Extra Firm Tofu Is The Key To Creamy Vegan Pesto Sauce

If you've been trying to perfect a vegan pesto sauce that is as creamy as it would be if it contained cheese, cream, or milk, it may be because you haven't thought to include tofu. Yep, tofu. It might seem strange to add tofu to a sauce, but it's the key way to achieve that creaminess without having to include dairy products. The tofu, when blended with the right ingredients, will make for a sauce that is so rich that you'll second guess if it's even vegan. 

The tofu adds a silky texture, and since it doesn't have much flavor on its own, it works as the perfect blank slate for the flavors you want in your pesto. Plus, you can decide how thick you want the sauce — thin it out by adding more liquid. You can also choose either firm or silken tofu. Firm tofu will result in a thicker sauce but makes it a bit harder to achieve that silky texture, so you may want to only choose firm tofu if you have a quality food processor or blender to rely on. Blend up your perfectly creamy pesto by combining your tofu of choice, basil, walnuts, nutritional yeast, olive oil, and any other favorite ingredients.

How to use the creamy tofu pesto in a pasta dish

When making tofu pesto pasta, we like to use penne (but any variety will work) garnished with basil, pine nuts, and chopped tomatoes. Or you can customize it exactly to your liking — pick out your favorite pasta shape, veggies, and protein, then you're good to go. If you're not vegan, then adding a meat protein, such as chicken, will make this dish even heartier. But if you're looking to stick with a plant-based option, simply add in some fried or baked tofu pieces. Don't worry, since the tofu is integrated into the sauce, you can't really taste it, so adding cooked tofu pieces won't make for an overwhelming tofu taste at all. 

You don't even have to stick to the straightforward basil-and-nut-based pesto. You could also integrate tofu into a sun-dried tomato pesto, a citrus pesto, or any other pesto to transform it into an ultra-creamy vegan sauce. If you're not feeling super fancy, don't worry. This pesto is so flavorful on its own that, once added to the pasta, you don't even really need anything else. You could even make the tofu pesto ahead of time to make it easier for yourself on a busy weeknight.