Tahini Zucchini Noodles

Light zucchini noodles are coated in creamy vegan tahini sauce & tossed with kale, baked tofu & crunchy pine nuts. A healthy, gluten-free weeknight dinner.

Let’s just call this a seasonal transitional dish. It’s like wearing shorts with a chunky sweater because you’re not quite sure if you are warm or cold, and most days you’re a little bit of both. This tahini sauce is rich and creamy… while the cold zucchini noodles are on the lighter side.

I got the idea from this pin that caught my eye… which led me to the blog Earthsprout, a beautiful raw food blog with some amazing recipes.

To be honest, I wasn’t sure Jack was going to be into this one. Don’t get me wrong, he’s not a finicky eater, and he loves the food I cook… I just thought maybe I had gone over the top this time. This is a lot of veggies for one bowl, after all (there’s kale in here too)… but he really loved it.

If you don’t have a vegetable spiralizer or a julienne peeler (or zucchinis for that matter), feel free to sub in rice noodles or whatever kind of pasta you like.

I had a bit of leftover sauce which was especially delicious on the avocado sandwiches that I ate for lunch the rest of the week.

5.0 from 2 reviews

Tahini Zucchini Noodles

Serves: 2
  • 2 cups kale, chopped
  • 2 medium zucchinis, spiralized or julienned*
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
  • Lemon, for squeezing
  • Sea salt and fresh black pepper
  • 1 cup cubed tofu (optional)
For the tahini sauce: (this makes extra)
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 5 tablespoons tahini
  • 1-2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • ½ garlic clove, minced
  • 4 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 2 teaspoons maple syrup or honey
  • 3 teaspoons soy sauce or gluten free tamari
  • ½ teaspoon dried turmeric
  • ¼ – ½ cup water, start with less, gradually add more
  • Sea salt and fresh black pepper
For garnish:
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh basil
  • ¼ cup toasted pine nuts
  • Pinches red chili flakes
  • ¼ cup micro arugula sprouts (optional)
  1. If using the tofu, preheat the oven to 400. Spread the tofu on a lined baking sheet and toss with a drizzle of olive oil, salt, and fresh black pepper. Bake for 20-25 minutes.
  2. Heat a drizzle of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat and add the kale, salt, pepper, and a squeeze of lemon. Cook for a few minutes, until the kale is wilted. Set aside.
  3. Make the sauce: In a blender, combine the olive oil, tahini, lemon juice, garlic, nutritional yeast, maple syrup, soy sauce, turmeric, and salt and pepper. Blend until smooth, stirring in water as needed to reach your desired consistency. Taste and adjust seasonings, keeping in mind that (especially if you’re using zucchini noodles) the flavors will dilute. I found the best way to taste accurately was to dip a few noodles in the sauce.
  4. Toss the zucchini, kale, and baked tofu with the sauce, using more or less depending on how well-coated you like your veggies. Top with the basil, pine nuts, chili flakes, and microgreens, if using. Serve at room temperature.
*You could also use any kind of noodles you wish: rice noodles, regular pasta, etc. I served this at room temperature because the zucchini noodles are best raw. You could just as easily serve this warm if you use rice or pasta noodles.

adapted from this recipe by Earthsprout



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  1. Lauren from lifeatthecircle.wordpress.com

    Do you know if the noodles can be parboiled before adding the sauce – or will it make them too smushy?

    • jeanine

      It makes them smushy… definitely use them raw, when they’re so thin they really have a nice al dente bite (without tasting to raw).

  2. Diane Kratz

    Wondering about the julienne peeler or vegetable spiraler? Never heard of these and I would like to not to have to use regular pasta just because I can’t figure it out, as husband is in his ‘more veggies, less carbs’ mode these days.

  3. Liz

    Made this tonight. It was delicious. We devoured it all – hopefully I remember to double the recipe next time.

  4. You are THE SWEETEST <3

    I got so incredibly happy when I saw this! Could almost not believe my eyes <3
    Love your Love and Lemons so much, honeypie!

    Have a gorgeous day and thanks for spreading the zucchini pasta magic!

  5. Cass

    Hi, could I use dry yeast instead of nutritional yeast? I’m having trouble finding it. Thanks.

    • jeanine

      Hi Cass,

      no, they’re entirely different… nutritional yeast is something you can sprinkle on foods (vegans use it in place of parmesan cheese sometimes), and dry yeast is for leavening. Here’s an article that better explains the difference: http://www.livestrong.com/article/537679-nutritional-yeast-vs-active-dry/

      I find it in the bulk section at my Whole Foods, but it should be in the bulk bin section of any health food store. It’s yellow and flaky.

      Hope that helps!

  6. Dana from celiackiddo.wordpress.com

    Made it tonight with rice noodles and it’s delicious! My picky husbsnd and kid refused but more for me 🙂 Thanks again.

  7. angela

    hello there!
    i was wondering if you think using hummus would be an okay tahini substitute?

    • jeanine

      I think that might actually be kind of strange… the tahini is a really distinct element in this, and it’s so rich which really makes the sauce. Or at least, it wouldn’t be an equal swap because the textures and amount of fat in each are so different.

  8. Kasey from turntablekitchen.com

    I love seasonal transitional dishes! And now I’m seriously craving a zucchini-tahini combo.

  9. I just love this. I have made zucchini pasta many a time, but I think that I’ve just been stuck on olive oil and tomatoes. Tahini is genius. Yum!

  10. I haven’t tried zucchini pasta yet, I’ve read about it on raw food diets but wasn’t too sure. Looks beautiful on your pics though!

  11. Dana from celiackiddo.wordpress.com

    I love this recipe, so healthy and a bit hearty, perfect for the onset of fall. I will probably sub in rice noodles but maybe some day I’ll try zucchini when I have a fast way to julienne them. Thanks for the versatile recipe!

  12. Christina from delacasa.wordpress.com

    You have an abundance of baby arugula in your photos! Do you grow it? I have a wee tray of it growing by the window – look forward to garnishing with it like you have. The tahini sauce sounds wonderful and creamy, very umami I imagine.

    • jeanine

      no, I wish I could say I did, but I’m really horrible at growing things. I just love the micro sprouts because they make everything look pretty 🙂

  13. Laura @ Chaotic Domestic

    Looks delicious. Love the analogy of chunky sweater and shorts!

  14. I always get so much zucchini & summer squash in my CSA, I’m excited to try this next time I get another batch of them. This looks delicious!

  15. This dish is SO beautiful! I became obsessed with zucchini “noodles” this summer and like you I honestly didn’t think there was any way hubby would be into it. Surprisingly he was, he really enjoyed it.
    I love the idea of a tahini based sauce, I usually use tahini just in hummus and dressings, but I need to get over that and play with it more. This looks amazing.

  16. Cassie from lovelanguageoffood.com

    I have always wanted to experiment with zucchini “noodles.” I am excited to try this recipe! Looks delicious! I have one question though. I have sunflower seed butter in my pantry right now, do you think I could substitue that for the tahini?

    • jeanine

      Hi Cassie,

      yes, I think sunflower seed butter would work, you might have to adjust a few things. I would just say, taste as you go and adjust the salt, sweetness, tartness (lemon) to your liking…

      • Cassie from lovelanguageoffood.com

        Thanks! I’ll give it a shot

  17. Yum, I’ve been really into tahini lately too, and I have this weird craving for tofu. Who the heck craves tofu?

A food blog with fresh, zesty recipes.
Photograph of Jeanine Donofrio and Jack Mathews in their kitchen

Hello, we're Jeanine and Jack.

We love to eat, travel, cook, and eat some more! We create & photograph vegetarian recipes from our home in Chicago, while our shiba pups eat the kale stems that fall on the kitchen floor.