Tofu Pesto Pasta Recipe

Pesto pasta is one of the most unique and flavorful pasta dishes that you can make. If you've had pesto in the past, then you know what we're talking about. And if you haven't? That's okay, we'll introduce you to it and we're sure that it will be love at first sight ... we mean taste. Wellness coach and recipe developer Miriam Hahn is the brains behind this fantastic recipe that is sure to be an instant favorite. The great part about this dish is that it's a healthier option as you make the sauce with tofu.

"I am obsessed with pesto, too! I have so many different recipes for it that are so much healthier than typical pesto," Hahn shares. "I like this one because it is almost a cross between ricotta cheese and pesto. The tofu gives it a cheesy creaminess and the spices and basil make this a delicious sauce!" If you'd like, Hahn also says you can add chicken for a little more protein.

Keep reading to find out how to make this incredible pasta. 

Gather the ingredients

To start things off, make a grocery list and head to the store. For starters, you will need some extra firm tofu. Then, make a stop in the produce section and grab some fresh basil leaves. You will also need to pick up some nutritional yeast, garlic, and walnuts. Moving down the list, grab some olive oil juice from lemons.

In addition, you will need a few spices, including Himalayan salt, oregano, garlic powder, and pepper. You'll also need pasta, and the great part about this recipe is that you can choose the pasta type that you like. The last two items you need to grab are pine nuts and plum tomatoes.

Prep the tofu

The first thing that you need to take out is your tofu. Remove it from the package and then discard the excess water in the package. You will also want to drain the excess water from the tofu itself. To do this, place the tofu in a shallow dish or a bowl and put a flat plate on top of the tofu. Then, add something heavy on top of the plate like a cast-iron skillet or something similar.

Let the heavy object sit on top for about 20 minutes and then pour out the water that you collected in the bowl. If you have a tofu press, you can also use that instead. When the tofu is pressed, cut it into cubes.

Start the pasta water

Now that you have finished the tofu, it's time to move on to the pasta. Grab a pot and fill it with water. "I like to use a large pot when cooking pasta, so there is plenty of room, and this helps the pasta from sticking together," Hahn shares. "I often will reserve pasta water to add to the sauce when you need a little more liquid. The pasta water has some starch and flavor in it, so a better choice than plain water."

Follow the instructions on the back of the box to cook the pasta. In the meantime, make the pesto sauce. 

Blend the tofu and other ingredients

Now, it's time to grab your tofu cubes. Then, take out a food processor and toss in the cubes. At this time, you can also throw in the basil, nutritional yeast, minced garlic, and walnuts. Don't stop just yet because you still need to add a few more things. Toss in a few liquids like olive oil, water, and lemon juice. In addition, you will need a few herbs and spices to add some flavor. This includes salt, oregano, garlic powder, and pepper.

Now, turn on the food processor and blend the mixture until it gets smooth.

Drain the pasta and add sauce

By now, your pasta should be done cooking. Grab a colander and drain the pasta. Be sure to keep an extra ¼ cup of cooking water reserved. If you have a pasta pot that you used, that's even better and it makes it easier to drain. 

Then, put the drained pasta back in the pot and add in your pesto sauce, followed by the reserved cooking water. This gives you the perfect amount of liquid and topping for the pasta. Give the mixture a few good stirs to combine the pasta so that it's evenly coated with pesto. 

Top and serve

Now you can finally serve the pasta. Top each serving with slivered basil, chopped tomatoes, and pine nuts if you wish. "This pasta dish can really be the main event as it is a perfect balance of protein, fat, and fiber. I am in the habit of serving everything with a salad to get more greens in, but it is fine on its own," Hahn shares. "Or it is nice with a simple soup."

And leftovers are great, too! "This pasta is great for leftovers," Hahn shares. "You just need to add a little water when heating [it] up because the sauce will get soaked up by the pasta." 

We hope you love this dish as much as we do!

Tofu Pesto Pasta Recipe
5 from 41 ratings
The tofu gives this pesto pasta recipe a cheesy creaminess, and the spices and basil make such a delicious sauce.
Prep Time
5
minutes
Cook Time
10
minutes
Servings
4
servings
pesto pasta on fork
Total time: 15 minutes
Ingredients
  • 1 package extra firm tofu
  • 8 to 12 ounces pasta (any type)
  • 1 cup (packed) fresh basil leaves + more for topping, slivered
  • ¼ cup nutritional yeast
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons walnuts
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • Juice from 1 ½ lemons (or just one if it is large and juicy)
  • 1 teaspoon pink Himalayan salt (or other coarse salt)
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • ¼ cup reserved pasta water
  • ¼ cup toasted pine nuts, for topping
  • 1 to 2 plum tomatoes, chopped, for topping
Directions
  1. Remove the tofu from the package and discard the water.
  2. Press the tofu by placing it in a shallow bowl or dish. Place a flat plate on top of the tofu and place something heavy on top of the plate. Let it sit for about 20 minutes, then pour out the water collected in the bowl.
  3. When the tofu is ready, prepare the pasta by following the instructions on the box, reserving ¼ cup of the cooking water.
  4. Cube the pressed tofu and add it to the food processor along with the basil, nutritional yeast, garlic, walnuts, olive oil, 3 tablespoons water, lemon juice, salt, oregano, garlic powder, and pepper. Blend until it is a smooth sauce.
  5. Drain the cooked pasta, and place the drained pasta back in the pot.
  6. Add the sauce and reserved cooking water. Stir to combine.
  7. Serve in individual bowls and top with basil, tomatoes, and pine nuts.
Nutrition
Calories per Serving 584
Total Fat 23.7 g
Saturated Fat 2.8 g
Trans Fat 0.0 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Total Carbohydrates 67.5 g
Dietary Fiber 10.0 g
Total Sugars 4.5 g
Sodium 606.0 mg
Protein 32.7 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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