Do you ever get bored with eating the same old thing? Well, this creamy pasta with tofu pesto is the perfect recipe to spice up your meal plan! This dish is incredibly easy to make and full of flavor and nutrition. Plus, it's a great way to use up any leftover tofu you might have.
Make this creamy pesto recipe with any tofu available to give a protein boost to your creamy sauces. Not only that, but using tofu and roasted vegetables means you can even omit the use of olive oil since these ingredients make up for the moisture you need to make it super creamy.
We made this healthy pesto recipe an option for the traditional fresh basil pesto, so we can consume it as much as we like without worrying much about its fat content.
- Extra-firm tofu
- Red bell peppers
- Dried tomatoes
- Lemon juice
- Nutritional yeast
- Red pepper flakes
- Extra-virgin olive oil (optional)
See the recipe card for quantities.
To make this dairy-free pesto recipe, you only need to follow three simple steps: roasting your veggies, toasting the almonds, and blending all the ingredients.
Optionally brush the red bell pepper with olive oil; otherwise, roast it as is. Then put the onion and garlic loved in foil and close it—Bake on a lined baking sheet for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, lightly toast the almonds in a skillet for a couple of minutes until golden brown.
Remove the veggies from the oven; peel the pepper with a sawed knife; open it and remove the seeds and the stem. Peel the onion and the garlic.
Put everything in a food processor, and blend until creamy. Only add olive oil if you don't mind the nutrition calories; otherwise, use pasta water.
Hint: make this almond pesto recipe oil-free by simply removing the oil and adjusting the creaminess with cooked pasta water. If using silken tofu, you can even omit the water.
Boil your pasta of choice as per packaging directions until al dente on medium-high heat, reserve some of the pasta water to easily fold in the smooth sauce, and have a creamier vegan pesto tofu pasta.
Then adjust with salt and pepper.
Note: add pesto sauce little by little to ensure all the pasta is coated.
- Red bell peppers - instead of fresh peppers, you can use store-bought canned roasted red peppers.
- Nutritional yeast - use homemade vegan parmesan cheese.
- Garlic cloves - use garlic powder.
- Extra-firm tofu - you can use medium tofu or silken tofu.
- Dried tomatoes - use tomato paste instead.
- Almonds - use toasted pine nuts, cashews, or walnuts instead.
- Extra virgin olive oil - if using silken tofu, you can omit the use of oil to make it an extra healthy pesto recipe.
- Kid-friendly - this recipe was inspired by the spicy calabrese pesto, but you can omit the use of red chili flakes to make it.
- Gluten-free - this pesto recipe is naturally gluten-free. To make a GF pesto pasta, make sure to use marked GF pasta, like lentil, rice, or chickpea pasta.
- Chunky protein bites - add some crispy tofu nuggets to your pasta dish if you like having some chunks on your dish.
🥢 How to serve
Serve this healthy pesto recipe with your pasta of choice. You can use gluten-free pasta to ensure the recipe is 100% gluten-free. Serve with fresh basil leaves.
We also like using this creamy pesto recipe as a spread for sandwiches or topping a vegan poke bowl with it.
You can also add a dollop of this homemade pesto sauce to your mashed potatoes or salads.
For best results when making pesto, use a high-speed blender or food processor, such as a nutribullet (affiliate link) (affiliate). A good quality blender is essential to making a perfect creamy pesto sauce.
To refrigerate this pesto almond recipe, store it in an airtight container and refrigerate it for up to 3 days.
Also, to prevent this healthy pesto recipe from browning and make it last for longer, press the pesto down with a spoon to let all the air out and pour a layer of olive oil on top to cover the surface. Alternatively, you can also place a piece of plastic wrap on top of the surface.
💡 Top tip
For the best results, use a twisted-shaped pasta so the almond pesto really gets into it. We love using pasta that has a bite, like the casarecce pasta (see below). You can also use elbow pasta or bow tie pasta.
The best and most traditional herb to make tofu is fresh basil leaves, followed by arugula. You can also make tofu with cilantro, mint, sage, kale, and even carrot tops pesto.
See these yummy recipes: arugula pesto, mint pesto, sage, and kale pesto, and carrot greens pesto.
Most nuts work for pesto. The ones that deliver a creamier pesto are pine nuts, blanched almonds, cashews, and walnuts.
In general terms, no, because it has a high fat content. This is why we recommend making this healthy pesto recipe with silken tofu if you want to omit the use of oil altogether. That way, you end up with a low calories pesto that you can use with pasta, salads, and sandwiches.
Take a look at our easy vegan sauce collection.
Looking for more ways to use tofu in your recipes, check out our collection of 25+ Easy Chinese Tofu recipes!
⭐ If you try this vegan pesto tofu pasta, let us know! 💬 Leave a comment, rate it, and don't forget to tag us @ourplantbasedworld on Instagram. Cheers!
Creamy Pasta with Easy Tofu Pesto Recipe (Vegan)
- 5 oz tofu organic, any kind of tofu work (see notes)
- ¾ oz sun-dried tomatoes
- 1 large red bell pepper
- 8 tablespoons nutritional yeast or ⅓ cup homemade vegan parmesan
- 1 cup hulled almonds toasted
- 4 garlic cloves or 3 teaspoons granulated garlic powder
- ½ small onion
- 1 teaspoon red chili flakes
- 1.5 tablespoons Fresh Lemon juice
- 10 oz casarecce pasta 300 grams (100 grams per person)
- Preheat the oven to 400 F (200 C).
- Roast the red bell pepper, optionally brushing it with olive oil. Wrap the onion and garlic cloves with aluminum foil.
- Toast almonds. If your almonds aren’t hulled, cover them with boiling water for a few minutes to loosen their skins, then slip them off with your fingers when they are cool enough to handle. Try not to cut corners and use ready-blanched almonds, as nuts quickly lose their flavor without their protective skins. Toast the almonds in a non-stick frying pan, frequently stirring for a few minutes until they are pale gold.
- Remove from the oven after 30 minutes and remove the seeds and peelings from the vegetables.
- Blend all the ingredients in an immersion blender or food processor until the pesto reaches the desired consistency. You might have to stop and scrape down the sides with a spatula.
- Adjust the seasoning. If you want it to be more garlicky, add an extra garlic clove. Add an optional tablespoon of olive oil or pasta water for a thinner and runnier pesto.
If making pasta
- You can start boiling water before making your pesto because it is made fast!Boil the pasta, as per package directions, with salt. Before straining the pasta on a colander, save some of the pasta water, which will be starchy, so when you add the pesto to your strained pasta, you can add some water little by little to achieve the creamiest texture.
🌡️ Food safety
- Cook to a minimum temperature of 165 °F (74 °C)
- Do not use the same utensils on cooked food, that previously touched raw meat
- Wash hands after touching raw meat
- Don't leave food sitting out at room temperature for extended periods
- Never leave cooking food unattended
- Use oils with a high smoking point to avoid harmful compounds
- Always have good ventilation when using a gas stove
The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist's advice. See our full Nutritional Disclosure here.
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