Classic Mushroom Marinara Rotini (made with Banza pasta)

“If you could have only one pasta sauce in your life, what would it be?”

Marinara sauce.

Pesto sauce.

Sun-dried tomato sauce.

Peanut sauce.

Teriyaki sauce.

Sweet chili sauce.


How could I possibly answer such a difficult question?!

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I volunteer as tribute to say that I would much rather immerse myself in all types of sauces than in all types of pasta dishes. Like I said in my Banza review post, I’m not particularly one to hype about pasta. But given that I’ve been using their boxes for pretty much my entire fall quarter to meal prep my dinners so far, I feel as if I’ve slowly but surely been converting myself to enjoying it more. Still not entirely a fan just yet.

But condiments. They pretty much elevate everything that you use them with. I will be that one person who will spend five minutes at the condiment table deciding which salad dressings and sauces I want to have with my food. People at the grocery store probably hate me because I usually take half an hour to decide what kind of Asian sauce I want to buy–there are just so many varieties! I also sample literally every single type of hummus at the farmer’s market…..twice!

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Here’s what’s up with pasta and I: pasta by itself is bland. Pasta with a sauce is better, depending whether or not I actually like the sauce. Marinara sauce or any classic tomato sauce never fails to win me over. Heck, I could just eat the sauce like soup! Traditionally when my mother would make a pasta dish for the family in the past, I’d skimp on the pasta and just have her absolutely exquisite homemade tomato sauce over cooked vegetables and the protein of choice, more often than not some steamed chicken breast, salmon, cod or even tofu (this was all prior to me being vegan).

Since I personally am not a huge pasta lover, I obviously cannot consider myself a pasta expert. So we’re taking it back to the basics this time: you really need only three ingredients and a creative mind! I do find it very important to load this recipe with as many vegetables as possible to add extra antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, fiber, volume, texture and flavor to each serving. It is even more beneficial if you use a whole grain pasta, a Paleo pasta or a bean-based pasta such as Banza that I have used in this recipe!

Want a more ethnic recipe? Check out my vegan “butter chicken” curry pasta that I cooked in my Banza review!

RECIPE (serves 3-4)

  • 1 box of Banza rotini pasta; you can also use any other kind of pasta
  • 1 jar of fresh marinara sauce; I used a Trader Joe’s brand but you can also use a homemade recipe
  • White crimini mushrooms; I used a box’s worth (about 6-7 cups of sliced mushrooms)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Turmeric to taste (opt.); I added this for extra health benefits
  • Crushed red pepper to garnish
  • Optional: spinach, kale, broccoli, cauliflower, bell peppers, eggplant, carrots, etc.


  1. Heat a medium pot on high and add around 4-5 cups of water with a pinch of salt.
  2. Turn the heat on low after the water has been brought to a boil and add the pasta.
  3. Stir the pasta around and let simmer until the pasta noodles have thoroughly cooked.
  4. Drain the water from the pasta and allow the pasta to cool.
  5. In a large mixing bowl, add the pasta with the marinara sauce.
  6. Serve with desired vegetables and crushed red pepper flakes!

How obsessed are you with condiments? What is your favorite pasta dish?

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