Penne with Portabella Mushrooms and Asparagus in a Tomato Cream Sauce (Vegan or not)

May 8, 2013

I’m going to keep this post short and sweet, as I’m still just feeling yucky.  I’ve made this pasta a few times and for some reason it never crossed my mind to post it. If you don’t like mushrooms or asparagus (crazy people!) I think a wide variety of veggies would go great with this sauce.


I’ve tried once or twice to make a quick marinara sauce, and it always fails miserably.  My most recent attempt tasted like if I made salsa with vaguely Italian seasonings – not good.  This is no marinara sauce, but it is a great sauce for coating pasta and veggies.  It’s mild and creamy, slightly cheesey.  In one word: delicious.  This is by far my current favorite way to eat pasta!


Penne with Portabella Mushrooms and Asparagus in a Tomato Cream Sauce (Vegan or not)
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 

Serves: 6

  • 15 oz can tomato sauce
  • 2 c milk choice (I used unsweetened almond milk)
  • ½ c nutritional yeast or ¼ – ½ c fresh shredded Parmesan
  • ½ tsp onion powder (see note)
  • ½ tsp garlic powder (see note)
  • 1 tsp agave (or a heaping tsp sugar)
  • 1 tsp lemon
  • Splash of liquid smoke (optional)
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce (or GF/soy free substitute)
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 2 ½ tbsp cornstarch
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 lb asparagus
  • 1 tbsp butter or margarine (or nonstick spray or a thin layer of water)
  • 2 – 4 portabella mushroom caps (pictured with 4)
  • 12 oz whole wheat penne pasta or gluten free pasta

  1. Cook pasta according to package. Drain and set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, combine tomato sauce, milk, yeast/cheese, onion powder, garlic powder, garlic, lemon, liquid smoke, and soy sauce in a medium sauce pan over medium heat. Once hot, combine water and cornstarch in a small dish and whisk into the sauce. Reduce heat and stir occasionally until slightly thickened. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Trim asparagus and mushrooms to approximately the same size as the pasta. Melt butter (or heat water/nonstick spray) over medium heat in a separate pan from the sauce. Add the asparagus and saute for approximately 5 minutes then add the mushroom. Saute until they’ve reached your desired level of tenderness. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Add the noodles and sauce right to the pan with the mushrooms and asparagus. Stir to combine and serve.
  5. This makes EXCELLENT leftovers — sauce is even better the next day.

For a fresher, bolder taste, use 2 cloves chopped garlic and 2 tbsp chopped onion and lightly saute before adding the tomato sauce, etc and omit the dried garlic/onion.
Nutritional info is for nutritional yeast, without the use of butter.

Nutrition Information
Serving size: ⅙th Recipe Calories: 315 Fat: 3g Carbohydrates: 61g Fiber: 13g Protein: 19g


Tagged with:

    Hillari-- Jul 20, 2013

    Wait, wait, wait. I made this tonight, but I got stuck. There isn’t any instructions as to what to do with the milk, onion powder, garlic powder, lemon, Parmesan, or sugar? I just assumed to put it all in with the tomato sauce mix, but I didn’t know. It turned out okay, but I feel like it could have been better. Help!

      Kelly Jul 21, 2013

      what you did was right. I wrote this post when I wasnt feeling my best, so appologies that it’s not clear. Add all of the listed ingredients through the soy sauce, meaning everything listed: the milk, the lemon, the onion powder, etc.

    Anne ~ Uni Homemaker May 10, 2013

    I love creamy tomato sauce and asparagus so I know I’ll love this. Sounds fabulous and healthy too! 🙂

    sally @ sallys baking addiction May 09, 2013

    The tomato sauce alone looks so good. Creamy and perfect. Wonderful with pasta and veggies. I love asparagus!

    Becky @ Olives n Wine May 09, 2013

    Oooohhhh… yum! Anything with asparagus calls my name and this pasta looks decadently healthy! 🙂

    The Scrumptious Pumpkin May 09, 2013

    I make a similar pasta dish, and love how you’ve included tomato sauce to add even more healthy flavors. This just looks scrumptious! 🙂

    dishing up the dirt May 09, 2013

    oh lady, you have me drooling right now! what a lovely recipe!

      Kelly May 09, 2013

      Thanks! 🙂

    Nanna May 09, 2013

    Such a great combo! Hope you feel better soon so that you can enjoy these recipes all that much more 🙂

      Kelly May 09, 2013

      Thank you 🙂

    moderngirlnutrition May 09, 2013

    Mmmmm pasta. Loving the look of that creamy sauce!! Great job as always!

      Kelly May 09, 2013


    makingthymeforhealth May 08, 2013

    I love asparagus and mushrooms together! Your penne looks delicious!

    Nicole @ Young, Broke and Hungry May 08, 2013

    I dont understand anybody who doesn’t love mushrooms and asparagus! They are so yummy and so is this cream sauce.

      Kelly May 08, 2013

      Crazy people, for sure.

    cleaneatingveggiegirl May 08, 2013

    Yum! This looks so perfect. I do not make pasta dishes enough. I need to make this soon because mushrooms and asparagus are two of my favorite things to eat :).

      Kelly May 08, 2013

      Thanks! Let me know if you try it out.

    Ashley Bee May 08, 2013

    I made something similar, but with a lot of spice and goat cheese. It’s really incredible!

      Kelly May 08, 2013

      Mmm goat cheese? That sounds tasty!

    crazyforcrust May 08, 2013

    This sounds like an amazing dinner! I love asparagus.

    Em @ Love A Latte May 08, 2013

    This looks so freakin good!!! I want it for dinner tonight haha 🙂 Feel better!

      Kelly May 08, 2013

      Thanks! I don’t know what’s wrong with me. I went to bed immediatley after writing this post last night (so… 7 pm!) May 08, 2013

    This sounds so delicious Kelly. I love a creamy pasta sauce but they can get so fattening. Love yours isn’t sharing it on Facebook.

      Kelly May 08, 2013

      Thanks! 🙂