Quinoa Pasta with Creamy Garlic Sauce & Toasted Hazelnuts

Oh dear, is anyone else stressing out about the holidays like I am? Even though I have almost all of Christmas shopping done, I feel like there’s always more to do! Such as, coming up with what to eat for Christmas dinner; maybe I’ll say, “Screw it!” and make a pizza. 😉 For some reason I’m not feeling totally inspired food-wise, and it could be that I just have a lot on my plate right now. (HA!) Or, maybe I’ll just make this quinoa pasta dish again.

Ingredients for Creamy Garlic Sauce

I experimented a bit with a base recipe for this a couple of weeks ago, mostly because I wasn’t entirely sure how good a tofu-based sauce would work. After feeding it to my non-vegan cousin, it was clear that this recipe was a hit. What’s great about this dish is that it can be eaten as an entrée or served as a side at a holiday dinner. Plus, there’s no added oil and it’s gluten-free! Sounds pretty solid to me.

Roasting Hazelnuts

If you would like to make this recipe even healthier, serve the creamy garlic sauce over baked spaghetti squash, which is a favorite of mine. Don’t like spinach? Use bite-size kale pieces instead. Also, one tip for reheating leftovers, add a little vegetable broth or non-dairy milk to get the sauce creamy again.

Making Creamy Garlic Sauce

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Quinoa Pasta with Creamy Garlic Sauce & Toasted Hazelnuts

From Vegan Yack Attack | Main Dishes | American

A creamy, low-fat garlic sauce over quinoa pasta, dotted with toasted hazelnuts.


cal Calories 399kcal

High fat Total Fat 18g

Low sat-fat Saturated Fat 2g

chol Free Cholesterol 0mg

sodium Sodium 257mg

carbs Total Carbohydrate 45g

Serving size 239g Calories from fat 162kcal Fiber 6g Protein 19g Sugar 2g
4 servings


  • 1/2 C. Raw Hazelnuts
  • 8 oz. Dried Quinoa Pasta Noodles
  • 14 oz. Soft or Silken Tofu
  • 1 C. Vegetable broth
  • 3 4 Cloves Garlic, Peeled
  • 1 Tbsp. Liquid Aminos
  • 1 tsp. onion Powder
  • 1/4 tsp. White pepper
  • Pinch of Ground Nutmeg
  • Salt to taste (if needed)
  • 2 Firmly Packed Cups of Fresh Baby spinach


  1. Preheat your oven to 350ºF. Place the hazelnuts onto a baking sheet, and once your oven is to temperature, roast them for 10-15 minutes or until they are darker brown on the outside.
  2. Prepare your noodles as said on the package, mine involved boiling them for 6-9 minutes; then drain and set aside in a large pot.
  3. Take your tofu out of the package and rinse it, but do not press the liquid out of it. Break it apart into a food processor or blender.
  4. Add the vegetable broth, garlic, liquid aminos, onion powder, white pepper and ground nutmeg to the tofu. Puree the mixture until completely smooth.
  5. Pour the sauce into a large pan and heat to a simmer. Stir in the spinach until it has wilted.
  6. When the hazelnuts are done roasting, let them cool for 10 minutes, then rub them between your palms (or in a clean towel) to remove a majority of the skins.
  7. Chop the hazelnuts and add half of them to the garlic sauce, save the other half for garnish.
  8. Simmer the sauce for 5 more minutes, then pour over the pasta noodles and stir together until it is evenly distributed. Serve warm.


  • As said above, use spaghetti squash instead of pasta to lower the calorie count.

Creamy Garlic Sauce over Quinoa Pasta

This pasta dish is high in protein, very filling, and is warm and comforting without being junk food. I highly recommend it for a weeknight dinner because it really doesn’t take much time to make it, although once others ate it, you may have a hard time convincing them otherwise. 😀

Garlic Sauce over Quinoa Pasta with Toasted Hazelnuts

The month of December is going to be filled with delightful nut recipes, and I really can’t wait. Please join in on the #nutlove fun by linking up any nut recipe from the month of December 2012. Don’t forget to link back to this post, so that your readers know to come stop by the #nutlove event! The twitter hashtag is #nutlove :) .

Badger Girl Learns to Cook ~ Kimberly
Cheap Ethnic Eatz ~ Evelyne
No One Likes Crumbley Cookies ~ T.R.
Rico sin Azúcar ~ Helena
Teaspoon of Spice ~ Serena
The Girl in the Little Red Kitchen ~ Susan Palmer
The Spicy RD ~ EA Stewart
Vegan Yack Attack ~ Jackie S.

Creamy Garlic Sauce over Quinoa Pasta


26 Comments on “Quinoa Pasta with Creamy Garlic Sauce & Toasted Hazelnuts

  1. Ooooo. Hazelnuts in a creamy garlic sauce? That sounds divine. I never thought to use hazelnuts in place of the usual cashews. Thank you for the recipe.

    • No problem!! There’s nothing more annoying than having to copy and paste recipes so that you don’t have to print the whole blog out. 🙂

  2. I too love the hazelnuts idea. I would most likely toast them in the toaster oven or on top of the stove instead of heating up the oven for just 1/2 cup of nuts.

    • Thanks a great suggestion, Norma! I’m going to add that to the recipe notes. 🙂

  3. I’ve infused tofu into sauce before and honestly no one’s ever been able to tell the difference! What a great meal!

  4. I tend to be pretty leery of tofu-based pasta sauces due to a few bad past experiments, but yours looks flat-out luscious. Yum! You’ve definitely gotten me curious about trying quinoa pasta, too.

    • This was my first time using quinoa pasta, and I really liked it! The texture is much like any other noodle, but I would say that the pasta combined with the tofu sauce left me far more satisfied than the usual spaghetti dish!

    • It’s funny that you say that, James! I was going to add that as an optional/suggested ingredient! So, if you make this, I would definitely add it in there. 🙂

  5. We had to cancel our Christmas travel plans (due to a very sick cat!) and I kind of decided to not even attempt a big dinner. We’re just eating a normal meal. I’d totally be on board with something like this–it looks delicious! 😀

    • Your poor cat! I hope that it gets well soon. Sometimes taking it easy and spending time hanging out (instead of all day in the kitchen) is just what we need.

  6. This was excellent! I did have to use firm tofu, as it was all I had on hand, and we just got a foot of snow! So I stayed in and cooked today. I had a spaghetti squash, and it was a nice, warm winter meal. Love your blog, great recipes!

    • Terrific! I’m so glad that you enjoyed it. Hopefully, you won’t be snowed in for too long!

    • I really love them in this recipe, although they are a tad expensive (aren’t nuts always?) but, they’re perfect for the right occasion. 🙂

  7. Love this recipe! It’s great to have a vegan friendly pasta dish that isn’t just carb loaded; a protein rich sauce is the perfect delicious balance!

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