Tahini Pasta with Brussels & Tempeh Bacon is an easy, kid-friendly dinner. Crispy tempeh bacon bits add plant-based protein to this comforting pasta. Served with tangy caramelized onions, and a generous drizzle of creamy tahini dressing.
Caramelized onions take this dreamy tahini pasta to a whole new level. Plus, my foolproof recipe for tempeh bacon is a hit every time.
Inspired by my Sweet Potato & Quinoa Salad with Tahini Dressing, and my Vegan Roasted Veggie Orzo Salad on this website, this versatile dish works well with both pasta and quinoa. Change it up for two recipes in one!
- Pasta or quinoa
- Soy sauce or tamari
- Apple cider vinegar
- Maple syrup
- Garlic powder
- Smoked paprika
- Chipotle powder
- Brussels sprouts
- Olive oil
For the tahini dressing:
- Fresh lemon juice
- Maple syrup
See recipe card for quantities.
For the best tasting tempeh bacon, boil the block of tempeh for 4 minutes before using. It opens the pores of the tempeh, so it can absorb even more of the marinade.
Cut the tempeh into 12 thin rectangles of equal size.
Make the easy soy maple marinade.
You can also leave the tempeh to marinate in the refrigerator overnight.
Cook the pasta or quinoa according to the directions on the packet. For pasta, cook until al dente. Set aside.
Remove the tempeh from the marinade and cook until golden and crispy. Save the remaining tempeh marinade for cooking the onion.
My preferred method is to pan-fry the tempeh in batches for a better mouthfeel, but all three methods work well.
Toss the Brussels sprouts with olive oil and salt to taste. If you choose to bake the tempeh, you can roast the Brussels in the oven at the same time on the rack below.
Meanwhile, cook the onions. Sauté in olive oil. Then add the remaining tempeh marinade to the hot skillet.
While the onions are browning, whisk the tahini dressing in a medium bowl.
Transfer the pasta, Brussels, tempeh bacon, and caramelized onion to a large bowl. Gently mix to combine. Drizzle with the desired amount of dressing.
🍆 Substitutions & Variations
- Pasta - instead of pasta, use quinoa, farro, barley, pearl couscous, or rice. Cook one cup of dry grain of your choice.
- Brussels sprouts - use eggplant (chopped into ¾-inch pieces), sliced bell peppers, or bite-size cuts of cauliflower or broccoli
- Tempeh - the tempeh can be replaced with extra-firm tofu, pressed and marinated for 20 minutes
Use a microplane or fine grater to grate the garlic directly into the tahini dressing.
Refrigerate any remaining Tahini Pasta with Brussels & Tempeh Bacon in an airtight container for 3 to 5 days. Store the tahini dressing in a separate container. Reheat or enjoy chilled for serving.
These ingredients don't stand up well to freezing.
💡 Top tip
For best results, cook the pasta until al dente. If using a different grain, do not overcook. Mushy pasta or quinoa is rarely a good thing. Except maybe for feeding a toddler!
It's easy to meal prep this recipe. Prepare your favorite roasted veggies, the tempeh bacon, and the tahini dressing. Refrigerate in individual containers for up to 5 days. Make the pasta or a grain of your choice right before serving. Combine the desired portion of each ingredient for serving.
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Tahini Pasta with Brussels & Tempeh Bacon
- 8 ounces dry pasta or 3 cups cooked quinoa (1 cup dry quinoa, cooked)
- ⅓ cup low sodium soy sauce or tamari
- ⅓ cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 ½ tablespoons maple syrup
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
- ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
- Pinch of chipotle powder
- 8 ounces tempeh sliced into 12 thin rectangles
- 12 ounces Brussels sprouts sliced thinly
- Drizzle of olive oil
- Salt and black pepper to taste
- 1 large yellow onion sliced into half circles
- Drizzle of coconut aminos optional
- ⅓ cup tahini
- 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 1 small garlic clove
- Marinate the tempeh: Mix the soy sauce, apple cider vinegar, maple syrup, garlic powder, cumin, smoked paprika, and chipotle powder in a medium bowl. Transfer the tempeh rectangles to a baking dish or reusable container. Add the marinade and coat the tempeh evenly in the marinade. Set aside for at least 20 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 425ºF.
- Cook the pasta according to the directions on the packet until al dente.
- Roast the Brussels: Toss the sliced Brussels in olive oil to coat. Season with salt. Roast for about 10 minutes, or until crispy. Set aside.
- Bake & cut the tempeh: Transfer the tempeh to a large baking sheet and place in a single layer. Bake for 10 minutes. Flip the tempeh over and bake for about 10 minutes more, or until crispy. Or air-fry the tempeh for about 7 minutes, or until crispy. Slice the tempeh into small squares.
- Cook the onion: Meanwhile, heat a drizzle of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook the onion for about 7 minutes, or until browned. Add the remaining marinade from the tempeh and cook for 3 minutes more. Add a drizzle of coconut aminos as desired.
- Make the dressing: Add the tahini, lemon juice, and maple syrup to a medium bowl. Grate the garlic into the bowl using a microplane or fine grater. Add about 5 tablespoons water, or until the desired consistency.
- Combine: In a large bowl, mix the pasta, tempeh bacon, Brussels sprouts, and caramelized onion. Serve and drizzle with the desired amount of tahini dressing.
- If using quinoa, cook 1 cup dry quinoa in 2 cups water for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and steam with the lid on for 5 minutes more. Use a fork to fluff the quinoa.
- For the best tasting tempeh bacon, boil the block of tempeh for 4 minutes before using. It opens the pores of the tempeh, so it can absorb even more of the marinade.
This information is provided as a courtesy and is an ESTIMATE only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased can change the nutritional information in any given recipe.