Creamy Tomato Tofu Pasta Sauce


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Easy tofu tomato sauce uses silken tofu to transform marinara into a rich and creamy tomato sauce loaded with plant-based protein, low in fat, and nut-free – perfect for pasta!

completed Creamy Tomato Tofu Pasta Sauce on a white surface

Creamy Vegan Tofu Tomato Sauce Pasta

If you’ve never blended silken tofu into a sauce, this is your sign to try it! As delicious as a block of tofu is crumbled to create a vegan Bolognese, did you know silken tofu is perfect for creating a rich, creamy vegan pasta sauce with the added benefits of remaining low fat, being 100% nut-free and containing heaps of plant-based protein?

This creamy tofu tomato sauce takes under 20 minutes to throw together and can be made ahead (and frozen!). It’s also easy to customize and a great way to clear your crisper drawers. Best of all – your non-vegan family and friends won’t even be able to tell it’s made with tofu!

Looking for more simple, satisfying, low-budget vegan pasta sauce ideas? Check out this 20-minute creamy tahini pasta, pasta primavera, and 15-minute cherry tomato basil pasta.

The Ingredients

ingredients for Creamy Tomato Tofu Pasta Sauce on a white surface
  • Olive oil: This is great for pairing with any tomato product. However, other neutral oils (like avocado oil) will work, too.
  • Tofu: Use firm silken tofu (not regular firm tofu) for the creamiest results. Regular tofu may work, too, but it won’t be as smooth or creamy.
  • Onion: Use a white or yellow onion. Onion powder works in a pinch.
  • Garlic: Fresh garlic cloves are best, but powdered garlic works in a pinch.
  • Marinara: Use your favorite store-bought or homemade marinara sauce.
  • Herbs: A combination of fresh basil and fresh or dried oregano helps to elevate the flavors of the vegan tomato pasta sauce further.
  • Red pepper flakes: (optional) to add some spice to the vegan creamy tomato sauce. Chili or cayenne pepper would work, too.

If you plan to make creamy vegan tomato pasta, you’ll also need 1lb of pasta (regular, whole wheat, gluten-free – E.g., fusilli, penne, spaghetti, etc.)

What Could I Add to Creamy Tomato Sauce?

  • Smoked paprika: To add subtle smokiness to the tofu tomato pasta sauce.
  • Tomato paste: For a slightly deeper, more concentrated tomato flavor.
  • An acid: E.g., balsamic vinegar or lemon juice (optionally with lemon zest) – a splash before serving can help brighten the flavor of the creamy vegan tomato sauce.
  • Nutritional yeast: For a slightly ‘cheesy’ flavor in the dairy-free tomato cream sauce. And/or vegan parmesan – to garnish.
  • Vegetables: Bulk up the tofu and pasta recipe with spinach, peas, cauliflower/ broccoli florets, diced carrot or bell pepper, sliced mushroom, leek, zucchini, etc.
  • Black olives: Whole or sliced for briny flavor.
  • Soy sauce or tamari: Add umami-rich saltiness and depth.

How to Make Creamy Tomato Tofu Pasta Sauce

  • First, peel and finely chop (or pulse in a food processor) the onion and mince the garlic.
  • Then, heat the oil in a large pan over medium heat. Once hot, sauté the onion and garlic until fragrant and beginning to brown, then remove from the heat and leave to cool for several minutes.

If cooking pasta, do so while the aromatics are cooking. Save a ladleful or two of the starchy pasta water, too, to help the sauce cling to the noodles.

  • Transfer the cooked aromatics to a blender with the marinara sauce, silken tofu, basil, oregano, and (if using) red pepper flakes, and blend until smooth and creamy.
  • Transfer the sauce back to the saucepan and bring it to a boil. Once boiling stir constantly for 2-3 minutes.
  • Finally, taste and adjust any of the seasonings in the vegan tomato cream sauce, then enjoy it warm served over cooked pasta.
completed Creamy Tomato Tofu Pasta Sauce with pasta on a white surface

FAQs

Can I use firm tofu?

Technically, yes, but the tofu tomato sauce won’t blend as smooth and creamy and has a stronger ‘tofu’ flavor.

Can I substitute the tofu?

There are several ways to mimic dairy cream to make a creamy vegan pasta sauce. Aside from blended silken tofu, blended cashew cream is a favorite of ours as it has a fairly mild flavor but is super rich and creamy.

Full-fat canned coconut milk also works but has a slightly stronger flavor. There are also some commercial dairy-free cream options now available.

Pro Recipe Tips

  • Use the right tofu: Silken tofu is mild in flavor, soft, and will blend into a wonderfully creamy tofu tomato sauce. Here’s a great tofu guide to reference!
  • If the sauce is acidic: Add a touch of maple syrup or a pinch of sugar to balance the acidity of the tomatoes in the vegan tomato pasta sauce.
  • Season to taste: Depending on the marinara sauce used, add extra salt and pepper (and other herbs/seasonings) to taste.
  • To save prep time: Use pre-prepared chopped onion and minced garlic.
  • For a thicker/thinner sauce: To thicken the tomato tofu pasta sauce, simmer and allow it to reduce. For a thinner sauce, add a little vegetable broth, water, or dairy-free milk to your desired consistency.  
completed Creamy Tomato Tofu Pasta Sauce with pasta on a white surface

Storage Instructions

Leave the silken tofu pasta sauce to cool and store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 4-5 days.

You can also freeze it in individual portions (in airtight containers or Ziplock/Stasher bags, spread flat) for up to 3 months. Leave them to thaw in the fridge overnight before reheating.

Note the texture of tofu can change upon freezing, so you may need to re-blend it for a few seconds.  

To reheat the sauce, use a microwave or do it gently on the stovetop. Add a splash of extra water/broth/plant-based milk if needed.

completed Creamy Tomato Tofu Pasta Sauce in individual separators

More Vegan Pasta Sauce Recipes

Photos by Alfonso Revilla

completed Creamy Tomato Tofu Pasta Sauce with pasta on a white surface
  • Heat the oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic. Cook until they begin to lightly brown. Remove from the heat and let it cool for 5 minutes.

  • Put the onion garlic mixture in a blender and add the marinara sauce, basil, oregano, red pepper flakes (if using), and silken tofu. Blend until completely smooth.

  • Put the sauce back into the pan and bring to a boil. Stirring constantly, cook for 2 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed

  • Enjoy hot with your favorite cooked pasta.

Add spinach peas, diced carrots, sliced mushrooms, and broccoli florets to make a pasta primavera.
  • Use the right tofu: Silken tofu is mild in flavor, soft, and will blend into a wonderfully creamy tofu tomato sauce. Here’s a great tofu guide to reference!
  • If the sauce is acidic: Add a touch of maple syrup or a pinch of sugar to balance the acidity of the tomatoes in the vegan tomato pasta sauce.
  • Season to taste: Depending on the marinara sauce used, add extra salt and pepper (and other herbs/seasonings) to taste.

Calories: 2168kcalCarbohydrates: 392gProtein: 70gFat: 37gSaturated Fat: 5gPolyunsaturated Fat: 6gMonounsaturated Fat: 22gSodium: 3135mgPotassium: 3253mgFiber: 28gSugar: 40gVitamin A: 3642IUVitamin C: 62mgCalcium: 300mgIron: 14mg

Disclaimer: Although plantbasedonabudget.com attempts to provide accurate nutritional information, kindly note that these are only estimates. Nutritional information may be affected based on the product type, the brand that was purchased, and in other unforeseeable ways. Plantbasedonabudget.com will not be held liable for any loss or damage resulting for your reliance on nutritional information. If you need to follow a specific caloric regimen, please consult your doctor first.

Course: Dinner

Cuisine: American

Method: Stovetop

Diet: Vegan


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