Simple Creamy Vegetable Pasta Recipe! An easy weeknight meal the whole family will enjoy. Loaded with roasted vegetables, chickpeas smoothered in a creamy vegan sauce.
- 👪 Why Your Family Will Love Vegetable Pasta
- 🥒 Will Picky Eaters Like This
- 💪 The Power of Cauliflower and Mushrooms
- 🥄How to get the best vegan cream sauce
- ⏲️ Time-Saving Tip
- 💭Recipe Tips & Tricks
- 👩🏽🍳Instructions for making a creamy sauce: step-by-step:
- 🥣Make this next…
- 📖 Recipe
- Information Source:
As a mom perpetually juggling a busy schedule, a career, and my own health and wellness journey, I've learned the incredible value of having a good, versatile recipe. Especially when it comes to pleasing a house full of kids who, on a whim, might decide they no longer like a certain vegetable. That's why I love recipes like this simple creamy mushroom pasta recipe – it's not just convenient and adaptable, but it's also packed with nutrients!
I also have a soft spot for this garlic alfredo gnocchi recipe, a cheese-free alternative to this recipe (just in case you forgot to pick up vegan cheese at the store)!
Convenience - With the ease of sheet pan preparation, all the veggies from this recipe are roasted and then added to the creamy sauce, minimizing prep time and cleaning.
Adaptability - Whether you swap in regular cauliflower, button mushrooms, or any in-season veggies you have on hand, this recipe can be easily adjusted to your liking. The key ingredients are tossed in a delightful mix of seasonings, roasted to perfection, and smothered in a deliciously creamy vegan Alfredo sauce.
Nutrition - As a mom with a background in neuroscience and health science, I've seen firsthand how whole foods can positively impact our health. This dish is a testament to that, brimming with beneficial phytonutrients and fiber from the veggies, and good fats from the creamy sauce.
With minimal prep time and a sheet pan convenience, this wholesome dish is a busy mom's dream. Let's dive in to this easy vegetable pasta recipe!
👪 Why Your Family Will Love Vegetable Pasta
Nothing makes me happier than feeding my family a nutrient-rich bowl! This roasted vegetables with pasta smoothered in a creamy vegan pasta sauce is a super healthy recipe! It reminds me of my own family dinners. When my dad would make us girls a big bowl of creamy pasta. He used to cover the bowl with a lid and then present it all dramatic like. So this recipe makes me think of him.
Your family may love this recipe because:
- Fun to eat: Pasta is a family favorite - and this dish takes it up a notch with delicious creaminess and hidden veggies!
- Nutritious: This pasta is not just tasty, but it's also packed with the goodness of cauliflower, mushrooms, and whole grains.
- Versatile: You can easily tweak this dish to suit your family's preferences by adding in extra veggies or spices.
🥒 Will Picky Eaters Like This
What parent doesn't struggle to get their kids to eat their veggie? Even as a mom to veggie-loving kids, I've faced my fair share of mealtime battles, especially when introducing new vegetables. But don't worry, I've got some tried-and-true tips up my sleeve.
- Hidden Veggie Power: I've found that a creamy vegan pasta sauce is the perfect disguise for new veggies. It's been a game-changer at our dining table!
- Pair with Favorites: I always serve new foods alongside a 'safe' or favorite dish. This combination makes the new food less daunting and more appealing.
- Small Portions, Big Wins: Serving small portions of new foods helps to reduce mealtime stress for everyone. And remember, it's okay if they don't finish it all.
- Persistence is Key: Patience is your best friend here. Some kids may take time to warm up to certain foods. Keep introducing them, and remember that every bit of exposure is a win!
Remember, our role is to offer healthy options. It's up to them to decide if and how much they'll eat. It's all about balance and patience in this journey.
💪 The Power of Cauliflower and Mushrooms
I've always been fascinated by how our diet impacts our health and well-being. My personal journey led me from the research lab studying motor control, right into my kitchen. But it was my own family's health journey that truly sparked my love affair with food and its impact on our well-being and overal health.
When my oldest son started facing some health challenges, we turned to whole foods, a move that had such a transformative effect on him, physically and behaviorally. This wasn't some sort of magic cure-all, but a practical step towards helping him become the healthiest version of himself. And you know what? Some pretty amazing research backs up this link between diet and kids' health:
- Study finds that a "Western" dietary pattern, high in fats, sugars, and sodium, may be associated with more ADHD symptoms in children (2).
- A healthier diet with fiber, folate, and omega-3 fats might lead to fewer ADHD symptoms (2) and a lower likelihood of emotional disorders, like anxiety or depression, in adolescents (3).
- Dietary modifications, such as Restricted Elimination Diets (REDs), which often involve removing processed foods and certain potential allergens, can have a beneficial effect on ADHD symptoms in some children (1).
And in this journey, guess who discovered her own food sensitivities? Yep, that'd be me. Who knew that those stomach aches and brain fog I had lived with were actually food sensitivities?
This personal journey opened my eyes to the powerful connection between the food we eat and how we feel, think, and behave. And today, we're going to chat about two stars of our simple creamy mushroom pasta recipe - cauliflower and mushrooms. These aren't just tasty, they're little powerhouses of health benefits! So, let's dig in, shall we?
The Mighty Cauliflower
Cauliflower, a member of the cruciferous vegetable family, is not only low in calories but also rich in folate, vitamins C, E, K and fiber (4, 5). It's a fantastic food for both your gut and your brain, thanks to its selenium content - a mineral essential for cognitive function (6).
But wait, there's more! Cauliflower has been linked to a lower risk of many types of cancers including lung, pancreas, bladder, and colon cancer (4). The secret lies in its compounds that protect against oxidative stress and inhibit tumor growth (7).
Here's a fun fact - mushrooms are super high in vitamin D! They're a delicious way to sneak in some of this essential vitamin, especially during those winter months when sunshine can be scarce. And with so many variety of mushrooms around, there are many great recipes you can try to ensure you are encirporating enough of these fungi into your diet! lol
So, next time you're cooking up this pasta, you're not just serving a meal - you're contributing to your family's well-being. Now that's what I call a recipe for success!
🥄How to get the best vegan cream sauce
My kitchen is my playground, where I love to explore, experiment, and ultimately, perfect recipes, especially with my 3 little critics at home! Throughout the years, I've found a couple of tricks that really have made a difference taking creamy vegan sauce to a whole new level.
The base was always solid - a comforting blend of chopped onions and garlic, plant milk for the creamy texture, nutritional yeast for a hint of cheesiness, and spices for a flavor kick. However, I found myself yearning for that extra richness and creaminess often associated with dairy-based sauces.
That's when I turned to vegan cheese, specifically cashew-based cheeses. After trying a variety, Culcherd and Miyoko's Creamery became my favorite. The cashew-based cheese added a level of creaminess and depth that was just what I was seraching for!
The other trick up my sleeve? Good old pasta water. This starchy liquid turned out to be the perfect 'sauce adjuster', helping it achieve the right consistency to beautifully coat every strand of pasta. Vegan cheese come in all different textures so this trick helps to ensure the right thickness for your creamy mushroom pasta sauce.
With these tips, I hope it helps you get the best results for creamy vegetable pasta!
⏲️ Time-Saving Tip
- Prep Ahead: You can chop the veggies and make the sauce ahead of time. When you're ready to eat, just cook the pasta and mix everything together.
- Leftovers are Great: This dish tastes just as good the next day. Make a double batch and you've got an instant meal for another busy day.
Our simple creamy vegetable pasta uses a mix of ingredients that harmonize together, creating a melody of flavors that's both nourishing and delicious. Let's take a quick peek:
- Gluten-free fettuccine (we used Barilla): I love fettucini with a creamy sauce but you can use your favourite pasta. I prefer to cook ours a littel al dente to help balance out the creay texture of the sauce.
- Chickpeas and Cauliflower: Protein-packed chickpeas and crunchy cauliflower team up to provide nutrition and texture.
- Fresh mushrooms (we used a mix of oyster and enoki): The stars of our sauce, mushrooms will bring an earthy and creamy richness to every bite. You an use any type of mushroom but I love oyster and enochi!
- Substitions for Oyster and Enoki: Almost any will do, if want a budget conscious variety look for white button mushrooms or brown mushroom. For more savury mushrooms use portabello or cremini!
- Onion, Garlic, and Veggie broth: The savory trio that forms the backbone of our vegan cheese sauce.
- Spices: We used a mix of fresh garlic, salt, paprika, and Italian seasoning for this recipe. The flavor-boosting quartet adds depth and aroma to our creamy mushroom sauce.
- Plant milk (we used oat), Nutritional yeast, and vegan cheese: Our dairy-free dream team, creating a creamy, cheesy sauce without the actual cheese.
Now, let's bring these ingredients to life in our cooking process!
💭Recipe Tips & Tricks
Chickpea liquid: Save the chickpea liquid to make these killer fluffy vegan gluten free waffles.
Variety is the Spice of Life: Mix up the kind of mushrooms and veggies you use in this recipe. Experimenting with different ingredients can keep this dish fresh and exciting each time you make it.
- White mushrooms, portobello mushrooms, or cremini mushrooms could offer different flavors and textures.
- The same goes for the veggies - why not try broccoli or Brussels sprouts?
Pasta Water is Your Secret Weapon: Pasta water is packed with starches that can help thicken your sauce and make it cling to your pasta better, creating a more flavorful and satisfying dish.
- If your sauce is too thick, add a bit more pasta water. If it's too thin, let it simmer a bit longer to reduce it.
👩🏽🍳Instructions for making a creamy sauce: step-by-step:
Step 1: Veggie Prep Time!
Preheat your oven to a cozy 375 degrees and set a large pot of salted water on the stove to boil. Once the pot is boiling add in your pasta.
Next, prep your veggies. Transform your cauliflower into cute little florets (and don't forget to save those stems for your future veggie stock). Give your mushrooms a rough chop - they like it that way. And let's not forget our chickpeas, give them a good rinse and drain.
Step 3: Dress Up Those Veggies
Now, toss these veggies into a mixing bowl, drizzle them with olive oil, and sprinkle in the spices. Like dressing your kids for school, but way more fun. Once they're all dressed up, lay them out on a baking sheet and send them to bake for 20 minutes or until the chickpeas are golden brown. Goodbye, veggies!
Step 4: It's Sauce Time
While our veggies are getting crispy in the oven, let's whip up that sauce.
In a large skillet or sauce pot, over medium-high heat add the oil and onions, and cook until the onions are soft and translucent. Then, add the garlic and continue to cook for another 2 minutes.
Once your garlic is soft, pour in that creamy oat milk, nutritional yeast, Italian seasoning, salt, and vegan cheese. Reduce to medium heat and let it simmer, bubble, and thicken for about 10 minutes. This will also help give your creamy sauce a mushroom flavor.
Step 6: Veggies and Chickpeas are Back!
Once our veggies are nicely roasted, add them back into the sauce.
Drain your perfectly cooked pasta noodles, but remember to save ½ cup of pasta water to add back to the sauce. It's the secret to a super silky sauce.
Step 7: The Grand Finale
Before introducing the pasta to the sauce, take a moment to check the consistency of your sauce. That's where our reserved pasta water steps in. Depending on the type of vegan cheese you've used, you might need to add some pasta water to loosen up the sauce and make it perfectly silky.
Now, it's time to bring the pasta into this saucy situation. Add in the pasta and then let it all simmer for another minute. This is where the magic happens, as the flavors mingle and get to know each other. It's a flavor fiesta in the pot!
Your creamy vegetable pasta is now ready for its big reveal. So pull up a chair, grab a fork, and get ready to dig into this delicious masterpiece you've created. Bon appétit!
Fridge Storage: This creamy vegetable pasta is best enjoyed fresh, but it keeps well in the fridge too! Simply let the dish cool completely, then transfer it to an airtight container. It will last for about 3-4 days in the fridge, making it a great option for meal prep or leftover lunches.
Reheating: To reheat, you can use either the microwave or the stove. For the microwave, heat it in 30-second intervals, stirring in between until it's warmed through. If using the stove, transfer the pasta to a saucepan, add a splash of your milk alternative to keep the sauce creamy, and warm over low heat, stirring occasionally, until hot.
You can absolutely prepare the creamy vegan Alfredo sauce in advance! Simply follow the sauce instructions and once done, let it cool and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It should last for up to 4-5 days. When ready to use, you may need to add a splash of your preferred milk alternative while reheating to maintain its creamy texture.
Adding protein to this pasta dish is a great way to make it even more filling. Quick options could include canned chickpeas, rinsed and drained, or frozen peas added directly to the sauce. For non-vegan households, a can of drained tuna works great too. If you have a bit more time, you could roast some tofu or tempeh along with the vegetables. Remember to consider the flavors of your protein choice and how they will blend with the creamy Alfredo sauce.
If your creamy pasta feels a bit bland, consider adding more spices or fresh herbs. Garlic, onion powder, black pepper, red pepper flakes, or a dash more of nutritional yeast can add more depth to the flavors. For a pop of freshness, try some chopped parsley, basil, or even a squeeze of lemon juice or white wine.
To make plain pasta tastier, you can cook it in vegetable broth or add some olive oil, garlic, and herbs while it's boiling. Tossing the cooked pasta in a flavorful sauce, like our creamy vegan Alfredo, or adding roasted vegetables, can also elevate a simple pasta dish.
🥣Make this next…
I hope you enjoyed this easy creamy vegetable pasta. If you are interested in more easy and healthy weeknight recipes be sure to check out these:
Roasted creamy vegetable pasta recipe
- 1 package gluten free fettuccine we used Barilla
- 1 can chickpeas drained and rinsed
- 1 head cauliflower
- 2 pints mushroom (I used a mix of oyster and enoki)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil extra virgin
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
- ¼ teaspoon salt
Vegan cheese sauce
- 1 tablespoon olive oil extra virgin
- 1 onion minced
- 2 cloves fresh garlic minced
- 2 cups oat milk (I sed Earth's Own Unsweetened)
- 2 tablespoon vegan cheese (Cashew based soft cheese)
- ½ cup nutritional yeast
- 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
- ¼ teaspoon salt
Roast the vegetables
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. And set a large pot of salted water to boil.
- Meanwhile prepare the veggies. Seperate the cauliflower into florets. Roughly chop your mushrooms and drain and rinse your canned chickpeas.
- Then add the vegetables into a mixing bowl and toss with the oilive oil and spices. Place onto a baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes.
Make your creamy pasta sauce
- In a large pot, over medium-high heat add the oil and onions, and cook until the onions are soft and translucent. Then, add the fresh garlic and continue to cook for another 2 minutes.
- Then pour in the oat milk, nutritional yeast, italian seasoning, salt, and vegan cheese. Reduce the heat and simmer for another 10 minutes.
- Once the veggies finish baking, add them into the sauce.
- Once cooked, drain the pasta noodles but reserving ½ cup. Before adding the pasta, check the consistency of the sauce. If it seems a little to thick you can slowly add in some pasta water to help thin it out.
- Add the pasta into the sauce and stir. Cook for another 1 minute or so to allow the flavours to mingle. Then serve!
- Pelsser, L. M., Frankena, K., Toorman, J., & Rodrigues Pereira, R. (2017). Diet and ADHD, reviewing the evidence: a systematic review of meta-analyses of double-blind placebo-controlled trials evaluating the efficacy of diet interventions on the behavior of children with ADHD. PloS one, 12(1), e0169277.
- Ambrosini GL, Oddy WH, Huang RC, Mori TA, Beilin LJ, Jebb SA. Prospective associations between sugar-sweetened beverage intakes and cardiometabolic risk factors in adolescents. The American journal of clinical nutrition. 2013 Aug 1;98(2):327-34.
- Jacka FN, Kremer PJ, Berk M, de Silva-Sanigorski AM, Moodie M, Leslie ER, Pasco JA, Swinburn BA. A prospective study of diet quality and mental health in adolescents. PloS one. 2011 Sep 21;6(9):e24805
- Verhoeven, D. T., Goldbohm, R. A., van Poppel, G., Verhagen, H., & van den Brandt, P. A. (1996). Epidemiological studies on brassica vegetables and cancer risk. Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, 5(9), 733-748.
- Bowling, N., & Pletcher, P. (2017, October 12). Cruciferous Vegetables: Health Benefits and Recipes. Healthline.
- Finley, J. W., Davis, C. D., & Feng, Y. (2000). Selenium from high selenium broccoli protects rats from colon cancer. The Journal of Nutrition, 130(9), 2384-2389. doi:10.1093/jn/130.9.2384.
- Keck, A.-S., & Finley, J. W. (2004). Cruciferous Vegetables: Cancer Protective Mechanisms of Glucosinolate Hydrolysis Products and Selenium. Integrative Cancer Therapies, 3(1), 5-12.