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Bowl of Tahini Pasta with Tofu

Saucy Tahini Pasta with Crispy Tofu

  • Author: Liz Madsen
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 12 cups 1x
  • Diet: Vegan


Creamy, flavorful, and delicious, this Saucy Tahini Pasta with Crispy Tofu is a bowl full of delicious that’s ready in 20 minutes or less!


Units Scale

For the tahini pasta

  • 16 ounces (454 grams) pasta (I used bucatini) (use gluten-free if needed)
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons good quality tahini (see note 1)
  • 1/4 cup reduced sodium soy sauce or gluten-free tamari
  • 3 tablespoons toasted sesame oil, optional (see note 2 for oil-free)
  • 3 tablespoons agave or sweetener of choice (use less if using granulated sugar)
  • 3-4 tablespoons fresh squeezed lime juice (about 2 small limes for me) (see note 3)
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar (or substitute more lime)
  • 1 tablespoon red Thai chili paste OR sambal oelek OR sriracha, to taste and optional
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground ginger (or 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh grated ginger), to taste
  • 1 teaspoon granulated garlic (or 2-3 cloves fresh minced or grated garlic), to taste

For everything else

  • 1/4 - 1/3 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • 1/4 - 1/3 cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped (optional)
  • 2 cups chopped kale/bok choy/spinach/other dark leafy greens (I used lacinato kale)
  • 1 - 1 1/2 cups thinly sliced cucumbers
  • 1 batch crispy tofu (or protein of choice)
  • Roasted sesame seeds (sesame seeds) and/or black sesame seeds for garnish


  1. Start tofu if using: If you’re making crispy tofu, puffed tofu, or something like that to go with this, start that first.
  2. Cook the pasta: Then start a pot of water boiling. When it’s to a boil, cook pasta according to package directions and strain water. If you want a cool tahini pasta (that’s how I served mine but it’s good either cool or warm), rinse the pasta in cold running water and return to the pot.
  3. Prep the greens and veggies: While the pasta is cooking (and your tofu if making that too), chop up your greens. If using kale or another dark leafy green (like chard), you may opt to place it in a bowl and give it a massage with either a neutral oil or lemon/lime juice and a pinch of salt. This makes it much easier to eat and pairs nicely with the tahini pasta. Finish chopping the herbs, cucumbers, and green onions now too.
  4. Make the sauce: Combine the tahini, reduced sodium soy sauce (or gluten-free tamari), toasted sesame oil if using (sub a little water or extra soy sauce if not), agave or sweetener of choice, lime juice, rice vinegar, chili paste or sambal oelek or sriracha (if using), ground ginger (or grated fresh ginger), and granulated garlic (or fresh minced garlic) in a bowl or measuring cup. I like to do it in a measuring cup for two reasons: 1.) I can pour the tahini in first and not have to scrape it out of another measuring cup and 2.) I learned it from my momma (who learned it from her momma) and I just can’t stop lol.
  5. Mix the sauce: Whisk the sauce until super smooth and thick but it will drip slowly off the whisk. Adjust flavors if desired. Add water to thin only if needed (it will thicken as it sits so keep that in mind).
  6. Add to pasta: Add the sauce to the drained pasta and stir in (I like to use large tongs for this). You can choose to mix everything together or serve the components separately. I mixed in the basil so we’d get a little in every bite. I would have done the same with the cilantro but my husband doesn’t like it so I added mine as a garnish (much heavier handed AFTER the photo, hah).
  7. Serve: Then serve up in bowls and add the remaining toppings: sliced cucumbers, massaged kale or other greens, sliced green onions, sesame seeds ( used a combo of toasted sesame seeds and black sesame seeds, and your crispy tofu or other protein. Enjoy!
  8. Store: Refrigerate leftovers for up to 3 days. If refrigerating longer than a day, I’d keep the greens and veggies separate from the dressed pasta as they can get a little soggy. Fresh cucumbers and herbs are best whenever possible.


  • Note 1: Use a tahini that you like the taste of on its own. It should not be bitter. I get my tahini from a local market that has a large mediterranean section--I encourage you to see what’s in your area. If shopping online, Soom Foods Tahini is the best I’ve tried. But many are good, so read reviews. Substitutes include peanut butter, sunbutter, almond butter, or cashew butter. Some of these may be quite thick, in which case use a little less and thin with water until you have the right amount (½ cup + 2 tablespoons).
  • Note 2: The toasted sesame oil is optional but it adds good flavor. If you are oil-free, skip it. You can thin the sauce with water or a tad extra soy sauce if needed.
  • Note 3: Fresh squeezed is best. My brother recently visited me and taught me how to pick out limes: find limes that have smooth skin and are relatively heavy for their size. That means they’re juicy. A tip on squeezing them is to roll them on the cutting board underneath the palm of your hand for a few seconds before cutting them. Then use a citrus press to get all the juices out.
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Category: Entree
  • Method: Stove top
  • Cuisine: American, Italian

Keywords: Vegan, Tahini Pasta, Pasta Recipes