Weeknight Mushroom Tetrazzini

If you like a Tetrazzini, you will love this vegetarian version that is filled with mushroom flavor. There’s a baked version with crispy top as well!

Like much of the east coast, we had a beautiful snowfall this week. I love a snow day of cooking or baking, making a big mess in the kitchen while waiting for the flakes to stop. This recipe makes the house smell great, and offers comfort food at its best – hearty, satisfying, and also a healthier take on a classic.

There’s also a baked version which takes more time and does make a bit of a mess, but it is worth it. It is a good Sunday meal where you can make something special without looking at the clock. The time is well spent because unless you have a really full table, there will be lots of leftovers for another day! And you get the bonus of a crispy top!

A birthday wish

            When my kids were small, my son’s favorite meal was Turkey Tetrazzini. I’m not sure if it was the pasta, the turkey, or the creamy sauce he loved the best, but it was always his birthday meal request.

            That recipe was delicious with its thick creamy sauce. I used milk and cream in my original recipe, and tons of cheese topped it all.  I fiddled with this for a while and came up with a really good alternative that everyone in the family can enjoy from gluten- to dairy-free, and those watching cholesterol.

Swap out everything!

            Tetrazzini is an American dish, although it might sound like it hails from Italy! It was a way to use up left-over turkey or chicken, swimming in a cream sauce that also included mushrooms, so the mushrooms were a good place to start here. It is hearty and filling, perfect for winter comfort. To lighten this up and make it friendly for everyone in the family, I pretty much swapped out every ingredient, and added a few for more flavor and nutrition. The result is dairy and gluten-free, low in saturated fat and sodium, and filled with far more flavor than the original. I’m not exaggerating here. To me, it is no use making something lighter or more healthful if it doesn’t taste as good!

            I use basic white button mushrooms or crimini, because they are flavorful and meaty, inexpensive, and also easy to find. You can use any mushroom you like or have on hand. I bumped up the veggies by adding a couple of cups of blanched broccoli florets and increased the peas. Sometimes I add even more. You could use cauliflower here, or even green beans, use what you like best.

We’ll make the white sauce even better

            Even though full of butter, the original sauce could be a little on the bland side. Probably the biggest flavor boost was my homemade mushroom stock which replaced half the liquid in the white sauce. This contributed greatly to the dish. Tasting the milk and mushroom stock together inspired the first “yum” and little happy dance. Making the stock is a habit in my kitchen, a way to extract every drop of flavor from what is usually discarded. The only addition here was dried mushrooms which are extremely flavorful and make a wonderful stock. You can, however, use purchased mushroom or vegetable sauce, but homemade tastes much better and you control the sodium. 

            Since my husband’s heart attack, we’re had to be really careful about the sodium and saturated fat. A very hefty serving has about 2 grams of saturated fat, and it is from coconut and not animal fat. I’ve included the nutritional information below, calculations courtesy of MyFitnessPal.

The baked version has the best part of the dish – a crunchy topping of breadcrumbs and cheese! However, the stovetop method is much faster, literally can be made in the time it takes to boil and cook the pasta, uses less pots and pans, and is perfect for a weeknight. Your choice.

Mushroom Stock for both recipes:

Dried mushrooms make this stock out of this world. If you haven’t tried them, seek them out. They add so much flavor, so much more than a fresh mushroom. Just look for domestic dried mushrooms, check, you don’t want the ones from China.

For the stock, save all the trimmings from this recipe, the mushroom stems, onion and garlic skins, and toss these in a pot along with an ounce or so of dried mushrooms. Add a quart of water, salt and pepper, bring to a boil, and simmer for 30 minutes. Let sit until you need it, then strain. You can also make a quick stock by simply combining dried mushrooms with boiling water and letting them sit until cool.

Weeknight Stovetop Mushroom Tetrazzini

  • 10 oz. whole wheat or brown rice spaghetti
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 4 tbsp. vegan or dairy butter
  • 12 oz. button or crimini mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 3 or 4 garlic cloves, or more
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, finely minced
  • Pinch of dried thyme
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine
  • ¼ cup flour
  • 1 ½ cups mushroom or vegetable stock, warmed
  • 1 ½ cups plant milk, warmed
  • 1 cup frozen peas, thawed
  • 1 cup broccoli florets, cooked
  • 2 scallions, sliced
  • ¼ cup minced fresh flat-leafed parsley

            Prep all your vegetables and assemble ingredients. Place a large pot of water on to boil. When it is rapidly boiling, stop what else you are doing in the process, salt the water, and drop the pasta. Stir now and then.

            Combine the stock and milk and gently warm.

            In a large skillet, heat over medium high and add the oil and butter. When butter melts, add the mushrooms and onion. Let these cook until they are almost done and add the garlic, thyme, and hot pepper. This is a good time to season with salt and pepper. Continue cooking until the vegetables are just brown on the edges and cooked through.

            Deglaze with the wine, scraping the bottom of the pan, and let cook until the wine is absorbed. Sprinkle with the flour, stir while the flour cooks for at least a minute or so.

            Add the milk/stock mixture and continue to stir until nicely thickened. Taste for seasoning. Add the peas, broccoli, scallions, and parsley. Give it a few good stirs and you are done.

No cream, but nothing could be creamier!

            Drain the pasta, reserving a half cup or so of the pasta water in case you need to loosen the mushroom mixture before topping the pasta.

            Plate the pasta in a shallow bowl and top with the mushroom mixture. Serve while steamy hot.

Baked Mushroom Tetrazzini

  • 1 lb. whole wheat or brown rice spaghetti
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 ½ lbs. white button or crimini mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 4 or 5 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, finely minced
  • ½ tsp. dried thyme
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 2 ½ cups plant milk or dairy milk, warmed
  • 2 ½ cup mushroom stock, warmed
  • 1/3 cup vegan butter or butter
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1 ½ cup thawed frozen peas
  • 2 cups blanched broccoli
  • 1/3 cup minced parsley, packed
  • 3 scallions, sliced thinly
  • ½ cup breadcrumbs
  • ½ cup Parmesan or vegan Parmesan cheese
  • Butter to dot the top

Prep your vegetables and make your stock as above.

Butter an 8- X 13-inch casserole dish. I used my mom’s Pyrex.

In your largest skillet, heat to medium high and add the olive oil. Add the mushrooms and onions to the pot and saute until there is a little color on them and they soften. Add the garlic, jalapeno, and thyme. Cook a few more minutes, deglaze with the wine, and set aside.

Drop the pasta in the boiling salted water and stir occasionally. You will cook this to a few minutes before the package directions. It will finish in the oven. (If you are working with raw broccoli, drop it first in the water and blanch for a minute. Remove and drain).

Preheat the oven to 450.

Make the white sauce. This will be on the thin side, but will thicken in the oven after you add the pasta and other ingredients. Combine and warm the milk and stock. In a separate saucepan, melt the butter and add the flour. Whisk for a minute or two to cook the flour. Slowly add the milk mixture, whisking and then switching to a wooden spoon. Simmer until thickened.

Add the sauce to the mushroom mixture, then fish out the pasta to the pot as well. Stir in the peas, broccoli, parsley, and scallions. You might have to do this in a large bowl if your pan is not large enough! Dump this all into the buttered casserole.

Level everything out, sprinkle the breadcrumbs evenly, followed by the Parm. Dot with additional butter.

Place the casserole on a baking sheet and pop in the oven, middle rack, for 30 minutes. Turn around to evenly brown, and cook an additional 10 minutes, or until the top is crusty and you see bubbles around the edges.

Let cool for 20 minutes. It’s hard, but necessary!

Nutrition Facts (10 servings of baked version) Calories 331, Total Fat 11 g, Saturated fat 3 g (dairy), Sodium 221 mg, Potassium 446 mg, Total Carbohydrate 49 g, Dietary Fiber 4 g, Protein 10 g, Vitamin A 6 %, Vitamin C 11 %, Calcium 7 %, Iron 9 %    

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  1. cakefiles says:

    Wow what a dream 😍😍😍 great way to celebrate mushrooms!

    1. Thank you! It is really tasty and all about the mushrooms!

  2. Chef Mimi says:

    Really really nice. I love collecting mushroom liquor from dried mushrooms – such a wonderful flavor!

    1. It’s amazing, isn’t it Mimi? I look for local hen of the woods mushrooms in the fall when there has been enough rain, and if I find a big one i dehydrate it for use all year. They taste almost exactly like dried porcini mushrooms! So much flavor from such a small amount of mushrooms.

  3. Ally Bean says:

    Dried mushrooms? Where are these? A new ingredient for me. This looks delicious, btw.

    1. Thanks Ally! It’s really good. The dried mushrooms are available widely if you are looking for them. Look for dried mushrooms from Pennsylvania, there are a lot from China and I don’t recommend those. I find them at the health food store, the local supermarket, the co-op, and at the farmers markets. I also dry my own when I find a big fat hen of the woods mushroom!

      1. Ally Bean says:

        Got it. Thanks, I’ve never looked for them so now I will.

      2. There are so many ingredients that I didn’t know existed until I saw a fellow blogger use them. And voila! There they are, waiting for me!

  4. capost2k says:

    Umm, I don’t understand. Why would anyone WANT to leave out the meat? 😂

    1. For dietary reasons, or if they don’t eat meat!

      1. capost2k says:

        Yeah, I was just teasin’. 😉

      2. I know! But there are some in my family who would ask exactly that, the taste it and smile!

      3. Sounds utterly delicious! Am so enjoying this blog.

      4. Thank you my friend! It’s good to have you.

  5. Carole says:

    Looking so good Dorothy! It looks like another great recipe for me to try.

    1. It is simple and so very delicious. The homemade stock makes the difference.

  6. writinstuff says:

    Wow I haven’t had this dish in ages, what a great way to veganize and old school favorite!

    1. Thank you! It’s fun to revisit these old classics with a modern spin!

  7. Sowmya says:

    Wonderful way to include mushroom. Nice recipe Dorothy

    1. Thank you so much! We love our mushrooms!

  8. This is a great take on the original! Mushrooms are a great substitute for meat.
    I would probably choose the baked version, with the crispy breadcrumbs topping. 🙂

    1. My favorite version! Love the crispy!

  9. Nancy says:

    The baked version would be my choice. This looks soooo good. I plan on making soon!

    1. Shobhnaa says:

      Combination of these ingredients and mushrooms with spaghetti is sounding very delicious 😋

      1. It’s such a wonderful winter meal, so satisfying!

    2. Personally, I prefer the baked version because I can’t resist that crispy top! It’s the best part of the baked macaroni and cheese too!

  10. Carolyn Page says:

    Oh my, Dorothy, this sounds wonderful. It is, as you know, summertime here in Oz. However, today is rather cool, thank goodness, it’s been way too hot. I have a punnet of mushrooms going spare… Well, they were going spare; until now… 🙂

    1. Enjoy! We all need comfort just about now, weather withstanding! Put those little mushrooms to work before it’s too late!

  11. Looks so good!

    1. Thank you! I’ll save you a plate next time!

  12. BERNADETTE says:

    Dorothy, I will bookmark this recipe to make. Although Dom hasn’t had a heart attack, he does have high blood pressure and I am trying to limit the sodium in our food. Thanks for the share.

    1. I’m sure you will love this one! Sodium lurks in so many foods. Your husband’s lucky to be married to such a good cook!

      1. BERNADETTE says:

        Compliment coming right back at you ❤️

  13. terrie gura says:

    Looks delicious and satisfying! Who needs meat when you have mushrooms? I love that you did a stove top version of this, too.

    1. Sometimes you have the time to dawdle in the kitchen, sometimes not! I love any pasta dish that you can make in the time it takes to boil the water and cook the spaghetti!

  14. I love to make tetrazzini Dorothy, and have made it in many different ways, turkey, chicken, ham, Italian and yes mushrooms which is actually one of my favorites! I do like to prep ahead and bake it later, I am out of gas by dinner time and like to have something ready to just pop in the oven! I must look for the dried mushrooms and try making mushroom stock, thanks Dorothy~

    1. It is a good dish to make ahead and bake off, but I would use the whole wheat pasta rather than the brown rice. The brown rice absorbs all the liquid if left on its own!

  15. Gail says:

    Peas and Mushrooms. Please and Thank You! 🍄🍃🙏🏻

    1. I’ve been tossing peas in everything! Must be a wish for spring.

      1. Gail says:

        Can’t go wrong, in my opinion. 👏

      2. I even like to pop them in my mouth still frozen, but don’t tell anyone!

      3. Gail says:

        Now you’re on to something. 🤔🌿

  16. nancyc says:

    I’ve made chicken tetrazzini, but I also like to eat vegetarian dishes, and I love mushrooms, so this sounds really good to me! It looks delicious!!!

    1. Thank you Nancy! It was really yummy, and husband approved!

  17. It’s the first time I hear about tetrazzini but looks so delicious 😋 The perfect comfort food loaded with veggies for a snowy day ❄️😋

    1. It is pure comfort, no matter how you make it!

  18. Kempy says:

    I’m definitely going to try this, have you dried your own mushrooms, I recently got an instant pot Xmas and there’s a food dehydrator in there somewhere I’ve not tried that yet, may do for crispy kale, thanks for the recipe

    1. Yes, I dry them every year when the hen of the woods mushrooms appear in Autumn. I use my oven on its lowest temperature to dehydrate them, but I also noticed I have a dehydrating setting on my air fryer which I’m going to try. So, I’d definitely give the instant pot a try!

  19. Kevin says:

    Thanks very interesting I’ve never tried that, got to give it a try

    1. I hope you enjoy it as much as we all do!

  20. Forestwood says:

    My family would like this one for sure. I will add it to my to-make list.

    1. I hope they enjoy this as much as my family.

      1. Forestwood says:

        I was thinking of adding some hard boiled eggs and or artichoke hearts to make it more of a meal than a side dish. It is so wonderfully versatile! And I love that it can be served hot or cold.

      2. I think the addition of the artichoke hearts in particular sounds wonderful! I’ll have to try that next time I make this.

      3. Forestwood says:

        I stole that idea from a Danish style salad I make….

      4. That’s how it all comes about!

  21. Dorothy, this has everything I love and it sounds and looks delicious! I just made a meal completely covered in mushrooms for myself. My husband hates mushrooms so this was a treat for me. He had to work so I splurged. I still have to post it.

    1. Love that you treated yourself Diane! When the cat’s away….😉

  22. I was wondering as I know most Italian dishes and had not heard of tetrazzini, it somehow sounded like sandwiches to me. But it’s American. I wonder whether you included the dotted butter in your nutrition calculation, because 2 grams is not a lot to dot with. I too love mushroom stock from dried mushrooms, it has so much flavor!

    1. I neglected to add the 2 tbsp. topping butter to the nutritional information, have corrected. If you use dairy, it will add a gram to each serving.
      I use mushroom stock a lot! I love the flavor, and it is really versatile. I dry my own local mushrooms each fall, so I have plenty to use all year. It also takes so little to add a lot to a dish.

  23. PS because you add the liquids hot to the white sauce, you can add it all at once. This is much quicker and easier than adding it slowly.

    1. That’s so true, and it also cuts down on the possibility of lumps!

  24. Americaoncoffee says:

    I haven’t made a tetrazzini like this. I have only made a turkey styled. I love mushrooms too!. This looks lavish and delicious!I❤️❤️❤️❤️

    1. I actually think the mushroom version has a lot more flavor!

      1. Americaoncoffee says:

        I know that you’re the expert here! Happy Monday. ❤️🎶🍮🍮

      2. Happy Monday to you too my friend, I hope you have a great week!

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