Mushroom Rigatoni – A plant-based pasta recipe to die for

Plant based recipe for Umami Mushroom Rigatoni

By Renate Engelbrecht

Friday, Jan 28

I am always on the lookout for new recipes. Not just any recipes, but healthy recipes that are easy to make and recipes that have ingredients that aren’t too difficult to find at my nearest Spar. I’m also a big mushroom fan, as they are so super healthy, available all year round and it adds a meaty flavour to any meal.

Pasta is one of Catha’s favourites, so I know when I make pasta that she will enjoy every bite. It’s also something that the rest of family often enjoy, so whether it’s with bacon and cheese, with mince and tomato, or with basil pesto, it’s always a hit in our home.

I have been trying to include more plant-based meals in our diet, though. We’re not vegetarian or vegan, but I’ve realised that the last two months were filled with a lot of red meat and that one or two plant-based dinners per week might just be what we need to get ourselves back into a routine of clean(er) eating.

Hence, I’ve come across this brilliant Umami Mushroom Rigatoni, put together by the South African Mushroom Farmers’ Association and it’s undoubtedly one of those plant-based recipes that will become a favourite in our family, and probably yours too.

Also, check out this article I did on why it’s so important to include mushrooms – a must-have ingredient in this plant-based recipe – in your diet and why you should consider eating more plant-based.

Umami Mushroom Rigatoni
Umami Mushroom Rigatoni. Image: South African Mushroom Farmers’ Association

Umami Mushroom Rigatoni

Serves 4


250g rigatoni pasta (or another similar short pasta)

4 large portabello mushrooms

250g portabellini mushrooms

2 Tbsp olive oil

2 Tbsp butter

1 large bunch fresh thyme

4 garlic cloves, minced

2 Tbsp soy sauce

½ cup crème fraîche

Salt and pepper, to taste

1 lemon, cut into wedges


Cook the rigatoni in boiling salted water, until al dente.

Reserve 1 cup of pasta cooking water and drain pasta.

While the pasta is cooking, scrape out the black gills from the underside of the portabellos with a teaspoon. Cut each portabello in half and then cut each half into four chunky wedges.

Slice the portabellinis into quarters.

Heat the oil and butter in a large cast iron pan over medium-high heat.

Add the garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant.

Add the mushrooms and thyme.

Cook the mushrooms, tossing them often until just tender and golden brown.

Pour in the soy sauce and cook until absorbed.

Turn the heat down.

Stir in the crème fraîche, salt, pepper, and a splash of pasta water.

Add cooked pasta and toss gently to coat in the mushroom sauce.

Keep adding pasta water as needed to achieve a silky, shiny sauce.

Serve pasta with squeeze of fresh lemon juice and extra freshly ground black pepper.


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