Easy Tofu Tomato Pasta With Vegetables
This tofu tomato pasta sauce is packed with veggies, fiber, and plant-based protein! It’s such a quick, go-to weeknight dinner idea and is an awesome way to clear out the fridge. Feel free to customize it! Recipe is vegan and can be made gluten-free.
I’m so excited to share one of my go-to weeknight dinners with you! This pasta with tofu recipe is perfect for clearing out all the veggies in your fridge. It’s super easy to customize this recipe based on what you have on hand, but I share some ideas for what you can put in it below 🙂
This recipe uses a pack of firm or extra firm tofu that we crumble with our hands and use in place of ground meat. It’s perfect for anyone who wants to eat more plants, or even if you’re a meat eater and just want to switch things up. At roughly $2-$3 a pack, tofu is an affordable protein option, too!
Want more pasta recipe inspiration? Check out my roundup of 40+ easy, healthy pasta recipes for more ideas! This simple cherry tomato pasta is a fan-favourite. For more ways to use tofu, you’ll love my roundup of healthy tofu recipes – this honey garlic baked tofu is one of my most popular recipes!
Ingredients Needed & Possible Modifications
All you need to make this tofu tomato pasta recipe are 11 simple ingredients:
- Firm or extra firm tofu: For this pasta recipe, you’ll want to use firm or extra firm tofu. Soft or silken tofu will not “crumble” the same way and would be better suited for a “creamy” sauce. However, the tofu in this sauce is meant to be a swap for ground meat – so texture is important here.
- Pasta of choice: Any shape will work, long or short! If you’re gluten-free, be sure to use a gluten-free pasta as needed.
- Olive oil: Used for cooking the veggies and tofu!
- Garlic: I use freshly minced garlic here, but you could also add or swap with diced onion.
- Bell pepper: Or another veggie – just go for options that you can easily sauté on the stovetop. Some of my favourites include chopped mushrooms, peppers, carrots, broccoli, or zucchini.
- Spinach: Or another leafy green, like kale or Swiss chard.
- Tomato sauce: You can use either store-bought or homemade tomato sauce. I love using marinara or a tomato basil one. I always have a bunch of jars in my pantry for quick dinners like this! If you follow a gluten-free diet, double check that the tomato sauce you’re using is certified gluten-free as well. Otherwise, the rest of the ingredients are naturally GF.
- Smoked paprika: Feel free to experiment with different spices here. I LOVE smoked paprika and chili powder for this one, but you could go a more Italian route and use dried basil, thyme, and/or oregano.
- Chili powder: See note above!
- Optional: fresh herbs, like parsley and/or basil
- Optional: cheese. You can top this recipe with parmesan (if you eat cheese) OR nutritional yeast OR a vegan parmesan alternative. If you want to experiment with other cheeses (vegan or not) – go for it!
TIP: This recipe is SO easy to customize and modify based on what you have on hand. I swear I make a variation of this every other week or so, just to use up whatever vegetables I have in the fridge. It’s so cozy and always hits the spot 🙂
Full ingredient measurements and detailed instructions are located in the printable recipe card at the bottom of this post!
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How To Crumble Tofu
Crumbling tofu is super easy and one of my favourite ways to cook with tofu! All you need are a few paper towels, a bowl, and your hands:
- Start by removing tofu from its packaging and draining the liquid.
- Then, wrap the block of tofu in paper towel and gently squeeze out any excess liquid.
- Using your hands, tear off chunks of tofu and give them a squeeze until smaller “crumbles” start to form. Repeat until your entire block of tofu roughly resembles the texture of ground meat.
Please see the step-by-step pictures below or the recipe video in this post if you need more direction!
Your “crumbles” don’t need to be perfect here. If you want some larger chunks, go for it! You can continue to break apart the tofu while cooking the sauce, too.
Step-By-Step: How To Make Tofu Pasta
STEP 1: While waiting for pasta water to boil, start by crumbling tofu. Drain the tofu and press out excess water. Over a large bowl, use your hands to tear the block of tofu into smaller chunks.
STEP 2:Then, squeeze those chunks into even smaller pieces, until the entire block is “crumbled.”
STEP 3: This is roughly what your tofu crumbles should look like, but you’re welcome to have them in different sizes! It doesn’t have to be perfect and you can break up the tofu even more while cooking.
STEP 4: Next, cook the minced garlic in olive oil on a large pan. Then, cook your veggies (I used chopped peppers). Finally, add the crumbled tofu and spices. Stir together and continue to cook.
STEP 5: Pour in your tomato sauce.
STEP 6: Then, add any leafy greens (I used spinach) and chopped herbs (I used parsley). Stir to combine and wilt the greens.
STEP 7: Drain pasta and add to sauce.
STEP 8: Stir everything together until the sauce coats the pasta. Serve and top with additional garnish or a little cheese 🙂
Leftovers of this recipe will keep for about 4-5 days in an airtight container in the fridge. Simply reheat it on the stovetop or in the microwave. It keeps really well and I love making a large batch of this to eat for a couple meals.
Tofu Nutrition Benefits
Tofu is a form of condensed soy milk that is pressed into solid blocks. It’s a great source of plant-based protein, with numbers ranging from 8 grams to 14 grams of complete protein per serving (depending on the brand and type of tofu). Extra firm tofu will provide the most protein out of all the tofu varieties.
In addition to protein, tofu is a great source of essential micronutrients, like:
While there is controversy around soy, the majority of studies suggest that soy is linked to improved cholesterol levels, heart health, fertility, and reduced cancer risk. These health benefits are likely due to the presence of beneficial plant compounds called isoflavones.
More Healthy Pasta Recipes
- Eggplant Pasta Bake With Tomato & Zucchini
- Pasta With Cashew Cream Tomato Sauce
- Baked Tomato Pasta With Eggs & Feta
- Lemon Artichoke Spinach Pasta
- Tempeh Tomato Sauce Pasta
Did you give this Easy Tofu Tomato Pasta Recipe a try? Let me know by leaving a comment and recipe rating below!
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Get the Recipe: Easy Tofu Tomato Pasta With Vegetables
- Approx. 225 grams pasta of choice (roughly 8 ounces – enough for 4!)
- 1 pack firm or extra firm tofu (roughly 350g or 12 ounces)
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 large bell pepper, cored + chopped
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1/2 tsp chili powder
- 2 cups spinach
- 3 cups tomato sauce
- 1/4 cup parsley, chopped
- Salt + pepper, to taste
- Optional garnish: fresh basil, parmesan or vegan alternative
- Bring a pot of water to a boil and cook pasta according to package instructions.
- While waiting for water to boil, crumble tofu: remove from packaging and drain liquid. Wrap in paper towel, then gently press out excess water. Over a large bowl, use your hands to tear block of tofu into smaller chunks. Then, squeeze those chunks into even smaller pieces, until the entire block is "crumbled." (see pics or recipe video for reference!)
- Heat olive oil in a large, deep pan over medium-high heat. Add minced garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 2 mins.
- Then, add in chopped bell peppers (or other veggies if using). Sauté for about 5 mins.
- Add in crumbled tofu, smoked paprika, chili powder, salt, and pepper. Stir and cook for another 5 mins.
- Then, add in spinach (or other leafy green), tomato sauce, and chopped parsley. Stir well and allow to simmer for 5 mins.
- Drain pasta and add to sauce. Stir to combine before removing from heat.
- Serve pasta into bowl and top with additional garnish, if desired. I love some chopped basil and freshly grated parmesan 🙂
- You can use all kinds of different veggies in place (or in addition to) peppers + spinach. Just go for options that you can easily sauté on the stovetop. Some of my favourites include chopped mushrooms, peppers, carrots, broccoli, zucchini, and other leafy greens (like kale or Swiss chard).
- Feel free to use different kinds of homemade or store-bought tomato sauce. My go-to is usually a marinara.
- You can top this recipe with parmesan (if you eat cheese) OR nutritional yeast OR a vegan parmesan alternative. If you want to experiment with other cheeses – go for it!
- Feel free to experiment with different spices here. I LOVE smoked paprika and chili powder for this one, but you could go a more Italian route and use dried basil, thyme, and/or oregano.
- You can use any type of pasta with this recipe, from short shapes to spaghetti!
- If you’re gluten-free, be sure to use a gluten-free pasta as needed. Also, double check that the tomato sauce you’re using is certified gluten-free as well. Otherwise, the rest of the ingredients are naturally GF.
As a dietitian, I create recipes with whole food ingredients that provide the nutrients needed for optimal health. My nutrition philosophy does not focus on numbers; however, I understand that this information can be helpful.
Do note that the nutrition info provided is an estimate and I cannot guarantee correctness of the displayed values. These numbers will differ depending on brands used, recipe modifications, and amount eaten. If you require specific nutrition information due to medical reasons, please consult with your dietitian or physician.