This tofu tomato pasta sauce is high in fiber, vegetables, and plant-based protein! It's a great way to clear out the fridge and is a quick weeknight dinner idea. Feel free to change it up! The recipe is vegan and gluten-free.
I'm so excited to share with you one of my favorite weeknight dinners! This pasta with tofu recipe is ideal for using up all the vegetables in your fridge. It's super simple to adapt this recipe to whatever ingredients you have on hand, but I've included some suggestions for what you can put in it below.
In this recipe, we crumble a pack of firm or extra firm tofu with our hands and use it in place of ground meat. It's ideal for anyone looking to eat more plants, or even if you're a meat eater looking to change things up. Tofu is also an inexpensive protein option, costing about $2-$3 per pack!
As a dietitian, I'm pleased to report that this vegan pasta recipe is quick, simple, and nutritious. If you're interested, I also discuss the nutritional benefits of tofu further down.Ingredients Required and Possible Changes:
This tofu tomato pasta recipe only requires 11 simple ingredients:
- Firm or extra firm tofu: Use firm or extra firm tofu for this pasta recipe. Soft or silken tofu will not "crumble" as well as firm tofu and is better suited to a "creamy" sauce. However, because the tofu in this sauce is meant to be a substitute for ground meat, texture is important.
- Pasta of your choice: Any shape, long or short, will do! If you are gluten-free, use gluten-free pasta as needed.
- Olive oil: Used to cook vegetables and tofu!
- Garlic: I use fresh minced garlic in this recipe, but you could also add or substitute diced onion.
- Bell pepper: Or another vegetable - choose options that can be easily sautéed on the stovetop. Chopped mushrooms, peppers, carrots, broccoli, and zucchini are some of my favorites.
- Spinach or another leafy green such as kale or Swiss chard.
- Tomato sauce: You can use canned or homemade tomato sauce. I like to use marinara or a tomato basil sauce. I keep a lot of jars in my pantry for quick dinners like this! If you follow a gluten-free diet, make sure the tomato sauce you're using is also gluten-free. The rest of the ingredients are naturally gluten-free.
- Smoked paprika: Play around with different spices here. For this one, I love smoked paprika and chili powder, but you could go more Italian and use dried basil, thyme, and/or oregano.
- Chili powder: As mentioned above!
- Optional: fresh herbs, such as parsley or basil. - Optional: cheese. If you eat cheese, you can top this recipe with parmesan, nutritional yeast, or a vegan parmesan substitute. If you want to try other cheeses (vegan or not), go ahead!
TIP: You can easily customize and modify this recipe based on what you have on hand. I swear I make this every other week or so just to use up whatever vegetables I have in the fridge. It's so comfortable and always hits the spotTofu Crumble Recipe:
Crumbling tofu is a quick and easy way to prepare tofu and one of my favorite ways to prepare it! Only a few paper towels, a bowl, and your hands are required:
To begin, remove the tofu from its packaging and drain the liquid.
Wrap the tofu block in a paper towel and gently squeeze out any excess liquid.
Using your hands, tear off chunks of tofu and squeeze them until smaller "crumbles" form. Repeat until your entire block of tofu resembles ground meat in texture.
Your "crumbles" don't have to be perfect for this. Go ahead and get some larger chunks! You can continue to break apart the tofu while the sauce is cooking.Notes on Storage:
This recipe's leftovers will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for about 4-5 days. Simply reheat it in the microwave or on the stovetop. It keeps well and I enjoy making a large batch to eat for a couple of meals.Nutritional Advantages of Tofu:
Tofu is pressed condensed soy milk in the form of solid blocks. It's an excellent source of plant-based protein, with 8 to 14 grams of complete protein per serving (depending on the brand and type of tofu). Extra firm tofu contains the most protein of any tofu variety.
Tofu, in addition to protein, is an excellent source of essential micronutrients such as:
While there is some debate about soy, the majority of studies show that it is linked to better cholesterol levels, heart health, fertility, and a lower risk of cancer. These health benefits are most likely due to the presence of isoflavones, which are beneficial plant compounds.