Pasta with preserved lemon and mushroom sauce

This week is flying by like crazy! I swear it was Monday about two minutes ago. It’s been a busy busy week, which is great news, but it also means that – in spite of my bragging in my last post about getting things done ahead of schedule – I’m sitting here on this rainy Thursday morning trying to come up with witty and fun things to say about this pasta!

I’ll just stick to the facts. It’s delicious. It’s fairly easy. And it’s just enough of a twist on a classic to be new and exciting, but also comforting and familiar.

preserved lemon and mushroom sauce, vegetarian recipe

I absolutely love mushrooms – they’re so hearty and meaty and satisfying and rich – but I must admit that I rarely stray from my usual roster of mushroom-centred dishes. Thyme, rosemary, garlic, truffle oil, parmesan… (If that’s your jam, check out this pizza or these burgers!) If you, like me, are a creature of habit, this is definitely one to try. The preserved lemon acts as a sort of olive-y, lemon-zesty hybrid that works surprisingly well with the mushrooms.

preserved lemon and mushroom sauce, vegetarian recipe

If you’ve ever tried a preserved lemon on its own and found it foul, don’t let that deter you from putting it into your food. I know that sounds weird and counterintuitive, but trust me on this one. This preserved lemon and mushroom sauce, inspired by this gem (of course – who’s surprised?!), is so delicious that it may just trick you into taking another nibble of one of those sour, salty, squishy, weird little pickles…

Don’t do it. It’s still foul. But it works wonders with mushrooms!

(If you’ve never used preserved lemon before and you’re not sure where to find it, your best bet would be in a Middle Eastern market/grocery store. Here in Utrecht we’re spoiled with this great Turkish shop right in the heart of the city that sells any possible ingredient you might need that you can’t find in a regular grocery store. If humble Utrecht has such a store, I’m convinced your city has one too!)

preserved lemon and mushroom sauce, vegetarian recipe

And so, on that short little note, I’m leave you with this recipe. I’ve got an impressive to-do list to get through today – most things enjoyable, one of them fairly hideous – and it’s just dawned on me that I can’t remember the last time I vacuumed around here. Or, you know – spent any proper time outside. (To be fair, I did have a meeting in the beautiful city of Leiden yesterday, so I did inhale some fresh air! You can see the city on my snapchat, username feastwithsophie.)

Ah, yes. Adulthood indeed.

Right, so I’m going to get cracking on that list. Happy Thursday everyone!

Pasta with preserved lemon and mushroom sauce

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 2 portions

Pasta with preserved lemon and mushroom sauce

This pasta preserved lemon and mushroom sauce is an unexpected twist on a more traditional mushroom pasta, with hearty mushrooms and a kick of briny citrus.


1 small onion, finely diced
500 g (1/2 lb) assorted mushrooms, thinly sliced
2-3 tbsp olive oil, for frying
peel of 1 and 1/2 preserved lemons, thinly diced
5 tbsp cream
250 ml mushroom stock
1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves, roughly chopped
2 portions dried pasta of choice


1. Before you start on the sauce, get a big pan of salted water boiling for your pasta.
2. Over a medium heat, sauté the onion with a pinch of salt in about 1/2 tbsp olive oil until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. When ready, pop into a bowl and set aside.
3. In the same pan, increase the heat to medium-high/just shy of high. Heat roughly 1 tbsp more olive oil and throw in half your mushrooms with another pinch of salt. (I suggest frying the mushrooms in batches so that they brown rather than stew - if you have a pan large enough that it can accommodate all of them in one go, then by all means!) Allow the mushrooms to release their moisture and to brown nicely - about 8-10 minutes per batch.
4. If you have a second batch, pop the first one into the bowl with the onion and then repeat the above process.
5. When all of the mushrooms are browned, it's time to add your pasta to the boiling water (bearing in mind the specific cooking time you need for the sort that you're using).
6. Return everything to the onion & mushroom pan and lower the heat to medium. Add in the cream, the mushroom stock, half the thyme, and the preserved lemon. Let everything come to a boil then reduce to a simmer and allow to reduce by about half - about 5-6 minutes.
7. Once the pasta is cooked, drain well, then add to the reduced sauce. Stir to coat, sprinkle in the rest of the thyme, and season with salt to taste.
8. Serve up and enjoy!


  1. says

    NOM X10000! This sounds so good!! I may have to convince Tiffany that this is what we absolutely *need* to make for Dinner!

  2. says

    This looks so good and as it happens I have preserved lemons in my kitchen! Just bought them out of curiosity but I had no idea what to do with them 😀

  3. says

    Why/how did I miss this recipe?? Pasta, mushrooms, AND preserved lemons??? Oh yeah, that’s got my name all over it! I adore preserved lemons and make my own. They are so good that I like to eat them right out of the jar :)

    • sophie says

      Oh my goodness!!! I’m so impressed!! Did you always love them or are they an acquired taste? I want to love them on their own but my stomach says no!

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