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January 12, 2017

Roasted Mushroom, Cilantro and Walnut Pesto Pasta

Ashley Melillo, Blissful Basil/BenBella Vegan publishing

  • This delicious pasta dish can be whipped up in 30 minutes or less. Ashley Melillo

Serves 4


1 1/2 cups (340g) brown rice rigatoni, fettuccini or lasagna noodles
1 pound baby bella or cremini mushrooms, stemmed and quartered
6 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
4 tablespoons cold-pressed olive oil, divided
1/2 cup (115g) raw walnut pieces
1/2 cup (small bunch) fresh cilantro (coriander), stemmed, plus more for garnishing
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice, plus more to taste
3/4 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt, plus more to taste
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, plus more to taste


1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Line both a large baking pan and a small baking pan with parchment paper.

2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente according to package directions. Drain, reserving 1 cup (225ml) of the pasta water, and return the cooked pasta to the pot.

3. Toast the walnut pieces in a small skillet over medium heat until lightly toasted. Remove from heat.

4. Meanwhile, spread the mushrooms and garlic on the large lined pan, drizzle with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, toss to coat and roast for 15 to 18 minutes, or until tender, golden brown and slightly wrinkled. Reserve approximately 1/2 cup of the roasted mushrooms for garnishing the pasta (the rest will be used to make the pesto).

5. In a food processor, combine the roasted mushrooms and garlic, remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil, toasted walnuts, cilantro, lime juice, sea salt and red pepper flakes. Pulse 45 to 50 times, or until the mushrooms are finely minced and the texture resembles a coarse pesto.

6. Spoon the pesto over the pasta and toss to coat, adding the pasta water a few tablespoons at a time as needed to thin the sauce. Top with the reserved mushrooms and lightly garnish with more fresh lime juice, cilantro, red pepper flakes and sea salt, if desired, and serve.