Easy, rich, and creamy vegan tahini pasta that’s nut-free, dairy-free, and can be gluten-free. The garlicky lemon tahini pasta sauce comes together quickly so it’s an excellent meatless dinner to serve on busy weeknights (you can have the whole dish ready in under 30 minutes!).
Customize this simple but delicious recipe by using the type of noodles you prefer or by mixing in some add-ins, find lots of ideas below!
Save This Recipe!
In a rush? Don't have time to scroll through this page right now? Enter your email below and this recipe/article will be sent straight to your inbox so you can come back to it when you're ready. Plus, you'll receive delicious recipes every week! You may unsubscribe at any time.
I'm a huge fan of recipes that require just a handful of ingredients and can be prepared and on the table FAST! I know you are too, which is why I'm sharing this delicious tahini pasta with you.
It's pasta coated in a silky, rich, creamy tahini pasta sauce that's nutty tasting with tons of garlic flavour and a hint of lemon. You can stir some add-ins into your creamy tahini pasta or garnish it with fresh parsley (more suggestions below!).
Before you head down to go through all of the details, here are some other quick, easy vegan pasta recipes to add to your rotation:
Ingredients You'll Need
You'll need a few simple ingredients; I've listed them below along with information about substitutions.
Ingredient and Substitution Notes
Pasta - I like using long, flat pasta for this recipe like tagliatelle, linguine, or fettuccine, but any pasta will work. If you don't have this type of pasta, you can use spaghetti, short, or shaped pasta (like penne, farfalle, rotini, etc.). Regular (white and whole wheat) or gluten-free pasta (rice pasta, lentil pasta, quinoa pasta, or even chickpea pasta) will all work. Zucchini noodles can also be used if that's what you prefer.
NOTE: Most dry pasta is vegan but fresh pasta is usually not, so make sure the type you buy is vegan.
Silken Tofu - This is what gives the tahini pasta sauce a creamy consistency without dairy, butter, or cheese. I have not used any other type of tofu to make this recipe and I don't recommend doing so because silken tofu is smooth and will always give the best consistency to your sauce. If you don't want to use tofu, use unflavoured, unsweetened vegan heavy cream instead (the sauce will not be as thick, though).
I have not tried making this pasta dish with unsweetened canned coconut milk instead of tofu. It would make a good substitute consistency-wise, but I'm not sure how much the coconut flavour would come through in the finished dish and how it would affect the flavour.
Tahini - Tahini is made from ground sesame seeds. Make sure the only ingredient in the tahini you buy is sesame seeds, don't use one with any added ingredients, and make sure the type you buy is good quality (I like the Soom brand). Although tahini has a natural, slight bitterness to it, lower-quality tahini tends to have a very strong bitter flavour.
Look for tahini (also referred to as "tahina") in the natural or international sections of your grocery stores. If you can't find it in those spots, look in the section with nut butter where you would find peanut butter. It can also be bought online.
Dairy-Free Milk - Any plant milk will work (almond milk, oat milk, soy milk, etc.), just make sure it's unsweetened and unflavoured.
Fresh Garlic - If you love garlic, feel free to add a little more, but not too much because as-is, it's already a very garlicky tahini sauce!
Lemon Juice - This is used to add some brightness and flavour to the sauce.
Onion Powder, Garlic Powder, Salt, and Black Pepper - All of these are needed to season and add flavour to the sauce. Feel free to adjust the amounts in the recipe to suit your taste.
For more quick and easy weeknight meal ideas, browse through these vegan dinner recipes.
Optional Add-Ins, Side Dishes, and Garnishes
If you'd like, you can throw some add-ins into the dish, however, be careful not to add too much or the sauce will not be enough to coat everything.
- baby spinach (stir in a handful or two into the pasta after it has been drained so it can wilt from the heat)
- sautéed mushrooms
- frozen or fresh green peas (stir them in with the boiling pasta during the last few minutes of the pasta's cooking time)
- pre-made crispy tofu
- pre-cooked vegan chicken
On the side, you can serve any of the following:
- roasted Brussels sprouts
- roasted or steamed vegetables like broccolini, broccoli, garlic cauliflower, green beans, or asparagus
- sauteed kale
- vegan garlic bread
I also like to stir in and garnish with chopped fresh parsley but if you want a spicy tahini pasta, you can top it with red pepper flakes. Other great options are lemon zest, chopped chives, and/or freshly ground black pepper.
Finally, I like to serve with lemon wedges so everyone has the option to use them if they want to.
If you're looking for a dessert to serve after dinner, how about one of these delicious vegan dessert recipes?
How to Make It
(Note: I’ve outlined the step-by-step on how to make this recipe here, but find the full recipe, ingredients, and directions in the recipe card at the end of this post.)
Start by preparing the pasta to al dente using the directions on the package. Drain the pasta water and set aside.
While the pasta cooks, add all of the sauce ingredients to a blender and blend until the sauce is completely smooth.
A blender is essential to getting the smoothest, creamiest sauce and it's also important to use one so the garlic gets broken down properly and there are no remaining pieces or chunks. I use my Nutri-Bullet but a high-speed blender like a Vitamix can also be used.
Next, pour the creamy tahini sauce into a large skillet to heat for a minute or two.
The sauce just needs to be heated slightly, make sure that it doesn't boil. Taste the sauce and adjust the salt as needed.
Next, add the drained pasta to the skillet.
Gently toss the pasta to combine it with the sauce, using tongs, until all of the pasta is coated.
Mix in and/or garnish with chopped parsley or another garnish of your choice (see above for suggestions). Serve immediately.
How to Store Leftovers
This recipe is best when served immediately after preparing but if you have leftover tahini pasta, cool it completely, place it in an airtight container, and refrigerate for 3-4 days.
Reheat in a skillet over medium heat and add a splash of water or vegetable broth to loosen and rehydrate the sauce.
The sauce cannot be premade to freeze and the finished dish cannot be frozen either. Silken tofu does not freeze well, so the texture of your sauce will no longer be smooth and creamy if this is done.
TIP: Since tahini has a high natural oil content, store it in the refrigerator to extend its shelf life. Make sure it has been stirred very well before refrigerating for the first time since it stiffens up when cold and will be difficult to stir properly.
Tips for Success
- Measure and have all your ingredients ready to go before starting. This will make the process run smoothly, quickly, and easily.
- Measure your ingredients correctly. I highly recommend using a scale (this is the one I have (Amazon Link) and my weight measurements when making this recipe.
- Use the correct amount of pasta for the recipe. Too much pasta will result in a dry dish with barely any sauce to coat all the noodles. If you want to use more pasta than what’s called for, double the sauce recipe. Using a little less pasta than what is called for will result in extra saucy noodles, which can be done if that's what you prefer.
- For the best results, use smooth, runny tahini for this recipe. Like peanut butter and almond butter, as you get to the bottom of the tahini jar, it tends to be stiffer. Make sure when you first open your tahini paste that you stir it very well.
- Use a high-quality tahini brand that has a flavour you like. From experience, I know the quality of tahini varies greatly between brands. I like the Soom Foods brand, you can find a link to it in the recipe card below.
- Season the sauce to taste. Before adding the pasta to the sauce, taste it to make sure the salt level is right for you.
- Read through the recipe before getting started and read through this post from top to bottom for lots of tips to make this dish perfect, every single time.
- Follow the recipe as it’s written for the intended and very best results.
Vegan heavy cream would work, just make sure that it's unflavored and unsweetened, but your sauce will not be as thick. I don't recommend using regular plant-based milk like almond milk or oat milk etc., instead of tofu because they are too thin and will not make a thick and creamy sauce without having to add other ingredients to help thicken it.
If you make this recipe exactly as it's written, your sauce will have no tofu flavour, at all. No one will know this tahini sauce contains tofu. Made correctly, the flavour of the sauce will be nutty (from the tahini) and garlicky with a hint of lemon.
Yes! Pure tahini is 100% vegan, the only ingredient is tahini seeds which are naturally vegan. Some brands may add other ingredients to their tahini and they may offer flavoured tahini, so make sure to check the label to be sure the only ingredient is sesame seeds.
It has a nutty flavour and a very slight bitterness which is why it works well with lemon; the acidity balances the bitterness. It doesn't have natural sweetness like peanut butter and almond butter. Sesame seeds have natural oil so when you first buy it, the oil will have separated in the jar, just like it does with natural peanut and almond butter. It will need to be stirred very well and once it has been stirred, the consistency will be smooth and creamy but runny, again, like natural peanut and almond butter.
If You Make This Recipe...
Please let me know how you liked your pasta with tahini sauce! You can do so by leaving a comment and star rating below or you can post a picture on Instagram and tag me so I can see it. (I’m @delightfuladventures on Instagram!)
Creamy Tahini Pasta
- 340 g (12oz) uncooked long pasta (gluten-free if needed, see note below)
- 300 g silken tofu (roughly 1 ¼ cup when blended)
- ⅔ cup unsweetened dairy-free milk
- 6 tablespoons (90g) tahini
- 3 cloves (11g) garlic (peeled and chopped)
- 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ - 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- fresh parsley for garnish (optional)
- Boil pasta until it's al dente using the directions on the package. Drain and set aside.
- Add silken tofu, dairy-free milk, tahini, garlic, lemon juice, onion powder, garlic powder, ½ teaspoon of salt, and black pepper to a blender. Blend until the garlic has fully broken down and the mixture is completely smooth.
- Place a large skillet over medium heat and pour the sauce into the skillet. Allow the sauce to warm up for a minute. Don't let it boil.
- Turn the heat off, remove the skillet from the heat, and carefully taste the sauce. Adjust the salt, if needed.
- Add cooked pasta to the skillet and gently toss until all of the pasta is coated with the sauce.
- Mix in and/or garnish with chopped fresh parsley, if desired. Serve immediately.
- Please read through all the info and tips above before making this recipe.
- This recipe makes 2 meal-sized servings or 4 smaller lunch-sized servings.
- I recommend using long, flat pasta when making this recipe, Like tagliatelle, linguine, or fettuccine. If you don't have any of these on hand, use the type you have. This recipe works with either gluten-free or regular pasta. Most dry pasta is vegan and fresh pasta is usually not, so make sure the type you are using is vegan.
- A range for the salt is given in the recipe, start by adding a half teaspoon and add more as needed to suit your taste.
- If you don't want to use or don't have silken tofu, you can use vegan heavy cream instead.
- This recipe is best when served immediately after preparing but if you have leftovers, cool completely, place in an airtight container and refrigerate for 3-4 days. The sauce will thicken and stick to the pasta when it's refrigerated, so to reheat, add the pasta to a skillet on low heat, add a small amount of vegetable broth or water to the skillet, and stir until the pasta has fully reheated and everything has loosened up and becomes creamy again. You can also reheat it in the microwave.
- Nutrition info is based on 1 of 4 servings of the recipe prepared as written, using tagliatelle, 1 teaspoon of salt, and no garnishes or add-ins. Nutrition info is only to be used as a rough guide. Click to learn how nutrition info is calculated on this website.