Pasta With Mushrooms and Cashew Cream

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Recipe developer DeVonn Francis first came across nutritional yeast at a restaurant job, when chef Gerardo Gonzalez used the nutty yellow flakes to make homemade vegan Dorito dust. It’s an inexpensive, shelf-stable ingredient that lends a distinct cheesiness when you don’t want or have the real thing. To create the creamy sauce for this pasta, Francis hydrates the yeast by blending it with cashews and pasta water until smooth. Might you mistake it for actual alfredo sauce? Maybe. Maybe not. It’s delicious either way. This recipe is part of the 2021 Feel Good Food Plan, our eight-day dinner plan for starting the year off right.


4 Servings


cup cashews


Tbsp. (or  more) extra-virgin olive oil, divided


oz. maitake mushrooms, torn into  bite-size pieces


oz. shiitake mushrooms, stems removed, torn into bite-size pieces

Kosher salt


medium leek, white and pale green parts only, halved lengthwise, thinly sliced crosswise


medium shallots, finely chopped


garlic cloves, thinly sliced


oz. spaghetti or other long pasta


Tbsp. nutritional yeast


Tbsp. finely chopped parsley



Freshly ground black pepper


Step 1

Preheat oven to 350°. Toast cashews on a rimmed baking sheet, tossing halfway through, until golden brown, 7–9 minutes. Let cool.

Step 2

Heat 2 Tbsp. oil in a large Dutch oven or other heavy pot over medium-high. Arrange half of mushrooms in a single layer in pot and cook, undisturbed, until edges are brown and starting to crisp, about 3 minutes. Give mushrooms a good toss, then continue to cook, tossing occasionally, until all sides are brown and crisp, about 5 minutes more. Using a slotted spoon, transfer mushrooms to a plate; season with salt. Repeat with remaining 2 Tbsp. oil, remaining mushrooms, and more salt.

Step 3

Reduce heat to medium-low and return all of the mushrooms to same pot. Add leeks, shallots, and garlic and cook, stirring often and adding another 1 Tbsp. oil if pan looks dry, until leeks and shallots are translucent and softened, about 4 minutes. Remove from heat.

Step 4

Meanwhile, cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until very al dente, about  2 minutes less than package directions (the pasta will finish cooking in the pan). Drain pasta, reserving ¾ cup pasta cooking liquid.

Step 5

Blend cashews, nutritional yeast, and pasta cooking liquid in a blender until very creamy. Set cashew cream aside.

Step 6

Return drained pasta to pot with mushroom mixture and add reserved cashew cream. Place over medium heat and cook, stirring well to coat, until pasta is al dente, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat. Add parsley and squeeze in juice from lemon half. Toss well to incorporate.

Step 7

Divide pasta evenly among shallow bowls or plates and top with several grinds of pepper.

How would you rate Pasta With Mushrooms and Cashew Cream?

  • Delicious!! For me, a creamy mushroom pasta is one of the dishes I could never tire of, so I’m happy I can have a non dairy version! Unless you have a better blender than me, it won’t be quite as smooth as dairy, but super creamy and satisfying nonetheless. Definitely would recommend having pasta water on hand to thin out the sauce and let it coat the pasta, and the lemon juice is very necessary to brighten it up. You could also try it with miso if that’s what you have—it can impart the same cheesiness nutritional yeast has. I will make this again and again!!

    • Anonymous

    • 1/21/2021

  • Garbage recipe. First, whomever developed this has clearly not made a lot of plant-based recipes. 3/4 cup of pasta water is not nearly enough, and even salting the mushrooms in batches didn’t yield enough flavor. The over-cooking of the pasta (I left it SO al dente, as per the directions) in simply trying to thin the sauce yielded broken pieces. Literally, it tasted like flat cashew paste with mushrooms. I threw it out. I’m so glad I spent $$$ on the ingredients. As usual, BA disappoints.

    • Anonymous

    • 1/20/2021


    The complexity of the earthy mushrooms with the cashew cream is a game changer. Trust me, you won’t miss dairy at all with this version of cashew cream. I think by toasting the cashews first, you’re developing a richer flavor for the sauce. Follow the directions to the letter to get your shroomage just right for the dish! We served ours over Hearts of Palm “pasta” and used a veggie stock to blend out cashew cream This recipe is going to be a permanent fixture in our kitchen! THANK YOU!! xo

    • Andrea’s Advice

    • Texas

    • 1/19/2021

  • Agree fully that this needs a grip of pasta water and a whole full lemon. We tried to leverage red pepper flake and garlic powder as well. First few bites were so good when piping hot, then we had cashew glue.

    • Claire M

    • Portland

    • 1/17/2021

  • I made this tonight and it was INCREDIBLE. The mushrooms were so good and the cashew cream is great. Just a tip, at the end of the recipe when everything is in the pan, use a little bit of your pasta water to pour in so it’s creamier after the sauce is added.

    • Claire B.

    • Brooklyn, NY

    • 1/17/2021

  • This pasta was phenomenal! I added some finely chopped kale and cooked it the same way as the mushrooms. Definitely make sure to reserve about 2 cups of pasta water – I ended up using almost all of it keep the sauce from drying out too much in the pan. I added a pinch of salt and a squeeze of lemon to the cashew cream mixture. Incredible flavour and SO wonderfully creamy!

    • Kula’s Kitchen

    • Toronto, Canada

    • 1/16/2021

  • We made this exactly as outlined. I think the secret to the sauce is blending the dry ingredients before adding the pasta water. Loved it.

    • Anonymous

    • Gettysburg PA

    • 1/15/2021

  • I enjoyed this with a few tweaks. While you don’t need to, I made my own whole wheat pasta. I sautéed the mushrooms with garlic and then added a splash of soy sauce and then a couple drizzles of balsamic. For the sauce I used 1 – 1.25 cups of pasta liquid. Keep in mind that since I made my own pasta, there was quite a bit of flour on my fresh pasta that went into the liquid. That extra flour may have helped thicken my sauce. I thought the flavors of the roasted walnuts and nutritional yeast in the sauce were great, but I also added some garlic powder and hot sauce. Next time I will roast some garlic to incorporate in the sauce and add even more hot sauce to give it a kick. I thought the recipe worked great as a foundation.

    • JTG

    • San Francisco, CA

    • 1/12/2021

  • So rich and indulgent! I made the mistake of soaking my raw cashews overnight before carefully reading the recipe. It worked, but I bet the toasted cashew flavor would take it to 5 stars. I also needed extra pasta water. All in all, this was a delightful feel good food plan dinner. Thanks BA!

    • Katy

    • Austin

    • 1/12/2021

  • Enjoyed this recipe – it’s rich! My lactose intolerant partner was delighted to have a creamy pasta for once! I agree with some other reviewers who noted they needed much more pasta water- I would estimate I used 1.5-2 cups in the end. I also added some lemon zest and olive oil to the sauce.

    • Lizzie

    • Richmond, VA

    • 1/12/2021

  • This was disappointing. Cashew cream?! More like cashew sludge, and I used a full cup of pasta water and a cup of tap water to thin. The result was a calorie-dense sauce with little flavor that blunted the other nice ingredients..

    • Anonymous

    • Berkeley, CA

    • 1/10/2021

  • I’ve had better mushroom pastas from this site, but this was definitely good! Keep allllll your pasta water and keep adding…continuously… but yeah! Thanks!

    • Allie J.

    • Chicago, IL

    • 1/10/2021

  • I haven’t tried this yet, but I have a question: do I start with raw or roasted cashews?

    • Paul

    • Wayne, NJ

    • 1/10/2021

  • This was delicious. And I know this changes a large component of the recipe, but a person in my household is very allergic to cashews. I replaced the roasted cashews with silken tofu and boy! So good!

    • Anonymous

    • 1/8/2021

  • I have loved BA for a long time. But now? I’m more than kind of over it.There are plenty of other food media groups that post wonderful recipes that can be replicated in the home kitchen. Does BA not get it? The average home cook does not have a $600 vitamix or a blender powerful enough to create a sauce beyond a pesto. Recipes such as this are not going to come out as they intended. It’s an absolute waste of space to post inaccessible recipes here. They need to get over themselves and come back down to earth.

    • Melissa

    • Brooklyn, NY

    • 1/8/2021

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