Flavor-packed vegan pesto tofu pasta is a total crowd pleaser and so easy to make! It's an easy and satisfying weeknight meal.
Preparing the tofu
Pressing your tofu well is critical for this recipe, since the tofu is meant to give this casserole the toothsome texture that traditionally comes from meat. I love to press my tofu using my EZ Tofu Press.
It also gets the tofu super firm, so you can tear it into pieces without having it fall apart. You want to tear the tofu into ½" to 1" pieces, and pressing makes that a lot easier.
You can get as much as a half cup of water out by pressing with the EZ Tofu Press. I have measured it!
Start this recipe by making your pesto sauce, which is also going to season your tofu. Just toss everything for the pesto into your food processor. Then, pulse to break down the solids.
Once the basil, nuts, and garlic break down, you can let 'er rip, running the processor until the pesto reaches your desired consistency.
Instead of cheese, which is traditional in many pestos, this recipe uses nutritional yeast. If you can't find or don't want to use nutritional yeast, that's fine. Just omit it. The resulting pesto is still delicious without it.
Pull out some of the pesto, toss it with the tofu, and arrange it on a lined baking sheet. Add sliced grape tomatoes to the same baking sheet, and bake.
While the tofu bakes, make your pasta on the stovetop and toss it with the remaining pesto.
When the tofu and tomatoes come out of the oven, add them to the pasta, tossing to combine. Serve as-is or topped with magical fairy dust.
How to store and reheat it
You can store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator. They'll keep for three to five days.
To reheat, I'd recommend the microwave. The oil from the pesto will thicken in the fridge, but don't worry! When you warm things up, just give it a stir to re-coat everything in that flavorful pesto sauce.
Vegan pesto tofu pasta
For the pesto sauce
- 2 cups fresh basil leaves - loosely packed
- ½ cup olive oil
- ¼ cup cashews or pine nuts
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 4 cloves garlic
- ¼ teaspoon each of salt and pepper
For the pesto tofu
- 1 block firm tofu - pressed and torn into rustic pieces
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes - halved
For the pasta
- 8 ounces fettuccine
- 6 cups baby spinach - or baby kale
- Magical Fairy Dust - for topping, optional
- Preheat the oven to 425° F
Make the pesto tofu
- Combine the pesto ingredients in your food processor, and pulse it until the basil, nuts, and garlic break down. Now, run it until you have a mostly smooth mixture, stoping periodically to scrape down the sides.
- In a large bowl, toss together the tofu with ½ cup of the pesto sauce. Set the rest of the pesto aside for now.
- Arrange the tofu on a lined baking sheet with the sliced tomatoes (cut sides up). Bake for 25-30 minutes, until the tofu turns golden brown.
For the pasta
- While the pesto tofu bakes, cook your fettuccine according to package directions. Place the baby spinach or kale into your colander, and when you drain the pasta, toss it together with the greens. The hot water and hot pasta will wilt the greens perfectly. Toss the pasta and spinach together with the remaining pesto in a large bowl.
- When the tofu and tomatoes are done baking, add them to the bowl with the pasta, tossing to combine. Serve topped with fairy dust, if you're using it.