Spicy Tofu Pasta – Connoisseurus Veg

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This tofu pasta is the ultimate vegan weeknight dinner! Made with rotini pasta, crumbled tofu, and olives in spicy tomato basil sauce, it’s packed with protein and full of flavor.

Close up of Spicy Tofu Pasta in a skillet.

Did you hate tofu the first time you tried it? I sure did! And for about the next dozen times I tried it after that. I think a lot of us can relate to the experience of not knowing how to prepare tofu and therefore having it turn out awful.

Tofu pasta was the first tofu dish I had that didn’t suck. It wasn’t this particular version of the dish, but someone suggested that I crumble some tofu up, brown it and add it to pasta sauce. And you know, it wasn’t half bad! The tofu added a nice texture to the sauce, and it was good to know that I was getting a little protein with my pasta dinner.

I’ve learned a lot about how to cook tofu since then. (And if you’re still learning about tofu yourself, I highly encourage you to visit my super comprehensive guide to tofu.) I’m happy to report that this version wasn’t just “not bad.” It was phenomenal!

This tofu pasta is an awesome vegan dinner to whip up whether you’re a tofu noob or an old pro like myself!

Jump to:

Ingredients You’ll Need

  • Rotini pasta. Feel free to substitute any variety of dried pasta. Most dried pastas are vegan, but check the ingredients to be safe! You can use gluten-free pasta if needed. And to raise the protein content of the dish even higher than it already is, try using bean pasta, such as chickpea, black bean, or red lentil pasta (my favorite).
  • Olive oil. You can use another high-heat oil, but olive will give your sauce the best flavor.
  • Onion.
  • Garlic.
  • Tofu. Extra-firm tofu works best for this recipe, but firm or super-firm will do in a pinch.
  • Spices. We’re using dried oregano, fennel seeds, and red pepper flakes.
  • Tomato sauce.
  • Canned diced tomatoes.
  • Balsamic vinegar. Use good quality balsamic vinegar for the best flavor. Look for varieties that are thick and syrupy with a bit of sweetness to them.
  • Green olives. You can substitute black olives if you’d like (Kalamata would work well), or leave them out if olives aren’t your thing.
  • Fresh basil.
  • Salt & pepper.

How It’s Made

The following is a detailed photo tutorial on how to make this dish. Scroll all the way down if you’d like to skip right to the recipe!

  • Start by boiling your pasta according to the package directions. Drain it into a colander when it’s done.
  • Heat the olive oil in a large skillet, then add diced onion. Sweat the onion until it begins to soften up, which should take about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook it with the onion for a minute or so. Keep stirring your garlic and onion the entire time to prevent burning.
Onions and garlic cooking in olive oil in a skillet.
  • Crumble your tofu into the skillet. There’s no need to press it for this recipe! Just drain it and add it directly to the onion and garlic.
  • Cook the tofu with the onion and garlic for a few minutes, until it starts to dry up. You can use a spoon or spatula to break up any big chunks while it cooks.
Crumbled tofu cooking in a skillet.
  • Stir in your spices, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, and balsamic vinegar. Bring the sauce to a simmer and let it cook until it’s nice and thick, stirring all the while.
Tofu and tomato sauce simmering in a skillet.
  • Add your cooked pasta, green olives, and fresh basil to the skillet and cook everything briefly, just to heat the pasta back up.
Olives and basil being stirred into a skillet of Spicy Tofu Pasta.
  • Take the skillet off of the burner and season your tofu pasta with some salt and pepper.

Tip: Wait until your dish is finished and everything is added before salting it. The green olives add to the saltiness of this recipe, so it’s easy to overdo it if you add salt before they’re in!

Skillet of Spicy Tofu Pasta with wooden spoon.
Plate of Spicy Tofu Pasta with fork and spoon.

Leftovers & Storage

Leftover pasta with tofu will keep in a sealed container in the refrigerator for about 3 days.

More Vegan Pasta Recipes

Like this recipe? If so, please stop back and leave me a review and rating below if you try it! Also be sure to follow me on Facebook, Pinterest or Instagram, or subscribe to my newsletter for more recipes like this one!

Plate of Spicy Tofu Pasta with fork and spoon.

Spicy Tofu Pasta

This tofu pasta is the ultimate vegan weeknight dinner! Made with rotini pasta, crumbled tofu, and olives in spicy tomato basil sauce, it’s packed with protein and full of flavor.


  • 8
    dried rotini pasta
  • 2
    olive oil
  • 1
    medium onion,
  • 3
    garlic cloves,
  • 1
    (14 ounce or 400 gram) package
    extra-firm tofu,
  • 1
    dried oregano
  • ½
    fennel seeds
  • ½
    red pepper flakes
    (or to taste)
  • 2 ¾
    canned tomato sauce
    (Note 1)
  • 1
    (14 ounce or 400 gram) can
    diced tomatoes
  • 1
    balsamic vinegar
  • ½
    green olives
    (Note 2) (halved if they’re large)
  • ½
    chopped fresh basil
  • Salt & pepper,
    to taste
  • Vegan Parmesan cheese,
    for serving


  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add the pasta.

  2. Cook the pasta according to the package directions, until al dente, then drain it into a colander.

  3. While the pasta cooks, coat the bottom of a large skillet with the oil and place it over medium heat.

  4. When the oil is hot, add the onion. Sweat the onion for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until it becomes soft and translucent.

  5. Stir in the garlic and cook it with the onion until very fragrant, about 1 minute.

  6. Crumble the tofu into the skillet and cook it with the onion and garlic, stirring frequently, until it dries up a bit, about 5 minutes.

  7. Stir in the oregano, fennel, red pepper flakes, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, and balsamic vinegar.

  8. Bring the mixture to a simmer, lower the heat a bit, and let it cook for about 10 minutes, until the sauce thickens up a bit, stirring occasionally.

  9. Stir in the pasta, olives and basil. Cook everything a minute more, just long enough to reheat the pasta.

  10. Remove the skillet from heat and season with salt and pepper to taste.

  11. Divide onto plates, top with vegan Parmesan cheese, and serve.

Recipe Notes

  1. One 14-ouce can and one 8-once can will give you exactly the right amount.
  2. I used pimento-stuffed olives, but this isn’t necessary.

Nutrition Facts

Spicy Tofu Pasta

Amount Per Serving (2 cups)

Calories 431
Calories from Fat 128

% Daily Value*

Fat 14.2g22%

Saturated Fat 2.3g12%

Sodium 1106mg46%

Potassium 1095mg31%

Carbohydrates 61.3g20%

Fiber 7.8g31%

Sugar 12.6g14%

Protein 19.3g39%

Calcium 288mg29%

Iron 7mg39%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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