle with a generous amount of herby breadcrumbs to serve.