Tahini Pasta | The Picky Eater

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Ready in just 35 minutes, this tahini pasta recipe makes for an easy weeknight dinner! The nutty tahini pairs with fresh garlic and citrusy lemon for a pasta dish the entire family will love. It also happens to be vegan-friendly and easily made gluten-free.

Tahini is a classic ingredient in Middle Eastern cuisine, but is versatile enough to be used for many delicious recipes. It’s a smooth, nutty spread made from ground sesame seeds, and is often found in hummus, but it can also be used in baked goods, salad dressing, and creamy dips!

I love using it for a healthy pasta sauce as it’s a great way to get that creamy texture without heavy cream or cheese. Plus, this sesame paste makes for a unique spin on typical pasta dishes. It’s a fun way to switch things up!

This creamy tahini pasta sauce uses simple ingredients, many that you probably already have on hand! Everything blends together quickly for a flavorful, convenient, and filling meal. This will definitely become one of your favorite vegan pasta recipes to add to your weeknight meal rotation. 

If you’re looking for even more recipes with tahini, check out these sesame tahini cookies and these instant pot lentils with tahini!

👩🏽‍🍳 Why You’ll Love Pasta With Tahini Sauce

  • Easy To Make: This creamy pasta with tahini sauce only takes 10 minutes to prepare, and is ready in just about 30 minutes. You’ll follow along with simple steps to quickly make this easy meal.
  • Versatile: This recipe is super customizable. Feel free to play around with different herbs and spices for various flavor profiles.
  • Unique Flavor: When you get tired of the traditional marinara or pesto, this tahini sauce for pasta provides a unique alternative. It is creamy, rich, and satisfying with a nice umami flavor.
  • Vegan Friendly: This is a vegan tahini pasta with no added dairy. Just be sure there is no egg in the pasta noodle that you use!
  • Healthy: Compared to many creamy pasta sauces, this one is much healthier! You’ll get the same comfort as a cheesy sauce, without the added dairy and inflammatory properties. Tahini provides healthy fats, vitamins and nutrients too!

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🥘 Ingredients

Grab everything you need for this creamy tahini pasta recipe at any of your local grocery stores! See the recipe card at the bottom of the post for more information.

Ingredients for tahini pasta recipe on a white background.
  • Pasta: I recommend whole wheat pasta for an extra boost of fiber and nutrients! Use whatever shape of pasta you’d like. You’ll also want to reserve at least ½ cup of the pasta water for this sauce.
  • Olive Oil: Extra virgin olive oil will be used to saute the onion and garlic before adding to the sauce.
  • Tahini: Tahini paste puts a twist on regular pasta sauce, with a nutty flavor and creamy consistency. Make sure to buy a brand of tahini with a flavor you like, as some tahinis can be more bitter and some can have sweeter or nuttier notes. See the FAQs below for our favorite tahini brands!
  • Lemon: You will use fresh lemon juice and lemon zest to give a bold pop of citrus flavor! The lemon is a key ingredient, the acidity complements the tahini perfectly.
  • Nutritional Yeast: You will get a subtle cheesy flavor from the nutritional yeast, which we like in this sauce.
  • Salt & Pepper: A little bit of salt and black pepper takes this sauce to the next level!
  • Garlic & Onion: The minced cloves of garlic and diced onion will be sauteed first to bring out their full flavor.
  • Parsley & Basil: Fresh parsley and fresh basil top this pasta for bright herbaceous flavors!

🍲 Ingredient Substitutions

  • Pasta: You can use any type of pasta you’d like for this recipe. Try out lentil pasta, chickpea pasta, quinoa pasta, or brown rice pasta! Instead of using reserved pasta water you can also use vegetable broth.
  • Oil: Avocado oil or coconut oil would be fine for this recipe in place of olive oil.
  • Lemon: While lemon juice and tahini are a classic pairing, if you don’t have lemon on hand you can try a splash vinegar like rice vinegar, apple cider vinegar, or white wine vinegar.
  • Spices: Feel free to use other seasonings like garlic powder, onion powder, or red pepper flakes.
  • Herbs: Any fresh herbs will taste great in this pasta! Try dill, tarragon or chives instead of parsley.

🔪 How To Make Tahini Pasta

This recipe for pasta with tahini sauce is quick and easy! Follow along with simple steps to make this wholesome pasta:

Cook Pasta: Add the pasta to a large pot of water once it reaches a boil. Cook according to the directions on the packaging, until al dente.

Pasta cooking in a pot on the stove.

Make Sauce: While the pasta cooks, combine the tahini, lemon juice, lemon zest, nutritional yeast, salt, and pepper in a bowl or jar. Blend with an immersion blender until smooth and well combined.

Tahini and pasta sauce ingredients in a tall glass.

Adjust Thickness: Add ½ cup of pasta water to the tahini mixture and blend. Adjust the thickness of the sauce by adding more or less water.

Tahini sauce for pasta being blended with an immersion blender.

Saute Garlic & Onion: Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat and saute the onion and garlic for 3 minutes.

Onions and garlic sauteeing in a pan.

Toss Pasta In Sauce: Next, pour the prepared tahini sauce and cooked pasta into the pan, heat and toss to coat.

Pasta being tossed with tahini sauce in a pan.

Add Final Touches: Sprinkle in chopped fresh basil and parsley, and give it a good stir.

Pasta with tahini sauce being tossed in a pan with parsley.

Serve: Adjust seasoning to taste and serve this creamy lemon tahini pasta with your favorite sides!

Tahini pasta, served in a white bowl, garnished with fresh herbs.

💭 Expert Tips

  • Ridged Pasta: Make sure to choose a pasta with ridges so that you can soak up the lemon tahini sauce in every bite! Fusili, penne, cavatappi, rigatoni, or campanelle would all work well.
  • More Lemon Flavor: Add additional lemon juice if you prefer a stronger lemon flavor.
  • Adjust Bitterness: If you find that the sauce seems a little too bitter for you try adding a dash of maple syrup, or even lemon zest to give it more vibrance.
  • Alternative Blending Methods: If you don’t have an immersion blender you can use a whisk or blender to combine the sauce ingredients.
  • Don’t Skip Adding The Pasta Water! Pasta water retains all of the starch from the pasta as it cooks, and is the secret to making this sauce super creamy and flavorful. Before you drain your pasta, reserve a cup of the water in a glass container and set it aside so you don’t forget it!
  • Stir The Tahini Well: When stored in a jar, the tahini tends to separate – the oil floats to the top and a thick paste ends up at the bottom of the jar. Stir your tahini well, similar to how you’d stir peanut butter, to ensure all of those thick bits of tahini get broken up and incorporated properly.

📖 Variations 

  • Lemon Ginger Sauce: Add in some fresh ginger, minced, along with the garlic and onions for an extra pop of flavor to these tahini noodles.
  • Nut Butters: For alternative flavors to the sauce, try out almond butter, cashew butter, or even peanut butter.
  • With Protein: Add in your favorite protein like tofu, chicken, or roasted chickpeas.
  • With Veggies: Any of your favorite veggies would be a delicious addition to this pasta! Try out green onions, zucchini, baby spinach, green peas, cherry tomatoes, green beans, or bell peppers. You can enjoy fresh or sauteed veggies with this tahini sauce pasta.

🍽 Serving Suggestions

Serve this lemon tahini pasta with a side salad and crusty bread! For even more suggestions, check out these ideas:

🙌 Dietary Adaptations

This tahini pasta sauce itself is vegan, gluten-free, nut free, and soy free! However, the entire dish is not gluten free, due to the whole wheat pasta. To make the whole dish gluten-free simply use your favorite gluten-free pasta like brown rice or chickpea.

🫙 Storage Directions

  • Make Ahead: You can cook the pasta and make the tahini lemon sauce ahead of time, and store the pasta and the sauce in separate containers in the fridge up to 3 days in advance. When you’re ready to serve, just heat the pasta with the sauce, toss, and serve!
  • To Refrigerate: Allow this dish to cool to room temperature and then transfer to an airtight container. Store the leftover tahini pasta in the fridge for up to 5 days.
  • To Reheat: Place pasta and sauce in a microwave safe bowl and heat up for 20-30 seconds. Stir and then heat for another 20 seconds if needed (depending on your portion). Alternatively, you can reheat the tahini pasta on the stove top, adding a splash of water to the pan.

❓Recipe FAQs


If the oil has separated in your jar of tahini you can give it a good stir with a spoon or knife, or use an immersion blender. If you do not need to use the tahini right away you can store it upside down so that it naturally begins to mix up again. When time comes to fully mix the tahini, it will be a little easier to do so!


You can use any brand of tahini that you prefer for this creamy vegan tahini pasta! My favorite brands are Soom Foods, Kevala, Artisana Organics, or Once Again.


Tahini is simply ground sesame seeds, so you can easily make your own from scratch if you can’t find it at the store! Blend the seeds in a food processor with a little bit of oil until a creamy paste is formed. Store in an airtight container or mason jar in the fridge. You can add a pinch of salt if you prefer that additional taste.


If the tahini sauce is too thick you can easily correct this by adding a little water! Add water in slow increments until you reach the desired consistency.

Tahini pasta, served in a white bowl, garnished with fresh herbs.

🍝 More Easy Pasta Recipes!

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📋 Recipe Card

Tahini Pasta

Ready in just 35 minutes, this tahini pasta recipe makes for an easy weeknight dinner! The nutty tahini pairs with fresh garlic and citrusy lemon for a pasta dish the entire family will love. It also happens to be vegan-friendly and easily made gluten-free.

Prep Time10 minutes

Cook Time25 minutes

Total Time35 minutes

Course: Main Course

Cuisine: Italian, Mediterranean, Vegan, vegetarian

Diet: Vegan, Vegetarian

Servings: 4

Calories: 534kcal

  • Adjust seasoning to taste.
  • Adjust thickness of the sauce by adding additional water if needed.
  • Fresh herbs such as dill, tarragon or chives can be added instead of parsley.
  • Tahini sauce can be prepared ahead of time and stored in the fridge covered for 3 days.
  • Store leftover pasta in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
  • Add additional lemon juice if you prefer a stronger lemon flavor.
  • If you don’t have an immersion blender you can use a whisk or blender to combine the sauce ingredients.


Calories: 534kcal | Carbohydrates: 59g | Protein: 19g | Fat: 28g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 11g | Monounsaturated Fat: 12g | Sodium: 313mg | Potassium: 516mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 2g

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