A super simple, tasty vegetarian dinner that will never let you down! Roasted garlic mushrooms are tossed with homemade or store bought pesto and topped with a dollop of soft cheese for an incredible mix of flavors and textures. This is an easy no-chop dinner, a fancy date night meal, or anything in between depending on how you approach it!

Introducing my favorite vegetarian mushroom pesto pasta recipe with lots of flex

If you’re a mushroom lover, then you already know how mushrooms and pasta are a match made in heaven and the perfect choice for a more “meaty” and substantial vegetarian pasta dinner. In this recipe we roast them with some garlic to make them their best selves, then we toss them into pesto pasta. And then we add a dollop of soft cheese if we’re feeling inclined. Mmm.

This can be an easy 30 minute meal or a fancy date night situation. There’s lots of options! On the easiest possible side of the spectrum, you buy store bought pesto, pre-sliced mushrooms and pre-chopped garlic, and you’ll barely notice that you’re cooking. On the other side, you could be making this fancy with some wild mushrooms, home made pesto and whipped feta or ricotta.

1. Choose Your Mushrooms

I use simple chestnut mushrooms which I can get in a large pack and are fairly inexpensive. They’re great everyday mushrooms, and they roast well. I’ve tried this recipe with chopped portobello mushrooms too, which also work beautifully. If you’re wanting it to be super quick and easy, you could use pre sliced mushrooms in whatever variety they’re available. Or, if you’re wanting to make an upgraded version of this recipe, try a mixed pack of wild mushrooms.

2. Choose Your Pesto

To keep things on the quick and easy side, some ready made basil pesto works well, if you have a trusted brand. But should you choose to go with homemade pesto, I have included my favourite pesto recipe in the card. This makes a big batch which will likely leave you with leftovers, and which lets you choose all basil, or a mix of basil and baby spinach to bulk out the nutritional value.

But when it comes to homemade pesto… there are SO. MANY. OPTIONS. I have a huge collection of pesto recipes right here if you just want to look at pesto recipes all day, like I do. But a few particular recommendations for this Mushroom Pesto Pasta would be…

3. Choose Your Soft Cheese

If you’re making this with a really fresh, vibrant tasting pesto, a dollop of something creamy is such a great addition that makes some bites lovely and creamy. Ideas:

  • A spoonful of ricotta cheese (you can make whipped ricotta if you feel like it, but I just give it a stir and spoon it straight from the tub).
  • A spoonful of mascarpone cheese.
  • A ball of burrata or fresh buffalo mozzarella, you would want 1/4 – 1/2 of a ball per serving.
  • Whipped feta.

Making this a kid friendly family meal

I love this as a family meal with young kids, babies or toddlers because if your family doesn’t agree on all the ingredients, you can easily bring everything to the table separately and construct your bowls from there. So kids could have their pasta tossed in pesto, soft cheese, both, or neither, and the mushrooms could be optional. Obviously, if there’s another veggie they’d like, you can add that to the mix for them.

Garlic Mushroom Pesto Pasta

A super simple, tasty vegetarian dinner that will never let you down! Roasted garlic mushrooms are tossed with homemade (or store bought) pesto and topped with a dollop of soft ricotta cheese for an incredible mix of flavors and textures.
5 from 3 ratings


  • 1 lb (16 oz) chestnut mushrooms, halved or sliced
  • 3 Tbsp (40 g) butter
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ cup (120 ml) pesto , The quantity is very approximate – see notes
  • 11 oz (11 oz) spaghetti, or any other long pasta shape – angel hair, linguine, bucatini, etc
  • 6 Tbsp soft cheese
  • 2 Tbsp grated parmesan or Italian hard cheese, for topping – see notes
  • 1 lemon, for juicing

Homemade Pesto Recipe

  • 3 Tbsp pine nuts
  • 4-5 cups (75-100 g) basil leaves, or a combination of basil and baby spinach
  • cup (45 g) grated parmesan or Italian hard cheese, grated
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • cup (90 ml) olive oil, you may want more, up to 1/2 cup


  • Heat the oven to 220C / 430F.
  • If you're making the homemade pesto, do it first while the oven preheats – Toast your pine nuts by heating a frying pan on a low heat, without any oil, and add the pine nuts for a minute or two, mixing regularly, until they're lightly browned and smelling toasty. Then add the garlic, spinach and MOST (about 2/3rds) of the basil, pine nuts and cheese to your food processor or mini chopper. Add a few grinds of salt and blend until finely chopped. Add the lemon juice and blend, slowly adding the oil to the mixture, until smooth. Now add the reserved basil, pine nuts and cheese into the food processor with the remaining oil. Pulse gently until these ingredients are incorporated into the pesto but in larger pieces. Add more oil if you think it needs it.
  • Prepare the mushrooms. Melt the butter in the microwave in a large mixing bowl. Stir in the olive oil, garlic and then the mushrooms. Toss to coat the mushrooms in the garlic butter, then add salt and pepper if desired.
  • Scatter on a baking sheet and place in the oven for 20 minutes, or until they are browned.
  • Boil the pasta according to package instructions.
    Once it is cooked, you can reserve a little cooking water before draining if the pesto you're using is homemade and chunky and might need thinning out (it's less likely to need it if it's a jarred pesto as those are usually thin and oily).
  • Add the pesto to the pasta, and some cooking water if needed to smooth it out.
  • Add in the mushrooms and toss to combine.
  • Spoon into bowls and top with any additional toppings you like: a dollop of soft cheese, a sprinkle of parmesan, or a squeeze of lemon juice.


Pesto Quantities – it’s really hard to give you a quantity for the pesto, because some homemade pesto is really chunky and thick, while a store bought pesto is more silky and oily and you’d go for a much lighter coating. Different pasta shapes will also need more or less. I’d approach this recipe with a fresh batch of pesto and enjoy leftovers if you have them. If you are using leftovers for this recipe and you find you don’t have quite enough, maybe add a little cream or extra pasta cooking water, butter or olive oil to stretch things out. 
Portions – I’ve called this three portions. Realistically, you’d either have two adult portions + leftovers for lunch the next day, or be able to divide between two adults and two children. It’s not quite four adult portions, unless there is a side dish. And scaling up the pasta and pesto quantities a little would help it stretch. 
Nutritional information is based on a standard basil pesto.
Parmesan or Italian hard cheese – If you’re in the EU, anything labelled parmesan won’t be suitable for vegetarians due to the use of animal rennet (outside the EU, this is not always the case unless it’s labelled as DOP Parmesan) so if you need this to be vegetarian friendly, find an Italian hard cheese with vegetarian rennet. They’re available in all UK supermarkets. 
Calories: 734kcal, Carbohydrates: 85g, Protein: 24g, Fat: 34g, Saturated Fat: 15g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g, Monounsaturated Fat: 9g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 61mg, Sodium: 417mg, Potassium: 1021mg, Fiber: 5g, Sugar: 6g, Vitamin A: 1045IU, Calcium: 214mg, Iron: 2mg