Mushrooms add heartiness to vegan linguine

Susan Selasky

Vegan Linguine with Shiitake Cream Sauce has a hearty and meaty flavor, thanks to the nutritional yeast and mushrooms.

Nutritional yeast lends a nutty and semi-cheesy flavor that's often described as a salty, Parmesan cheese-like taste.

Nutritional yeast is yellowish and sold in flake or powder form. For this dish, it's best to use flakes, which can be found at most health food stores. Don't confuse nutritional yeast with yeast used in baking. Nutritional yeast is not active, so it is non-leavening. It's pasteurized and that deactivates it.

This recipes uses shiitake mushrooms, but feel free to use your favorite. Cremini mushrooms, for example, will lend more of a meatier flavor.

Vegan Linguine With Shiitake Cream Sauce

According to the Vegetarian Times, Mark Reinfield, author of several vegan cookbooks, "revamps a classic Italian recipe, replacing clams with a combination of shiitake mushrooms and arame, a sea vegetable available in the Asian food aisle of supermarkets."

Serves: 6

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Total time: 30 minutes

12 ounces dry linguine

2 tablespoons arame, optional

2 tablespoons olive oil

6 cloves garlic, peeled, minced (about 2 tablespoons)

3 cups fresh shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and cut into 1/2-inch cubes

1/2 cup dry white wine

1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 1/2 cups unsweetened soy, rice or macadamia nut milk

3 tablespoons nutritional yeast

2 tablespoons Earth Balance margarine, optional

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

3 tablespoons fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped

4 teaspoons pine nuts or walnuts, chopped and toasted

Cook pasta in boiling, salted water according to package directions. Reserve about 1 cup of the cooking water. Drain the pasta. Meanwhile, if using arame, soak it in 1/2 cup hot water.

Meanwhile, in large skillet heat the oil over medium heat. Add garlic and cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add mushrooms, wine and lemon juice; sauté 5 minutes, adding about 1/4 cup of the reserved pasta cooking water (if needed) to prevent sticking.

Reduce the heat and add soy milk, nutritional yeast, margarine (if using), red pepper flakes and arame with soaking liquid; season with salt and pepper, if desired.

Cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Divide linguine among 4 plates, top with shiitakes and sauce, and garnish with parsley and pine nuts.

Nutritional information: 386 calories (21 percent from fat), 9 g fat (1 g saturated fat), 65 g carbohydrates, 16 g protein, 114 mg sodium, 0 mg cholesterol, 5 g fiber.

Tested by Susan M. Selasky for the Free Press Test Kitchen.