If you're in the mood for a quick and easy (like, 20 minutes, no joke) comforting pasta recipe, you're going to love this One-pot Creamy Mushroom Pasta with Spinach.
This is a creamy vegetarian (or vegan!) angel hair pasta recipe with minimal dishes and clean-up, and it tastes so good!
Vegetarian pasta dinner
This creamy one-pot pasta recipe has a sauce that is lighter than Alfredo, but still packed with that delicious garlicky, creamy, rich flavor.
I use angel hair pasta because it cooks super fast (4-6 minutes!), but I have some tips for using spaghetti and other types of pasta, if that's what you have on hand.
You're going to love this pasta if you're the kind of person who:
- Laughs when a recipe says "1 garlic clove" and then pulls out a whole bulb of garlic
- Hates cleaning up a huge mess after cooking
- Loves a super comforting, creamy, just-slightly-saucy pasta dish that is loaded with flavor and healthy ingredients
This pasta might not be for you if you:
- Hate mushrooms (obvs)
- Are a purist about cooking pasta only in a huge pasta pot with like, 5 gallons of water
- Are suuuuper picky about pasta having to be al dente (it's very doable with this recipe, but also very possible to end up with softer pasta)
- Find doing lots of dishes therapeutic (not gonna happen - just a cutting board and one pot to wash!)
More vegetarian mushroom main dishes: Lion's Mane Mushroom Steaks
The good-for-you stuff:
This recipe is loaded with a pound of mushrooms and about 8 cups of baby spinach.
You might start questioning your life choices once you see how much 5 cups of sliced mushrooms and 8 cups of spinach is (it looks like a LOT!), but HAVE NO FEAR! They both cook down a LOT and you'll end up with less than half of what you started with once you saute the mushrooms and wilt the spinach.
IT WILL BE OKAY.
Mushrooms are loaded with the antioxidant selenium, B vitamins, and phytonutrients, and they have some fiber to help our digestion. Spinach is rich in vitamins A, C, K, magnesium, iron, and manganese. (Sources: BBC, Women's Health)
Well, that's not bad for a rich-tasting pasta dish, don't you agree?
The easy creamy pasta sauce (vegan or vegetarian!)
The reason this creamy angel hair pasta tastes SO GOOD is that the angel hair pasta is cooked in the sauce instead of just water, so it absorbs all that delicious flavor. This is the beauty of the one-pot pasta method (more on that later!)
The sauce for this pasta is made from vegetable stock + coconut milk (though you are free to use heavy cream, half and half, milk, or another vegan milk alternative, and can definitely use chicken stock if you prefer!). The more fat in your milk/cream, the tastier and richer the sauce will taste, there's no other way about this sadly.
I love using coconut milk from a can because my son has a small dairy allergy, and I think it tastes fantastic in recipes without feeling too heavy. Don't worry, you can't taste the coconut in the final dish.
For this recipe, I use a 1:1 ratio of vegetable stock and coconut milk and then add water to get a total of 6 cups of liquid.
The creamy sauce is nice and garlicky - I use 4 large cloves of garlic here (but feel free to use more!!). I use this garlic press to quickly mince garlic for all my recipes. I've had it for over 10 years and it is still going strong!
The one-pot pasta recipe method
The beauty of cooking pasta in one pot with the sauce and the rest of the ingredients (aside from less pots and pans to wash, of course), is that the pasta releases its starchiness right into the sauce.
You know how all those fancy chefs are always like, "reserve 1 cup of pasta water to add it to the sauce to make the sauce richer"? Well guess what, the whole sauce is EXTRA RICH because it's essentially made up of pasta water.
BAM that, Emeril!
I am not going to lie, the one-pot pasta method does require a little bit more hands-on work and possibly some experimentation.
Just like with cooking pasta the traditional way, you need to make sure that the pasta doesn't stick together (extra relevant for long pastas like spaghetti, angel hair, linguine, etc). Except it is a little bit harder to stir it into the cooking liquid completely because you're not cooking it in extra liquid, but just enough liquid.
You do need to watch the pasta and add more water if there isn't enough liquid, or turn up the heat to boil off the extra liquid (possibly resulting in pasta that is softer than al dente).
The exact amount of water you will need really depends on the size and shape of your pot (wider pot = water evaporates quicker), and the thickness of your pasta and how long it takes to cook (it can vary from brand to brand), so you do need to keep an eye on the pasta.
This is the reason I love using thin angel hair pasta or thin spaghetti for one-pot pasta recipes - they cook in just ~4-6 minutes (depending on the brand), so you really have to watch the pot for only 4-6 minutes.
The results are sooo worth it.
Your pasta cooks IN THE SAUCE, absorbing delicious flavors instead of salty water. It will be the richest, tastiest pasta you ever make.
Tips for one-pot pasta cooking success:
- Use a pot/pan with high sides that is wide enough for your pasta, if making angel hair or spaghetti. A casserole pan that is at least 11 inches across and 5 quarts, such as this one, is a good choice
- Use less salt or don't add salt, if using salted stock or broth. Remember, the pasta will be absorbing almost all of the salt in the cooking liquid. You don't want to cook it in extra salty water
- Stir the pasta immediately when you add it to the cooking liquid, and stir frequently during cooking (this is the reason I highly recommend a quick-cooking pasta, such as angel hair)
- Have more water (or broth/stock) ready to add in 1/2 cup increments, if your pasta is still severely undercooked but the cooking liquid is almost all absorbed or evaporated
- Remove from heat about a minute before the pasta is fully cooked, since the pasta will not be drained and will continue sitting gloriously in its sauce
Looking for other delicious pasta recipes?
- One-pot linguine shakshuka with mozzarella
- One-pot creamy gnocchi with mushrooms
- Sheet pan shrimp and vegetable linguine with in a lemony garlic sauce
- Roasted vegetable fettuccine
Looking for other creamy recipes or recipes using coconut milk in the broth?
- Creamy pork chops with mushrooms and spinach (this is like the non-pasta version of this pasta recipe lol and everyone who makes it LOVES it!)
- Sweet potato peanut butter soup
- Vegan carrot soup
- Shrimp and sweet potato coconut curry
- Coconut curry butternut squash soup
- Vegan zuppa Toscana
If you enjoyed this recipe, let me know with a comment and a star rating below. And don't forget to share it on Facebook and save it on Pinterest for later!
One Pot Creamy Mushroom Pasta with Spinach
- 1 lb baby bella mushrooms - sliced (about 5 cups sliced mushrooms)
- 4 cloves garlic - minced
- 1 shallot - minced (or use 2-3 tablespoons minced onion or red onion)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ¼ cup dry white wine - (optional)
- 2 cups vegetable stock - (or chicken stock, see notes about the stock and total liquid)
- 2 cups canned coconut milk - (or use half and half, heavy cream, or milk of your choice)
- 2 cups water
- 1 lb angel hair pasta - (see notes)
- 8 cups baby spinach - (6 large handfuls)
- ½ cup fresh parsley or basil - finely minced
- Optional: salt and pepper - to taste, freshly grated Parmesan for serving
- Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large pot, and add the sliced mushrooms, minced garlic, and minced shallot. Stir fry over medium-high heat for 3-4 minutes, or until the mushrooms start to brown and reduce in size.
- Optional step: Add ¼ cup dry white wine to deglaze the pot and stir fry for 1-2 minutes.
- Add the vegetable stock, coconut milk, and water and bring to a boil. Add the pasta, making sure to completely cover it in the cooking liquid, and stir with a spatula to break apart the pasta to make sure it doesn't stick together.
- Cook for 2-3 minutes (or 2 minutes less than the instructions on the pasta container), continuing to stir so the pasta does not stick to itself. Add ½ cup additional water or stock, if needed, if you see the liquid evaporated but the pasta is still really undercooked. The pasta should not be fully cooked yet! It will continue to cook in the next step.
- Stir in the baby spinach, and push it under the hot cooking pasta to wilt it faster. Cook until the pasta is fully cooked to your liking (about 1 more minute, in my experience with angel hair pasta), then remove from heat. Stir in the fresh basil or parsley, and serve warm, garnishing with fresh herbs and/or some freshly grated Parmesan cheese.
- Stock: you can use chicken stock instead of vegetable stock for a richer flavor, if you're not trying to keep this vegetarian
- Total liquid: I use 6 cups total liquid to cook 1 lb of angel hair pasta, but the total liquid amount depends on the size and shape of your pot and how thick your pasta is. If you like a saucier pasta, use a total of 7 cups (add an additional cup of stock or coconut milk, depending on your flavor preference!) Keep an eye on the pasta as it cooks and add water or stock in 1/2 cup increments if the liquid evaporated but the pasta is still undercooked. You can use any combination of stock:cream:water you like depending on whether you want a creamier or less creamy sauce
- Type of pasta to use: I recommend angel hair pasta for this recipe because it cooks really fast. This recipe does require you to stir the pasta as it cooks, so cooking the angel hair in 4-6 minutes is perfect, compared to thicker pastas that can take 10-12 minutes. Make sure not to overcook the pasta before adding the spinach - the spinach will need about 2 minutes to wilt and cook after you add it to the pan
- Adding extra salt: Taste the finished pasta before adding salt. You might not need additional salt if you use stock or broth that is salted already
The nutritional information displayed is an estimate and not to be used as dietary or nutritional advice. Consult a nutritionist or dietician for nutritional info based on the exact ingredients you use.