This vegan tahini pasta features an irresistible garlic lemon tahini sauce with a spicy, salty kick, thanks to red pepper flakes and capers. Roasted cauliflower is mixed in just before serving for additional flavor and nutrition. It’s simply irresistible and very easy to make!
The creamy texture of tahini lends itself very well to sauces. You’ve probably seen it in salad dressings and dips, but have you ever thought of making a tahini pasta sauce? Whether you have or haven’t had this thought, you MUST try this recipe.
The slightly bitter flavor of tahini pairs well with lemon juice, garlic, parsley, and red pepper flakes, resulting in a spicy, zesty, well-balanced, and very fresh-tasting sauce. Capers are mixed in just before serving for a burst of briny flavor, while roasted cauliflower contributes earthy undertones. I’m telling you…this pasta is seriously delicious.
Flavor-wise, it feels like a cross between my Vegan Cauliflower Steaks with Lemon Parsley Tahini and Basil Tahini Sweet Potatoes. However, the addition of pasta makes this recipe just a little bit better than those! Pasta usually has that effect, after all.
Ingredients and Substitutions
- Pasta: I used penne, but you can use whatever kind you want. I bet rigatoni, linguine, fusilli, and bowtie would all work well. If you want the recipe to be gluten free or higher in protein, consider using a legume-based pasta such as chickpea or red lentil.
- Tahini: My favorite brands of tahini are Soom tahini and Mighty Sesame Co. squeezable tahini. The squeezable kind is so great for recipes because it’s easy to measure and mess-free. Any brand of tahini will work for this recipe, though.
- Garlic: Use fresh garlic for best results, but you can substitute about a teaspoon of garlic powder.
- Lemon: This is kind of a key ingredient, so I don’t recommend substituting. However, you could use white wine or apple cider vinegar if needed.
- Fresh parsley: You can use basil instead or use half basil, half parsley if desired.
- Salt, pepper, red pepper flakes: To boost the flavor and add a spicy kick to tahini pasta!
- Cauliflower: Feel free to add other roasted vegetables, such as broccoli, tomatoes, or peas, but remember that they will affect the taste. Cauliflower tastes really great with the other ingredients here.
- Capers: Their briny taste is a phenomenal addition to this recipe.
Check out the complete recipe card for tahini pasta with ingredients and steps at the end of the post. In the meantime, here’s what’s in store when you make this recipe.
Cut the cauliflower and prepare it to be roasted.
Boil pasta according to package directions. REMEMBER to save a cup of pasta water to mix into the sauce before draining the pasta!
Whisk together the ingredients for the tahini pasta sauce. Alternatively, you can blend the ingredients in a blender or food processor.
Combine all of the ingredients: pasta, roasted cauliflower, capers, and sauce in the pot you used to cook the pasta. Mix until coated.
Although tahini pasta can stand alone, it would taste delicious with a simple side dish such as steamed green beans or a mixed greens salad. If you wanted to increase the protein content of the dish, consider adding a can of beans before serving or some diced chicken.
Storage and Reheating
This recipe is best when enjoyed right away. The tahini will start to stiffen the longer it sits out, so you may need to add more pasta water to thin the sauce if you are not serving it immediately.
If you do have leftovers, you can keep them in refrigerator for up to a few days. Eat them cold or reheat in the microwave until warmed though. However, leftover tahini pasta doesn’t taste as good as fresh.
More Pasta Recipes
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Tahini Pasta with Cauliflower and Capers
- 1 small head cauliflower - about 3 cups florets
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- Salt - to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper - to taste
- 8 ounces penne pasta - or pasta of choice
- 1 cup reserved pasta water
- ½ cup tahini
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice - from about ½ lemon
- 2 cloves garlic - minced
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley - plus more for serving if desired
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 tablespoon capers
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
- Cut the cauliflower into small, bite-size florets. Toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and spread out in a single layer on the baking sheet. Roast for 20 to 25 minutes until the cauliflower is browned to your liking.
- While the cauliflower roasts, bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta according to package directions. Before draining, reserve a cup of pasta water for making the sauce.
- To make the sauce, whisk together the tahini, lemon juice, garlic, parsley, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. It will be very stiff. Add pasta water in small amounts, whisking as you go, until thinned to your desired consistency.
- Return the drained pasta to the pot. Add the roasted cauliflower and capers, then pour in the sauce. Mix until the pasta is coated. Enjoy!
- Leave a rating or review by tapping the stars on this recipe card (above) or in the comments section (at the end of the post)!
- This dish is best served right away, but you can keep leftovers in the fridge for a couple of days. Reheat in the microwave. Just keep in mind that the tahini sauce will be stiffer and not as creamy.
Enjoy your pasta! – Lizzie