This incredibly rich and creamy tahini pasta recipe is SO easy to make and only requires 5 simple basic ingredients. The oil-free and dairy-free sauce is done within minutes without requiring any cooking. Perfect easy meal for busy weeknights when you crave comfort food for dinner. Also, super healthy and filled with wholesome ingredients, plus you can pair it with your favorite veggies! 100% vegan!
If you love creamy pasta recipes as much as I do, then this garlic lemon tahini pasta sauce will definitely hit the spot. It is our new obsession, we just cannot get enough of this sauce!
And I would never have thought of using tahini for pasta dishes, but now that I did, all I want is to dig in a large bowl of garlicky saucy tahini pasta.
The combination of tahini, lemon and garlic makes this sauce super rich with such a great balance in the flavors. It is nutty and zesty with just enough garlic to temper the slight bitterness coming from the sesame paste.
Plus, the natural amazing creaminess of tahini makes it a great base to make a silky sauce without having to add any extra oil. Tahini also makes it easy to prepare a vegan creamy sauce without any fuss!
And what's even better about this pasta sauce recipe is that it is done SO quickly. And super convenient too as tahini is shelf stable. No cooking and no large pile of dishes to clean. You can simply make yourself a satisfying pasta dish using pantry ingredients in under 15 minutes, just enough time to cook the noodles (check out this creamy tomato pasta for another extra fast pasta pantry recipe!).
We love to pair the basic sauce with more veggies or whatever is available in the fridge. Our kids LOVE it too, especially with green peas. We even used the sauce over BBQ pizza, so versatile!
I hope you love it too! ❤️
Why you'll LOVE this recipe
- Ridiculously easy to make with minimal hands-on prep
- Quick recipe: perfect weeknight meal for the whole family!
- Such a wholesome and nutrient-dense recipe, especially rich in healthy fats
- Uses only a handful of simple ingredients
- SO creamy and rich, even though 100% dairy-free and made without cream
- Can be enjoyed hot or cold or at room temperature
- Amazing for meal-prep and for lunches to-go
- Nut-free alternative: perfect for school lunch boxes!
- Plus, highly customizable!
Tahini simply is a sesame paste (ground sesame seeds) turned into a butter consistency. I love how sesame butter has a thin and saucy texture, often even pour-able. You can use it for either sweet or savory recipes, such as tahini caramel or spicy tahini buddha bowl sauce.
You can very easily make your own tahini using a food processor or blender, but I typically buy it at the grocery store. I love this tahini from the brand 365, but any brand will work. I would say though that a pour-able tahini paste will work better to make sauces. You can also look in a Middle Eastern grocery store if your regular grocery does not keep it or simply buy it online.
Is this tahini pasta healthy?
Sesame butter offers all of the same health benefits you will get from whole sesame seeds. However, make sure to use a tahini that only contains sesame seeds, maybe with a little salt as they often do. But avoid any added oil!
What makes sesame seeds so healthy? Well, they might be tiny, but they are a powerhouse rich in fiber, healthy fats, protein, magnesium and many other vitamins and minerals. And they are so easy to sprinkle around and include in any diet!
You can find more nutritional information about sesame seeds here: Health and Nutrition Benefits of Sesame Seeds.
- Tahini paste: makes for the base of the sauce. I used the tahini paste from the brand 365. I also love the tahini paste from the brand Once Again.
- Lemon: fresh lemon juice is so much better than store-bought for this recipe. It helps brighten up the sauce and cut through the bitterness from the tahini.
- Nutritional yeast: adds a subtle cheesy and deeper flavor to the sauce.
- Fresh garlic: I used one clove of garlic, but use as many as you want depending on how garlicky you want the sauce to be.
- Plant-based milk: use your favorite milk, although be sure it is free of added flavoring and sweetener.
How to make this creamy lemon tahini pasta
This is one of the easiest pasta sauces you will ever make!
Start by cooking the pasta in a large pot of water until al dente.
Once the pasta is done cooking, you can reserve about 1 cup of pasta water in case you want to loosen up the sauce later.
Also, if you want to pair this recipe with veggies, then prep them while the pasta is cooking. I like to pair them with frozen green peas, so I'll usually soak the frozen peas in hot water while I prep the rest.
Blend OR stir
While the pasta cooks, add the tahini paste, plant-based milk, garlic, lemon juice, garlic, nutritional yeast and salt in a blender or food processor.
Blend until super smooth and creamy. You might need to take a break or two to scrape the walls and bottom.
OR, you can also simply combine the ingredients in a bowl until smooth.
Combine the cooked pasta with the sauce and veggies of your choice. Add some reserved pasta water if needed to thin out the sauce and pair with some vegetables of your choice. Enjoy!
Tips when making this tahini pasta recipe
- Different brands of tahini can vary in consistency. Some can be more grainy and others more pour-able, with or without a separation between the oils and the solids. This article compares different brands of store-bought tahini, which can help you choose one.
In any case, you will have to make sure to stir the tahini butter in its container very well before using and depending on the brand, you might end up with a thinner or thicker paste. If you have a thicker tahini butter, then you might have to add a little more vegan milk to the blender to reach the desired texture.
- I love making this sauce using a blender. This allows me to throw the garlic clove whole into the blender and it reaches a very smooth and almost whipped texture very fast.
I have to say though that this recipe only gives you 1 cup of sauce, which is plenty for a meal, but can be harder to blend if you have a large blender container. You can also crush the garlic yourself and whisk all the ingredients in a bowl, if that's easier. Or even better, make a double batch to match your larger blender as the sauce stores very well!
- Use your favorite pasta for this recipe! I love short pasta in this case, such as orecchiette (as seen in the picture) or penne, but long noodles work too. Use gluten-free pasta if needed, such as brown rice pasta, lentil pasta or chickpea pasta, the tahini sauce is naturally gluten-free!
- Some tahini paste have a stronger bitter flavor. If you need to, you can add a hint of maple syrup to cut the natural bitterness of the tahini.
Additions and serving suggestions
This creamy vegan tahini pasta sauce can be customized and served in so many ways.
We love it with green peas and mushrooms, it pairs perfectly with the sauce. Simply thaw frozen peas by soaking them in hot water and cook sliced mushrooms in a pan while the noodles are cooking.
Other great additions would be:
- Oven-baked or sautéed veggies: while the pasta is cooking, you can sauté some vegetables to pair with the pasta, such as broccoli, red bell peppers, green beans, cauliflower, cherry tomatoes, asparagus, carrot or zucchini. Caramelized onions is also delicious combined with the creamy sauce.
- Greens: add wilted greens to this dish, like spinach, kale or collard greens. Simply wilt in a pan before adding to the pasta.
- A hint of fresh herbs: just like in this vegan couscous salad, tahini goes well with fresh herbs, so feel free to add some fresh basil or parsley.
- Zesty: if you want a stronger tangy flavor, you can adjust the amount of lemon juice you add to the sauce or even add lemon zest (in the sauce or top your bowl at serving).
- Spicy: just like I did in this falafel buddha bowl, you can turn the sauce into a spicy tahini sauce very easily. Simply add hot sauce to the blender or drizzle with sriracha at serving. Also goes great with a generous sprinkle of red pepper flakes.
- Plant-based protein: include edamame, pan-fried tempeh, roasted smoky tofu or lentils to make your meal even more filling!
Keep leftovers in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
The pasta can dry out or thicken slightly while resting, so feel free to add a splash of plant-based milk to make the pasta creamier.
Enjoy the leftovers cold or simply warm them up for a few seconds in the microwave until heated to your liking.
I don't recommend freezing this recipe.
The creamy tahini sauce is naturally gluten-free! Simply use a GF pasta brand to make your meal 100% GF.
If you love to meal-prep during the weekend, then add this tahini pasta recipe to your list! The sauce keeps well in the fridge for a few days, although I would recommend keeping the sauce and pasta apart until ready to reheat so the pasta doesn’t dry out.
Other creamy vegan pasta recipes you might like
- Cajun pasta
- Vegan bechamel
- Primavera pasta bake
- Vegan Mac and Cheese
- Vegan white sauce
- Oat milk Alfredo
- Cauliflower Alfredo
- Pasta with hummus and roasted vegetables
- Vegan avocado broccoli pasta
- Vegan green pasta sauce
- Gochujang pasta
- Vegan sun-dried tomato pasta
- Creamy vegan spinach pasta
I hope you enjoy this tahini pasta recipe as much as we do! If you try it, please leave a comment below and rate the recipe to let me know how it was. Your feedback is so helpful!
Creamy Lemon Tahini Pasta (Vegan)
- Blender, optional
- pasta of your choice
- ½ cup tahini paste
- ½ cup plant-based milk - plain and unsweetened, or more to taste
- 1 clove of garlic
- 2-3 tbsp lemon juice
- ½ tbsp nutritional yeast
- ½ tsp salt
- Start by cooking the pasta al dente. Once done, you can reserve some pasta cooking water to thin out the sauce if needed. Then, drain the pasta.
- If you want to add vegetables to this dish, then also start by steaming/cooking them while the pasta is cooking. I love to thaw frozen green peas in hot water until ready to use and also roast sliced mushrooms in a pan until browned.
- Make the sauce: in a blender, add the tahini, plant-based milk, lemon juice, garlic, nutritional yeast and salt. Blend until smooth. Add more milk for a thinner consistency and adjust the seasoning to your liking. Alternatively, you can also whisk the ingredients together in a bowl (crush the garlic first).
- To serve, combine the cooked noodles with the tahini sauce and prepared vegetables, if desired. Enjoy!
- Using a blender creates a very smooth and almost whipped texture that's so pleasant. But, if you have a larger blender that cannot handle smaller volume like this sauce, then you can also simply combine the ingredients in a bowl (you will have to crush the garlic in this case) and whisk very well until super smooth. Or what I do often is double the recipe and keep the leftover sauce in the fridge for another meal later in the week (like drizzling over grain bowls).
- Simple roasted mushrooms with green peas pair so well with this sauce. You can also add steamed broccoli, carrot, red pepper, cauliflower or caramelized onions to this meal.
- Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days (it stores better when the sauce is apart from the noodles). To reheat, you might have to add a splash of milk to loosen up the sauce, then reheat in the microwave.