This creamy tahini pasta recipe is so simple to make with only 7 ingredients! You can make it in only about 25 minutes, making this a great weeknight dinner option. The secret to the sauce's delightfully creamy texture is Greek yogurt!
Note: this post was originally published in 2021 and updated in 2022 with improved instructions.
Pasta is a great choice when you need a quick and easy weeknight dinner, but regular tomato sauce can get boring. If you want a fun and interesting twist to your Wednesday night pasta, try this recipe for creamy tahini pasta!
The tahini pasta sauce is super flavorful thanks to green onion, garlic, honey and soy sauce. And, the tahini sauce also has a lovely silky smooth, creamy texture, thanks to the addition of Greek yogurt! Best of all, you can make this entire dish in only about 25 minutes, with only 7 ingredients.
So, if you have some leftover tahini laying around in your fridge (maybe you made my recipe for dill pickle hummus?), or if you're curious to try tahini in an easy and approachable recipe, then you definitely need to try this recipe for tahini pasta!
Before we go on, I will take a moment to talk about our key ingredient today - tahini, of course!
What is tahini?
Tahini is a paste (or butter) made from ground sesame seeds, and is traditionally used in Middle Eastern cuisine, as well as in many other regions of the world including the Mediterranean, North Africa, and Asia. It can be served by itself, either as a condiment or dip, or used in recipes like hummus.
Tahini can be made with 100% sesame seeds. Or, it can also include salt and/or oil. You can find tahini that uses hulled sesame seeds (with the outer shell of the sesame seed removed), or unhulled seeds. Finally, tahini is also available in roasted or raw versions.
What does tahini taste like?
Generally, tahini has an earthy and nutty flavor, with a slight hint of bitterness. The flavor of tahini can also vary based on the brand and the type (for example, roasted tahini is stronger in flavor than raw tahini).
How long does tahini last? Does tahini go bad?
Unopened tahini can last for a long time stored in a cool, dark place (like a pantry). As a guideline, you can look to the "best by" date printed on the tahini label, although it may last for several months longer than that date.
According to this article on tahini shelf life, opened store-bought tahini may last for 5 - 6 months when stored in a cool dark place, and that shelf life can extend even further if stored in the fridge.
Tahini does go bad eventually, mostly caused by the oil in the tahini going rancid. So, if it looks or smells bad or "off," throw it out!
- Tahini: I used Joyva brand tahini because it is readily available in my grocery store. Joyva tahini is hulled and roasted. If you have multiple tahini options in your local store and aren't sure which to buy, check out this article comparing various brands of tahini!
- Pasta: you can use any shape you prefer; a short twisty shape like cavatappi works well because it holds on to the creamy sauce well. I also prefer using bronze-cut dried pasta; I talk more about this in the Tips and tricks section below!
- Soy sauce: I used regular soy sauce, but if you want to reduce the sodium, I would go for low-sodium soy sauce, rather than reducing the amount used because it does add a lot of flavor to the sauce.
- Greek yogurt: you will need plain, unsweetened Greek yogurt. I like using whole milk yogurt because it is extra creamy! But, 2% yogurt would also work well. You can also swap regular yogurt for the Greek yogurt. The sauce will be slightly thinner but will still taste wonderful!
Step by step photos
Here I will walk you through how to make tahini pasta step by step:
1. Before you do anything else, go ahead and get a big pot of water on the stove to bring to a boil. As soon as the water boils, salt the water well and add the pasta, cooking it according to the directions on the box.
Meanwhile, while you are waiting for the water to boil and while the pasta is cooking, make the tahini pasta sauce. The first step is to thinly slice the dark green part of the green onions. I like to cut them at an angle. Separate the dark green portion and set it aside.
2. Next, finely chop the light green and white part of the onion. You will want these in little pieces so they incorporate well into the sauce. Add the finely chopped onion into a medium-sized bowl.
3. After you have prepped the green onion, mince the garlic clove. I like to smash it with a large knife first and then run my knife through it a few times to get very small pieces. Add the minced garlic to the same bowl with the green onion.
4. Now add the Greek yogurt, tahini, soy sauce and honey into the bowl.
5. Whisk the ingredients together to combine them well. You can let the tahini pasta sauce sit until the pasta is finished cooking.
6. Now turn back to the pasta. Once it is finished cooking, drain it and return it back to the cooking pot. However, be sure to save about ¼ cup of the pasta cooking water in a separate small bowl!
7. Next, scoop the tahini sauce into the pasta pot and stir to combine.
8. If you would like to thin the sauce out a bit, mix in a spoonful or two of the pasta water.
9. Stir in about half of the dark green onion that you set aside from earlier. Save the remaining half to garnish the plated pasta.
And that's how to make creamy tahini pasta, start to finish! For the full recipe amounts and times, please see the recipe card at the bottom of the post.
Additions and substitutions
- To bulk up this pasta dish, you can mix in a cup of cooked veggies when you add the sauce; good options would be peas, broccoli florets, or zucchini!
- Or, for more protein, top the creamy tahini pasta with grilled tofu, chicken breast, salmon, or shrimp.
- If you have sesame seeds in your spice cabinet, they make a lovely garnish in addition to the chopped green onion.
- Crushed red pepper flakes or a dash of chili sauce would also be a nice addition if you like a little spice!
Storage and reheating instructions
How long leftovers last in the fridge
Creamy tahini pasta leftovers will last in the fridge, stored in an airtight container, for a total of 3 - 4 days.
The only exception to this 3 - 4 day guideline would be if the Greek yogurt has already been opened in your fridge before using. In that case, go by the "use by" date on the yogurt.
For example, the yogurt I have says use within 5 days of opening. If I made the sauce on day 3 of the yogurt being opened, I would only keep leftovers for 2 more days.
How to reheat leftovers
To reheat leftovers, I like to microwave the pasta on 50% power, stirring every minute, until heated through. This helps to keep the pasta sauce from separating as much versus using high heat.
If needed, you can add a splash of water to help re-moisten the pasta before heating.
Freezing tahini pasta
You can freeze tahini pasta. But, just be aware that the texture of the sauce will be affected. I froze a portion of the tahini pasta to test this out, and the sauce had a drier texture, and was definitely not as smooth and creamy. However, if you don't mind that, the flavor was still delicious.
If you want to freeze the pasta, I would thaw it in the fridge first, and then reheat it gently as described above to minimize any further changes to the sauce texture.
Other tips and tricks
- If you can, look for bronze-cut dried pasta. De Cecco is an affordable, readily available brand here in the US. Bronze-cut pasta has a rougher, more porous surface that helps sauces grab on. I talk more about bronze-cut pasta in my cream cheese pasta post.
- If your green onions are very slender or small, you can use four instead of three. They provide a lot of flavor to the sauce so I don't like to skimp here!
- This creamy tahini pasta tastes delicious served warm, at room temperature, or even cold straight from the fridge.
You can easily mix the sauce up ahead of time and keep it covered in the fridge. If you're going to keep the tahini sauce in the fridge for longer than a day, I would keep the dark green portion of the green onions whole and chop them right before you plan to serve the pasta.
Making only the sauce ahead of time and mixing it together with freshly boiled pasta, rather than assembling the entire dish ahead, would be my preferred route. The texture of the tahini pasta will be the most creamy and delicious when it's freshly made.
There are so many delicious options! This pasta would taste great on its own, served with a green salad or roasted veggies on the side.
Or, top the pasta with cooked veggies and/or a protein of your choice, such as salmon, grilled chicken, or grilled shrimp. For a vegetarian protein option, cubes of crispy tofu on top would also be delicious!
Side dishes that would pair well with this creamy tahini pasta include my recipes for lemon herb roasted asparagus, cilantro lime roasted cauliflower, or roasted brussels sprouts and carrots.
You can make this recipe gluten free, with only a few small modifications. First, you will obviously need to substitute the regular pasta with your favorite brand of gluten free pasta.
Next, you will need to swap the regular soy sauce (which contains wheat) for tamari, which has a very similar flavor to soy sauce but is made without wheat.
Finally, just double-check that the tahini and Greek yogurt you are using are labeled gluten free. Tahini is naturally gluten free (it's just sesame seeds, after all), but it's possible some brands may have cross-contamination issues.
This creamy tahini pasta includes two non-vegan ingredients: Greek yogurt and honey.
To make the recipe vegan, you can swap the Greek yogurt for a plain, unsweetened vegan yogurt. It will probably be not as thick as the Greek yogurt, but it will still taste good (as long as you enjoy the flavor of the vegan yogurt you are using). And, you can easily swap the honey for agave syrup.
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Creamy Tahini Pasta
This is a creamy tahini pasta that is so easy and quick to make; you only need 7 ingredients and about 25 minutes total!
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 10 minutes
- Total Time: 25 minutes
- Yield: 4 servings 1x
- Category: main course, entree
- Method: stove top
- Cuisine: American
- Diet: Vegetarian
- 8 ounces (227 g) short twisty pasta (cavatappi, fusilli, rotini, etc.)
- ½ cup (118 ml) tahini
- ⅓ cup (80 g) plain Greek yogurt (see note 1)
- 1 tablespoon (15 ml) honey
- 3 tablespoons (44 ml) soy sauce
- 3 green onions (see note 2)
- 1 clove garlic
- Set a large pot of water to boil on the stove. While the pasta water is coming to a boil (and while the pasta is cooking), continue with the remaining steps.
- Thinly slice the dark green portion of the green onions, set aside. Finely chop the remaining light green and white portion of the green onions and add them to a medium bowl.
- Mince the garlic clove, add to the bowl with the finely chopped green onion.
- Add the tahini, Greek yogurt, honey, and soy sauce to the bowl. Whisk until smooth.
- When the pasta water begins to boil, add a generous pinch of salt and stir in the pasta. Cook the pasta according to the package directions.
- When the pasta is finished cooking, turn the heat off and carefully ladle about ¼ cup of the pasta water into a small bowl, set aside. Drain the pasta and add it back to the pot.
- Add the tahini pasta sauce to the drained pasta and stir to combine. If desired, mix in 1 - 2 tablespoons (or more) of the pasta cooking water to thin the sauce.
- Stir in about half of the reserved thinly sliced green onion.
- Plate the pasta and garnish with the remaining thinly sliced green onion, serve immediately.
For the creamiest pasta, use whole milk Greek yogurt. However, 2% yogurt would also work well.
If your green onions are very slender or small, you can use four instead of three.
Sesame seeds make a nice additional garnish. Crushed red pepper flakes would also be a nice addition if you enjoy spice.
Assuming your Greek yogurt is fresh, you can store any leftovers in the fridge, tightly covered, for 3 - 4 days. Reheat in the microwave on 50% power, stirring after every minute, until heated through. If needed, you can moisten the pasta by mixing in a splash of water.
The nutrition information below is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator, and should not be considered a substitute for professional medical, health, or nutritional advice. See our full nutrition disclosure policy.
- Serving Size: ¼ recipe
- Calories: 636
- Sugar: 9.4 g
- Sodium: 722 g
- Fat: 18.2 g
- Saturated Fat: 2.3 g
- Carbohydrates: 95.6 g
- Fiber: 5.2 g
- Protein: 22 g
- Cholesterol: 1 mg
Keywords: tahini pasta, creamy tahini pasta, tahini pasta sauce