This Noodles & Company Pesto Cavatappi copycat recipe is easy to make and ready in 30 minutes! With fresh pesto, mushrooms, and diced tomatoes. Vegetarian.
This easy pesto pasta is our weeknight secret weapon: It’s ready in under 30 minutes, full of flavor, and a perfect blank canvas for any extra veggies you have lying around.
Save any leftovers for lunch or dinner the next day (heat it up in a skillet over low heat or eat it cold right out of the fridge!)
Our recipe is loosely based on the classic Pesto Cavatappi at Noodles & Company, but we dialed up the veggies to make it a bit heartier and more colorful!
We’re working with a simple ingredients list here – and it’s easy to swap things around depending on what you’ve got on hand! All you need:
- Your favorite pasta (we’re using cavatappi)
- Olive Oil
- Portobello mushrooms
- Salt & Pepper
- Shaved parmesan cheese (for garnish!)
Which pesto is best for pasta?
We love using pesto as pasta sauce – and just about any pesto will work here!
Order of Operations
- Cook the pasta in very salty water until it’s al dente.
- While the pasta cooks, sauté the veggies. Start by browning the mushrooms, then add garlic, tomatoes, salt and pepper and cook until the tomatoes are just heated through.
- Toss cooked pasta with pesto and veggies to finish your pasta! Top it off with a bit of freshly shaved or grated parmesan and serve.
Riffs and Substitutions
This pasta is very forgiving! Some of our favorite swaps and additions:
- Switch up the veggies. Make this mushroom pesto pasta a bit heartier by stirring spinach, kale, or arugula in at the very end. You can also add grilled or roasted veggies: broccoli, zucchini, asparagus, or roasted butternut squash cubes are all good in this pasta. Add some frozen green peas or fresh broccoli to the boiling water just before the pasta is done cooking for an easy addition!
- Add your favorite protein. This pesto pasta is great with chicken (grilled, baked, shredded, or rotisserie), grilled or baked shrimp, salmon, tuna, bacon, or Italian sausage! Cook your protein and serve it on the side or stir it into the pasta with the rest of the ingredients.
- For an extra, flavorful boost, add a pinch of red pepper flakes when you sauté the mushrooms and tomatoes. You can also add a squeeze of fresh lemon juice to the finished pasta.
- For a creamy pesto pasta, melt a dollop of cream cheese into the sauce or add a splash of heavy cream (just like our pesto cream sauce!) A few scoops of our Magic Cauliflower Cream or a store-bought alfredo sauce are also tasty additions here. For a silkier sauce without adding dairy, reserve some pasta water and stir that in at the very end.
This easy pesto pasta is ready in 30 minutes!
- ¾ pound cavatappi pasta
- 3 Tablespoons olive oil
- 2 heaping cups sliced baby portobello mushrooms
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 large tomato, chopped (about 1 cup)
- ¼ cup basil pesto
- salt and pepper to taste
- ¼ cup shredded or shaved parmesan cheese, for garnish
- Cook pasta in very salty water until al dente.
- While pasta cooks, heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
- Add mushrooms to skillet and sauté, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms have reduced in size and begun to brown, about 6-8 minutes.
- Add garlic to the skillet and cook, stirring frequently, for 1-2 minutes until softened and fragrant.
- Add salt, pepper, and tomatoes. Stir to combine. Reduce heat to low, stirring frequently, until pasta is done cooking.
- Drain the pasta. Add cooked pasta and pesto to the skillet and toss to combine. Taste and add salt if needed.
- Top with parmesan cheese and serve immediately.
For a creamy pasta sauce, add a splash of heavy cream or a dollop of cream cheese just before you mix in the cooked pasta. You can also add a few scoops of store bought alfredo sauce or our magic cauliflower cream.
What pesto should I use? Use any pesto you like! We used a basic basil pesto here, but it’s also good with our arugula pesto. Store bought and homemade pesto both work well.
Additions and Substitutions. Dial up the mushrooms and tomatoes here, or add whatever veggies you have on hand (broccoli, peas, spinach, kale, and corn are all good!) We also like this pesto pasta with chicken, salmon, shrimp, or Italian sausage. For extra flavor, add a pinch of red pepper flakes or a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.
Keywords: summer, weeknight, noodles
The photos for this recipe were taken by Casey at The Mindful Hapa!