Creamy mushroom leek pasta recipe in a vegan white wine cream sauce – the quintessential good for you comfort food. A great recipe to keep in your weekly rotation and a favorite hearty meal to whip up last minute for unexpected guests.
Mushroom Leek Pasta
This savory leek pasta combines mild wild mushrooms sautéed with a splash of crisp white wine and coated in a silky rich cashew cream sauce balanced by a sprinkling of crispy bread crumb topping. Feel free to use the juice from a Meyer lemon in lieu of white wine if desired, and make sure to reach in the pantry for your favorite pasta rigate or wide noodles, something that captures lots of sauce in every bite.
About the Leeks
A supernatural vegetable when it comes to both flavor and their antioxidant power, I use them every chance I get and so should you. For this recipe I like to cook them down until they collapse and start to get a little color around the edges, this method brings out and concentrates their natural sweetness. Historically leeks have gotten a bad rap with home cooks for being sandy and hard to clean, but that really isn’t the case at all. Cleaning leeks is actually super easy.
Slice your leeks thinly (white and green tops too) and place in a large bowl filled with cold water. Give them a good stir and allow to sit for a few minutes. All the clean leeks will float to the top while the sand and dirt will sink to the bottom. Scoop out the leeks with your hands (or a slotted spoon) and transfer to a lint free kitchen towel to dry. That is all, super simple and now they are ready to go into your dish!
Common cremini / baby Bella mushrooms are just fine in this recipe as they are easy to find year round. However, depending on the season and availability of wild mushrooms in your area, this is definitely a great recipe to use them in. I’m in love with Chanterelles and their mild flavor with subtle apricot notes works beautifully with the cream sauce. The most important thing is that you choose a mushroom you already know you love (don’t experiment with anything too funky on your first go at it).
Vegan Cream Sauce
I’m all about a good for you cholesterol-free cream sauce. Extra points for coming together in a couple of minutes in the blender and yielding the silkiest most luscious cream. All you need is raw unsalted cashew pieces and water. If using a powerful blender such as a Vitamix you can add them straight into the blender, otherwise make sure to soak or boil the cashews for 20 minutes in hot water to soften them first and to avoid your cream being grainy. You want a luscious silky smooth texture!
Tips + FAQ
- The Pasta – Use any short pasta with ridges that you love. I used Lumache but orecchiette, cavatappi, rigatoni and even gnocchi works here.
- Do you use the green part of the leeks? – Please do! The entire leek is edible and brimming with flavor. Only discard the little roots and any wilted leaves.
- Make it Gluten-Free – The mushroom cream sauce is naturally gluten free, just make sure to choose a gluten free pasta for your dish and you are good to go.
- Toppings – You want a crispy salty topping to balance the creaminess of the dish. I used the same herbed panko bread crumbs I like to sprinkle over our vegan mac and cheese. It comes together in a couple of minutes and is guaranteed to elevate any creamy dish, I highly suggest you don’t skip it, the contrast of textures is divine.
- Make Ahead – If preparing this in advance just make sure to store the main components separately. Don’t toss the sauce with the pasta until ready to serve, at which point you can simply reheat and combine. Freezing is not recommended.
- Vegan Chicken
- Vegan Turkey Roast
- Lentil Loaf
- Seitan Steaks
- Crispy Roasted Broccoli
- Cauliflower Wings
- Sesame Tofu
- Tofu Parm.
how to make mushroom leek pasta
Mushroom Leek Pasta
- 1 medium size leek 3-4 cups, sliced and rinsed well
- 1 lb cremini mushrooms (sliced or quartered or your favorite wild mushrooms)
- 1 Tbsp fresh thyme
- 2 Tbsp fresh sage or tarragon chopped
- 1 pinch red chili flakes optional for heat
- 1/2 cup dry white wine (or freshly squeeze lemon juice)
- 3/4 lb lumache rigate or orecchiette pasta (or any short shape pasta you love)
- 1/3 cup fresh chives, dill or Italian parsley roughly chopped
- 1/2 cup reserved pasta cooking water (if needed) (or vegetable stock)
- 1/2 cup crispy panko bread crumbs (recipe below - optional for garnish)
- 1 cup raw cashew pieces
- 1.25 cups water
- 2 tsp onion powder
- pinch sea salt
Bread Crumb Topping
- 1.5 cups panko bread crumbs
- 1.5 Tbsp olive oil
- 2 Tbsp fresh thyme leaves (optional)
Make the Cashew Cream
- If using a powerful blender such as a Vitamix, simply blend the cashew pieces with the water, onion powder and salt until smooth and creamy. (Otherwise make sure to soak the cashews in hot water for 20 minutes or boil for 10 minutes before blending). Refrigerate until needed.1 cup raw cashew pieces, 1.25 cups water, 2 tsp onion powder, pinch sea salt
Cook the Leeks + Mushrooms
- Preheat a large skillet over medium high heat with a light drizzle of olive oil. Add the cleaned leeks and a pinch of salt. Sautee until softened and they begin to caramelize around the edges, a good 15 to 20 minutes.1 medium size leek
- Stir in the mushrooms with a small pinch of salt and continue cooking until wilted and most of the moisture has evaporated. (At this point reserve some of the leek mushroom mixture for garnish if desired)1 lb cremini mushrooms
- Stir in thyme and sage and pour in the white wine. Bring to a simmer and cook until the wine is reduced by half.1 Tbsp fresh thyme, 2 Tbsp fresh sage or tarragon, 1/2 cup dry white wine
- Add the cashew cream and combine. Simmer for a couple of minutes until thickened. Add some of the reserved pasta cooking water (or veggie stock) to loosen up the sauce to your liking if desired. Adjust seasonings to taste with salt and pepper and stir in the fresh herbs reserving some for garnish.1/2 cup reserved pasta cooking water (if needed), 1/3 cup fresh chives, dill or Italian parsley
Meanwhile Cook the Pasta
- Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil. Season generously with sea salt, the water should taste like the sea. Boil the pasta until al dente according to directions on the package. Reserve a cup of the pasta water and drain.3/4 lb lumache rigate or orecchiette pasta
- Combine 3/4 of the cooked pasta with the mushroom leek sauce. If you like the sauce to pasta ratio at this point enjoy otherwise add the rest of the pasta. Use a splash of the reserved pasta water to stretch out the sauce if needed. Adjust seasonings and serve with freshly cracked black pepper, crispy panko bread crumbs and extra fresh herbs.1/2 cup crispy panko bread crumbs, 1 pinch red chili flakes
Crispy Bread Crumb Topping
- Preheat the oil in a heavy bottom skillet over medium heat. Add the fresh thyme and let it sizzle for a minute or so. Stir in the bread crumbs and give them a good toss. Keeping a close eye on them allow to toast until golden brown to your liking, stirring often and taking care not to burn them. Remove from heat and season with a pinch of sea salt flakes. Serve sprinkled over the pasta or in a bowl on the side.1.5 cups panko bread crumbs, 1.5 Tbsp olive oil, 2 Tbsp fresh thyme leaves
- The Pasta - Use any short pasta with ridges that you love. I used Lumache but orecchiette, cavatappi, rigatoni and even gnocchi works here. Don't use too much pasta, it's best to add it little by little until the perfect sauce coverage is achieved.
- Do you use the green part of the leeks? - Please do! The entire leek is edible and brimming with flavor. Only discard the little roots and any wilted leaves.
- Make it Gluten-Free - The mushroom cream sauce is naturally gluten free, just make sure to choose a gluten free pasta for your dish and you are good to go.
- Toppings - You want a crispy salty topping to balance the creaminess of the dish. I used the same herbed crispy panko I like to sprinkle over our vegan mac and cheese, It comes together in a couple of minutes and is guaranteed to elevate and creamy dish. I highly suggest you don't skip it.
- Make Ahead - If preparing this in advance just make sure to store the main components separately. Don't toss the sauce with the pasta until ready to serve, at which point you can simply reheat and combine. Freezing is not recommended.
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