This Creamy Tahini Pasta with Lemon and Garlic will totally shake up your traditional pasta night! The nutty, garlicky tahini sauce is absolutely addicting and the lemon adds a perfect, bright freshness! Best of all, this is on the table in less than 30 minutes!
This post was originally written in March of 2022. It was updated in March of 2021 to include process photos and more helpful information!
If you are bored with your regular pasta night, ya’ll need to make this tahini pasta recipe!!!! It’s such a nice change from traditional red or alfredo sauce. If you never tried tahini, you may just be addicted! It’s nutty flavor is so rich and delicious–then paired with lots of lemon and garlic…heaven!!
This garlic and lemon tahini pasta is also vegan and dairy free, unlike most creamy pasta dishes that are loaded with butter and cream. Instead, the pasta is smothered in a creamy sauce made with tahini and flavored with garlic and lots of lemon–it’s to die for!
WHY YOU’LL LOVE THIS RECIPE
- Minimal, simple ingredients but HUGE flavor!
- Easy, breezy weeknight meal.
- Veggie, vegan and gluten free (option)–super healthy!
- Protein and extra veggies can be easily added!
You’ll need the following ingredients to make this delicious, creamy Pasta with Tahini Sauce:
Tahini Paste: This can be purchased a most major chain grocery stores these days! It’s usually hidden either in the nut butter section (with peanut butter, almond butter, etc.) or in the international aisle. It comes in a glass jar. Trader Joes always carries it, too and of course you can buy it on Amazon!
HOW TO MAKE THIS CREAMY TAHINI PASTA RECIPE WITH LEMON AND GARLIC: STEP BY STEP
Here are some quick visual instructions. Remember that full instructions with exact ingredients will be in the recipe card below!
STEP 1: Cook pasta to al dente, then make the tahini pasta sauce. Whisk together tahini paste, lemon juice, lemon zest and salt. Add water until sauce resembles thin pancake batter.
STEP 2: To a pan over medium heat, add olive oil and minced garlic. Cook about 30 seconds until garlic is fragrant.
STEP 3: Add tahini sauce and stir to heat through.
STEP 4: Toss cooked pasta with the sauce. Toss with tongs until pasta is well-coated with the sauce. Top with parsley, freshly ground pepper and more lemon juice/zest, if you like!
RECIPE TIPS & TRICKS
- When making the tahini sauce continue adding water until the sauce resembles a thin pancake batter (see picture above). It should be around 1/2 to 1 cup of water depending on the brand of tahini you are using.
- Make sure to reserve at least a cup of the pasta cooking water before you drain the pasta. This water will help create a nice texture for the sauce when you toss in the pasta.
STORAGE & REHEATING
Storage: Store pasta in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Reheating: Honestly, this pasta is best eaten on the first day. However, if you have leftovers, they can be reheated in a pan with a little water or chicken stock to add back in the bit of creaminess. You can also save a bit of the tahini sauce and toss it into your reheated pasta.
Freezing: I do not recommend freezing this tahini pasta dish.
ADDITIONS AND SUBSTITUTIONS
This pasta is perfect in it’s own, but there are SO MANY amazing variations to spice it up! Here are my favorites:
- Toss in jarred roasted red peppers.
- Add roasted or sautéed veggies! While the pasta is cooking, roast up some veggies to throw in! My favorites are broccoli, cherry tomatoes, red pepper, onions and zucchini. Green peas are also delish stirred in!
- Although this recipe as written is vegan, feel free to add in some protein! Chicken is obviously the perfect match and shrimp would be amazing too.
- Forget the pasta and just drink the sauce! (kidding, not kidding). The sauce makes an excellent dip for veggies, falafel or crackers! It’s also great drizzled over a salad or rice bowl of any kind!
- Add a little spice by adding a sprinkle of red pepper flakes!
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Tahini is simply toasted, ground sesame seeds! The seeds are ground to thick paste and is the basic ingredient in hummus and has a nutty flavor. Tahini is full of healthy fats and antioxidants, making it a great alternative to butter or cream if you want a rich, creamy pasta dish.
Most “regular” grocery stores carry tahini these days, although you might have to ask where to find it! At my store, it was near the nut butters, but it can also be hidden in the “ethnic” section. Trader Joe’s tahini is near the olives and canned food section. And of course, there is always Amazon! You can try this Organic Sesame Tahini here!
You can easily just swap out the fettuccine with a gluten-free pasta such as: chickpea pasta, lentil pasta or brown rice pasta.
OTHER PASTA DISHES YOU’LL LOVE
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Creamy Tahini Pasta with Lemon and Garlic
For the Tahini Sauce
- 1 cup tahini paste or about 1 10 oz. jar
- 1/2 cup lemon juice juice from 2-3 lemons
- 1 tsp lemon zest (or zest of one lemon)
- 2 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 to 1 cup water See Note 1
For the Pasta
- 1 lb. fettuccine or your favorite pasta
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 4 cloves garlic, miced about 1 tablespoon (the best garlic chopper)
- 1 cup reserved pasta cooking water or less
- lemon juice, parsley, lemon zest and black pepper to garnish optional
- Boil pasta according to package instructions–al dente is best because you will be reheating the pasta and tossing it in with the tahini sauce. **Reserve about a cup of the pasta water before draining the pasta**
- While the pasta cooks, in a medium bowl, whisk together tahini, lemon juice, lemon zest and salt. Add in water slowly and whisk until a medium-thick sauce is formed. See picture in step by step instructions above–it should be about like a thin pancake batter so it's easy to toss with the pasta. Set sauce aside.
- In a large skillet over medium heat, heat olive oil. Then add garlic and stir for 30 seconds until garlic is fragrant. Add tahini sauce and stir until the sauce is heated through.
- Toss pasta with tahini sauce. Add in a little pasta water as you toss so the sauce stays nice and creamy. Serve pasta immediately and garnish with extra lemon juice, lemon zest, parsley and fresh black pepper.