This delicious mushroom aglio olio is super quick to prepare (about 20 minutes!) and so flavorful. It highlights lots of garlic, chewy roasted mushrooms and olive oil for such a simple vegan pasta recipe. Perfect for a busy weeknight dinner or to serve as a side dish.
I found out about aglio olio pasta recipes not that long ago, although we must be eating this kind of dish almost every week! We simply call it garlic noodles, but the idea is the same. It is so simple and makes for a perfect quick weeknight dinner, especially if you are a pasta lover like me.
Aglio olio simply means "garlic and olive oil pasta". It is a traditional Italian pasta dish made by using very few ingredients, which consists essentially in flavoring olive oil with garlic before tossing in salty cooked pasta. That's it!
We always have spaghetti noodles, oil and garlic in the pantry, so this meal is great for a last minute dinner recipe without requiring much planning.
But in this case, I decided to make a mushroom aglio olio for more flavor and texture. I am a little obsessed with mushrooms, so there are always some waiting for me in the fridge. I added Cremini mushrooms in this classic aglio olio recipe and wow, the result was amazing. The chewy mushrooms carry so much umami flavor that adds more depth to this ultra simple recipe!
You can serve it as a full meal or side pasta dish to complement a main protein or a green vegetable. I used whole wheat spaghetti to make it more filling, but feel-free to use whatever pasta you like. The longest part of this recipe is to cook the noodles, which makes for a perfect meatless recipe for lazy evenings or quick lunches.
Hopefully you give it a try! ❤️
Why you'll love this recipe
- Quick and easy
- Simple dish for nights you crave pasta but don't feel like cooking much
- Healthy and high-fiber
- Perfect as a main meal or side dish
- Versatile and easy to customize with more ingredients
- Plant-based, dairy-free and vegetarian
What is aglio olio
A classic aglio olio is a pasta dish that originates from Naples (Italy) where "Aglio" refers to garlic and "olio" to olive oil. It is a very simple pasta meal that is most often served using spaghetti, although you might also find a penne aglio olio version.
This traditional recipe highlights the fact that it only requires a few ingredients that are shelf stable and readily available. Also inexpensive, done super quickly and can be a more or less saucy pasta dish depending on how you make it.
Other version of aglio olio also includes fresh parsley, red pepper flakes, fresh chili peppers, etc. It can also be used as a basic garlic pasta recipe to add more fresh produce, such as mushrooms or green veggies. And although you will often find this dish topped with parmesan cheese, know that the classic aglio olio is naturally vegan!
This recipe is so simple with a big focus on the garlic and mushroom flavors, so I highly recommend to choose good quality ingredients!
- Spaghetti: I love using whole wheat spaghetti noodles for this recipe. We serve it as a full meal, so this helps make the dish more substantial and filling. Thin spaghetti or angel hair would also be a great choice.
- Mushrooms: I only had Cremini mushrooms, which worked out very well, but feel free to use other kinds of mushrooms or a blend of different varieties, such as oysters, white buttons, shiitake or thinly sliced portobello.
- Garlic: you will need a bunch of garlic cloves, about 4-6 larges.
- Olive oil: choose high quality olive oil for this pasta recipe. I use it sparingly as I don't like cooking with a lot of oil, but you can adjust the amount to your liking.
- Red pepper flakes: delicious paired with mushrooms and garlic, use more or less depending on how spicy you want it to be.
- Fresh parsley: optional, but adds a nice touch of freshness and a little something green that stands out in this recipe.
How to make it
Cook the pasta
Start by boiling a large pot of salted water, then add your noodles. Cook al dente (and not more) as they will keep cooking a little longer later in the pan.
Also, once the noodles are done, use a cup to reserve some of the pasta cooking water and set aside. Then, you can drain the noodles (or grab them with tongs to transfer in the pan if the timing is right). The reserved water will be used later to create a saucier consistency as needed.
Roast the vegetables
While the pasta is cooking, then cook the vegetables so it is ready by the time the noodles are done. Working in parallel will make this recipe super quick and will allow to simply scoop the pasta straight from the boiling water to the pan.
Warm up a large non-stick pan on medium-high heat. Then, add a little olive oil (1-2 tablespoons), the mushrooms and a generous pinch of salt. Distribute the mushrooms all over the pan so they are nicely spaced out.
Keep the heat on medium-high and let the mushrooms brown before flipping/stirring them, about 3-5 minutes on each side. This is essential for best flavor and texture! If you toss them too often and keep them piled over each other, then they might steam and release too much water. This can end up boiling them instead of browning them, so you want to avoid that.
Once the mushrooms are done to your liking, then keep them in the pan, but push them aside. Add a little more olive oil in the middle of the pan and then add the garlic. Cook the garlic in the oil for 1-2 minutes while stirring a lot (check out the video to see how I do that).
Watch carefully, you don't want to burn it! The garlic is done when fragrant and just slightly browned, but still mostly looking raw. Then, toss the garlic within the mushrooms to stop them from browning too quickly and be ready to add a little water if the garlic is cooking too fast.
Assemble and serve
Add the cooked pasta, some red pepper flakes, freshly ground black pepper and fresh parsley to the pan and toss. Then, add as much pasta cooking water as you need to create a thin sauce. You may also add more olive oil and salt if you want at this point. Serve right away with some vegan parmesan cheese and more fresh parsley.
Watch how to make it
- I highly recommend to wait for the mushrooms to be completely browned and done roasting before adding the garlic to the pan. If you add the garlic too early, it will cook too much and might even burn, giving the whole dish a burnt flavor.
- If you are a fan of garlic, then feel-free to add more of it and even slice the cloves instead of crushing them to get some bigger chunks within the pasta.
- For a big boost of garlic flavor, not only you can add more of it, but also feel free to add the garlic in 2 steps: #1: cook 3-4 garlic cloves as described before tossing in the noodles and #2: add 1-2 extra cloves of crushed garlic over the whole dish when everything is done cooking and toss well.
- Another way to add more garlic flavor is to first sizzle some sliced garlic in some oil in the pan until browned, remove the garlic and discard (leaving the oil in the pan) and then keep going with the recipe. This first step will turn the oil super fragrant!
- Don't forget to generously salt the water used to cook the pasta. This will help flavor the whole dish, especially since you will also add some pasta cooking water back to the pan.
Variations to the recipe
This recipe is so simple, you can change it in so many ways!
Although not traditional, I like to use different kinds of fresh herbs when making it, especially cilantro, which adds so much amazing flavor in this dish. If in a pinch, you can also use dried herbs.
Other ideas include more fresh or frozen veggies such as broccoli, leafy greens (spinach or kale), tomatoes, green peas, red pepper, zucchini, etc. Simply roast the veggies first, set them aside on a plate and then add them back at the end just to warm them up.
You can also brighten up the whole pasta recipe with a splash of lemon juice at the end!
This recipe is even better with a generous sprinkle of vegan parmesan cheese. It adds more saltiness and an extra layer of texture. Add some directly in the pan with the noodles or at serving or both. You can use store-bought vegan parmesan cheese if you want, but I always have this almond parmesan cheese ready to go, so I used this one here (as seen in the pictures).
To make this meal even more filling, then serve it as a side pasta dish alongside some Italian focaccia bread, roasted smoky tofu or pan fried tempeh.
For a nice touch of green, you can top your dish with some fresh arugula at serving or serve with a side green salad such as this kale apple tangy salad.
Store the leftovers in an air-tight container in the fridge for a few days. The noodles might dry out a bit over time, but the flavor will stay amazing. You can add more oil or a tiny bit of water before reheating in the microwave or in a pan until heated through.
I don't recommend freezing this recipe!
Do your best to remove it if it is still apart from the mushrooms. Start over and add more garlic. The burnt garlic flavor really isn’t pleasant so watch out to avoid that.
Not really, although other vegetable oil would work ok if that's all you have. High-quality olive oil is a key ingredient for this recipe (olio = olive oil) and has such better flavor even if you don't use much.
More mushroom recipes you might like
- Mushroom barley risotto
- Lentil mushroom shepherd's pie
- Vegan white sauce mushroom pizza
- Simple mushroom couscous
- Lentil mushroom meatloaf
- Creamy wild rice mushroom soup
- Mashed potato stuffed mushrooms
- Vegan mushroom stroganoff
- Vegan gnocchi soup
More quick vegan pasta dishes
- Spicy garlic noodles
- Kale sesame noodles
- Creamy gochujang pasta
- Vegan peanut noodles
- Coconut milk pasta
- Vegan avocado broccoli pasta
- Tahini pasta
- Vegan creamy tomato pasta
I hope you like this mushroom aglio olio recipe as much as we do! If you try it, please leave a comment below and rate the recipe to let me know how it was. Your feedback is so helpful!
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Mushroom Aglio Olio
- 8 oz spaghetti - reserve some of the cooking water
- high-quality olive oil - about 2-4 tablespoons
- 10 oz mushrooms (about 3 cups) - any variety you like, sliced
- 4-5 cloves of garlic
- ½ cup fresh parsley - chopped
- salt and ground black pepper - to taste
- red pepper flakes - optional, to taste
- vegan parmesan cheese - optional, to serve
- Start by cooking the pasta in boiling salted water until al dente. Don't forget to reserve some of the cooking pasta water for later. Once done, drain (or use tongs to transfer the pasta straight to the pan if the timing is right).
- While the pasta is cooking, warm up a large non-stick pan over medium-high heat and then add some olive oil (about 1 tablespoon), the mushrooms and a good pinch of salt. Space out the mushrooms and let them cook for about 3-5 minutes before flipping/tossing them. If you toss them too much, they won't roast but will boil instead!
- Once the mushrooms are done to your liking, keep them in the pan, but push them on the side. Then, add some more olive oil (about 1 tablespoon) and the crushed garlic in the middle of the pan. Cook the garlic for 1-2 minutes while stirring constantly before tossing the mushrooms back with the garlic. You want to remove some of the raw flavor for the garlic without burning it.
- Then, add the cooked pasta to the pan alongside some red pepper flakes, parsley, more salt and some ground black pepper. Toss the noodles and add some pasta cooking water as needed to create a light sauce.
- Serve right away with more parsley, red pepper flakes and some vegan parmesan cheese.
- Store any leftovers in an air-tight container for up to 3 days. You can reheat in the microwave or in the pan (add some more olive oil or water if needed).
- I used cremini mushrooms, but any kind would work such as oyster, white buttons, shiitake or portobello.
- The most important part of this recipe is to not let the garlic burn. Be ready to add a splash or water if it is browning too fast.
- You can add tons of fresh veggies to this recipe, such as broccoli, cauliflower, leafy greens, red pepper, green peas, etc. You may want to roast them first in the pan, then set aside until the end where you can add them back to the noodles to warm them up.
I saw this recipe today and actually made it right after seeing the recipe since I had all the ingredients. Everyone liked it! Will definitely be making it again.
Oh that's great! I'm glad it worked out 🙂