This quick and easy vegan tahini pasta sauce comes together in under 30 minutes, creating a satisfying, healthy, and comforting dairy-free sauce that’s perfect for pasta and more. A great meal for those busy weeknights, but delicious enough to make it worthy of company!
About this Tahini Pasta Sauce
If you need a super fast dinner idea, look no further than this tahini pasta sauce!
With only 10 minutes of preparation and 10 minutes to cook, this meal comes together quickly for a fantastic 20 minute vegetarian dinner idea.
So, for this version, I wanted to create a creamy white sauce pasta that I could fit into my weeknight dinner repertoire.
This vegan creamy pasta combines tahini with flavorful ingredients such as garlic, lemon, and nutritional yeast to create a super creamy and nutritious pasta sauce, free from dairy but still totally comforting and delicious!
What I also love about this recipe is that it’s incredibly versatile.
It tastes wonderful on its own, but you can also add your choice of vegetables or cooked protein.
And it makes great leftovers and even tastes good cold with just a splash of warm water to smooth out the sauce.
P.S. If you are looking for more quick weeknight meals, you’ll love my 30 minute dinner recipe ideas, too.
Visual Guide: How to Make Tahini Pasta
Process & Tips
Like this similar creamy dairy free pasta recipe, this tahini pasta has minimal prep steps to help you get dinner done fast.
Simply cook the pasta, combine the sauce ingredients in a bowl, and add the sauce to the cooked pasta.
No additional pots or pans or time spent cooking down the sauce required!
The only chopping required is the garlic, but if you want to make it even easier, you can use granulated garlic.
For best results, make sure to stir the tahini until very smooth before measuring, as the oil has a tendency to separate.
Also, be sure to salt the pasta water generously, as it will flavor both the pasta and the sauce.
Finally, you’ll want to use a tahini you like the taste of plain, because if your tahini tastes bitter straight from the container, this sauce will also be bitter.
Variations on Tahini Pasta
Tahini Tomato Pasta: Top with 1 cup chopped cherry or roma tomatoes.
Tahini Shrimp Pasta: Top with 1 pound sauteed shrimp.
Make it Gluten Free + Dairy Free
This recipe is naturally vegan and dairy free. For gluten free, use your favorite gluten free pasta.
Key Ingredients & Substitutions
Tahini: Tahini is a paste made from sesame seeds. It has an earthy, nutty flavor and is not sweet, which makes it perfect for a savory dish. Use a tahini you like the taste of plain, as a bitter tahini will result in a bitter sauce.
Lemon juice: Since there are so few ingredients in this recipe, fresh lemon juice is definitely preferred over jarred or bottled. Two to three lemons should produce the ¼ cup juice needed.
Garlic: I used just one garlic clove for this recipe, but if you love the flavor of raw garlic, feel free to add more. Fresh is preferred, but 2 teaspoons granulated garlic powder could be substituted.
Pasta: I used corkscrew (cavatappi) pasta for this recipe because I like how well that pasta shape captures the creamy tahini sauce. Any pasta will work, however, and I tested it with spaghetti, penne, and bowtie all with excellent results.
Nutritional yeast: Adds a cheesy flavor without containing any dairy. Find it on the bulk aisle of your natural foods store, or in the baking section. It adds an essential “cheesy” flavor to the recipe without added dairy. If dairy is part of your diet, you can substitute ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese in place of nutritional yeast, though you may want to reduce the salt in this case.
Another vegan, dairy-free substitute for nutritional yeast is 2 tablespoons of white miso paste. It adds a depth of flavor and umami. If using white miso or parmesan cheese, you may want to reduce the salt in the recipe.
Kosher salt: Look for kosher salt with the regular iodized salt at the grocery store. It has a subtler flavor. Use less iodized salt if that’s what you have on hand.
Black pepper: Adds a bit of heat. Red pepper can be used instead if you want a spicier pasta.
How to Store & Freeze
Tahini Pasta keeps well in the fridge for up to [3-4 days], in a sealed container. Note that the sauce separates when cooled. To reheat, add a splash of water and stir until smooth again.
This Recipe is…
- 1 pound pasta, I used corkscrew (cavatappi pasta), but any type of pasta will work. Use gluten free pasta for gluten free diet
- ¾ cup tahini
- ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
- 1 garlic clove finely minced
- 1 ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
Optional Topping Suggestions
- Red pepper flakes
- Fresh parsely, chopped
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a strong boil.
- Add the pasta, stirring to avoid the pasta sticking together. Boil on high for two minutes short of the package directions, or just under al dente.
- Before draining, carefully remove two cups of pasta water. Set aside.
- Drain the pasta, then add back to the pot it was cooked in over low heat.
Prepare the Tahini Pasta Sauce
- While the pasta is cooking, whisk together the tahini, lemon juice, garlic, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl. The tahini will seize up with the addition of the lemon juice and appear grainy, but continue to whisk until all the ingredients are well incorporated.
- Add ¼ cup of the pasta water to the sauce and whisk again until smooth.
- Add the tahini pasta sauce to the cooked pasta in the pot, stirring to combine. Add ½ cup pasta water along with the nutritional yeast, stirring until well incorporated. If necessary, add additional pasta water until the sauce evenly coats all the pasta. Discard any remaining pasta water.
- Taste and add additional salt if desired. Sprinkle with parsley and chili flakes, if using, and serve immediately.