Basil Tahini Pasta with Mushrooms & Burst Tomatoes

Created by Laura Wright
5 from 1 vote

Basil tahini pasta with burst tomatoes and mushrooms is a quick, healthy, vegan, and nut-free main course with only 10 ingredients. Flavourful, super hearty, and simple to prepare!

An overhead shot of a creamy basil tahini pasta with burst tomatoes and mushrooms. The pasta is in a large white bowl with a wooden serving spoon.
An overhead image of a basil tahini pasta with burst tomatoes and mushrooms in a blue speckled bowl.
Two images show basil plants and tomato plants in a garden.
An overhead image of ingredients for a pasta dish.
An overhead image of a food processor bowl with tahini and garlic inside. Basil in shown nearby in a measuring cup.

I usually want summer to go on forever, but I have to admit that I’m a little tired of the season at this point. I still love the heaps of tomatoes in my garden and sitting on our porch with a cold one at the end of the day (make mine a kombucha please), but our pace has been pretty much non-stop for the last 2 months. Summer has always been a busy time for us, but this year just feels like it’s on another level.

I had huge plans for these warm months–in work and life–don’t we all get like that after the May long weekend, what with the summer bucket lists and whatnot? I haven’t really tended to any of those plans in a dedicated way. I’ve found from experience that focusing on the guilt that binds itself to a lack of productivity is a waste of time. Though I hate to admit it, the guilt is still there just festering in the heat. I’m a goal-oriented person that likes to have end results after certain seasons in life. I tie my value to my outputs, and that kind of thinking is difficult to rewire.

The heat becomes concerning after a while too. With the way our climate is changing, I can’t remember the last summer with so many consecutive days of humidity and dryness. I get a weird sense of fear when I head outside at 6am and the temperature is already so high and the air is so thick. We’re lucky to have clear skies here though. The news of wildfires all over the world puts me into that weird place of sunken spirit, slight despair, and not knowing what to do. They seem bigger and more powerful every year.

And so, the season has flown by in a haze. After next week we get a bit of a break. Still very happy that I get to pop in here and on the ‘gram to just say hello.

Oh, and of course I also get to offer you this simple and GREAT dinner recipe! This pasta is a 10 ingredient wonder that takes advantage of all those tomatoes and basil that are everywhere right now. You make a simple and tangy basil tahini “cream” of sorts and fold that into pasta with meaty mushrooms and jammy/umami-loaded burst tomatoes. It’s flavourful, wholesome, simple, streamlined, and SO seasonal. All the things we love over here, right? Hope that you enjoy it and that your summer is winding down beautifully :)

A head-on shot of a food processor bowl on the base with tahini and a bunch of basil leaves within.
Two images show a light green cream sauce in a food processor.
Image shows a bunch of sliced core mini mushrooms on a wooden cutting board with a chef knife to the side.
Image shows grape tomatoes being cooked in a white sauté pan with a wooden spoon sticking out of the pan.
Image shows a light green cream being added to cooked lentil pasta.
An overhead shot of a creamy basil tahini pasta with burst tomatoes and mushrooms. The pasta is in a large white bowl with a wooden serving spoon.

Basil Tahini Pasta with Mushrooms & Burst Tomatoes

Basil tahini pasta with burst tomatoes and mushrooms is a quick, healthy, vegan, and nut-free main course. Flavourful and simple to prepare!
5 from 1 vote
BASIL TAHINI PASTA WITH BURST TOMATOES & MUSHROOMS - The First Mess
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes
Servings 4 -6

Ingredients

Basil Tahini

  • ½ cup tahini
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 cup basil leaves, packed (plus extra for garnish)
  • sea salt and ground black pepper, to taste
  • ½ cup cold water, plus extra if necessary

Pasta

  • ¾ lb (340 grams) shaped pasta of choice (penne and rotini are great)
  • 4 teaspoons olive oil, divided
  • 2 cups cherry/grape tomatoes
  • ¾ lb (340) grams cremini mushrooms, sliced
  • red pepper flakes, to taste

Notes

  • I personally love red lentil-based pasta right now for that extra hit of protein. It has a nice bit of chew once cooked as well. It tastes a little lentil-y, but I enjoy it.
  • The pasta is nice and green as soon as it’s freshly tossed and hot. It then lightly fades over to the beige-ish-green side. Extra basil for garnishing is key! Just preparing you! ;)
  • This pasta could handle a lot of chopped greens if you’re into that. Just throw them in at the end of the mushroom cooking process and wilt with the pasta and basil tahini.

Instructions

  • Make the basil tahini: in a food processor, combine the tahini, olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, basil, salt and pepper. Pulse the machine until the basil is finely chopped and incorporated. With the motor running, drizzle the cold water into the feed tube until you have a creamy but still loose consistency, similar to table cream. Add more water if necessary and check the basil tahini for seasoning. Adjust and set aside.
  • Cook the pasta according to package directions. Reserve 1 cup of the salted and starchy cooking water. Drain the pasta and set aside.
  • Heat 2 teaspoons of the olive oil a large, deep skillet (or braiser) over medium heat. Add the tomatoes to the skillet and stir. Keep stirring the tomatoes until they are lightly browned, glistening, and starting to burst. You will have to use the back of your spoon to get this process going. I find this takes a good 8-10 minutes total. Scrape the burst tomatoes out into a bowl and give the skillet a good wipe
  • Return the skillet to the heat with the remaining olive oil. Add the mushrooms to the skillet and let them sit for a full 2 minutes. Then, stir the mushrooms and season them with pepper. Let them sit another full minute. Then start stirring them again. They should be lightly browned and glistening. Season the mushrooms with salt. Continue letting them cook until evenly browned, soft, and glistening.
  • Add the pasta to the skillet along with the basil tahini. Stir everything up until evenly combined and warmed through. Season the pasta with salt and pepper and stir. If the pasta seems a little dry, add some of the reserved pasta water until you reach your desired consistency. Transfer the pasta to your serving vessel and scatter the burst tomatoes on top along with the extra basil and red pepper flakes. Serve and enjoy immediately.

15/08/2018 (Last Updated 31/10/2022)
Posted in: autumn, creamy, earthy, gluten free option, main course, mushrooms, nut free, pasta, quick, refined sugar-free, salty, side dish, sour, summer, tahini, tomatoes, umami, vegan

26 comments

Recipe Rating




  • Cindy BB

    Made this last night having not made it since last summer. I forgot how much I loved this sauce. A bit of spring when it is cold out in Ontario. Truly delicious! I use chickpea pasta which has a nice bite. The remaining sauce I will either freeze or use as a dip for veggies etc.

  • Amy

    Do you think this could work with cilantro and/or Kale instead of basil?

    • Laura

      I think kale or any chopped greens that you like would be wonderful!
      -L

  • Jennifer

    This was such a wonderful recipe. So tasty. The tahini and lemon really made the sauce which was the highlight of an amazing dish. Thank you so much for the truly remarkable dish that will go into regular rotation and, of course, the breathtaking photography. Just fantastic! Thank you for sharing your talents and skills.

  • Trish

    Hi, wld I be able to freeze the sauce?

    • Laura

      Hi Trish,
      I haven’t tried freezing the sauce, but I don’t think it would work out. The freshness of the basil would turn and I think you might get some separation/texture issues with the tahini upon thawing.
      -L

  • Lydia

    No matter what kind of recipe you publish – I am craving EVERYTHING you come up with. That is what proper healthy and delicious food should look like – always! Also, the way you appreciate all the ingredients while arranging everything so beautifully is pure bliss. I love what you do and I am looking forward to being constantly inspired by your ideas in the future. Wishing you all the best! XX

  • Alison crawford

    Gorgeous and creamy, easy to make and I used with Gluten free pasta. Really delicious. You could add bacon or walnuts for a alternatie version. Change up the mushroom for different flavours

  • Tiffany

    You sound like how I’m feeling tonight, but for different reasons. This has been in many ways the summer of my discontent though I keep telling myself to focus on the good things each day.

    I made this for dinner tonight and it hit the spot. I felt nourished in body and I thank you for that. One more item to put on my gratitude list.

    Stay cool out there and here’s to the fall ahead, and more importantly, the new day tomorrow.

  • Emily

    Wow, this was fantastic! Great way to use tahini. I think this will become one of my go-to recipes :)

  • Anon

    i’m not a big fan of mushrooms, can you think of a sub? would zucchini work well in this sauce?

    • Laura

      Zucchini would be fine!
      -L

  • Lacey

    Yep. I am in the NW and the smoke from the wildfires and record breaking heat this summer has me totally scared and so sad. And I have been ridiculously busy with vacay and now LIFE (I am moving to a new town and buying a house for the first time, soooo, a little stressful). Trying to just slow down and breathe.

  • Sarah Rose Moroney

    “I tie my value to my outputs, and that kind of thinking is difficult to rewire.”
    I totally hear you!
    I just read this article yesterday about to-do lists, I thought I’d give it a try…
    https://www.becomingminimalist.com/to-do/

    …the pasta looks lovely…

  • charlotte

    this looks beyond delicious. can’t wait to try it!
    i’m just wondering how you get stuff from thrive market sent to canada? every time i try and sign up, they still don’t offer shipping here??

    • Laura

      Thanks Charlotte! My situation is a little different as I live close to a US border and my partner has a post office box on the other side. Hopefully they extend their service soon!
      -L

  • The Modern Proper

    The heat and the fires have me wishing for cooler weather as well. It is pretty smokey where we are and it’s hard to be outside too long. I look forward to rain and to soups :)

  • Tiana Miller-Leonard

    I so relate to the experience of dreaming up big seasonal plans and then feeling anxious and guilty when my productivity doesn’t match up to my vision. So easy to tell your friends not to stress, to take it easy on themselves, but so hard to truly internalize that for yourself.

    Looking forward to trying this recipe soon!

  • Milly

    Looks delish and simple! May I ask what tahini product or brand you preferably used in your recipes? Thanks.

    • Laura

      Thanks so much! I love all of these brands for tahini: Soom Foods, Seed + Mill, Shirley Bar Living, and Thrive Market’s house branded one.
      -L

  • Cassie Thuvan Tran

    I want that red lentil pasta. It looks delicious! What I’m over about summer the most is the constant heat wave! I LOVE it when it’s in the high 60s-low 80s (in Fahrenheit, that is). I’m just not excited about feeling so stressed out with school! It’s going to be INSANE this year!

  • Erica

    I love your posts, this summer has flown by! Can’t wait to make this pasta.

  • EmilyW

    I made this tonight- amazing! Seriously delicious. Will definitely be making this again – we have a ton of beautiful basil growing away on the patio! ❤️

  • Natalie Pupo

    Ohhhh how I love this delicious twist on a summer pasta! That sauce sounds incredible! Making this recipe for the fam this weekend! Thanks Lau! Ps your photos are not even human, you’ll always be my inspiration and mentor xoxo love you

    Natalie

  • Emily

    I am right there with you with summer thoughts and reflections. The business of this season has gotten me all out of sorts! Thankfully fall will soon be in the air which means a slowed down pace and comfy cozy clothes!

    Thank you for this wonderful post. Reminds me I’m not alone in the craziness of life!

  • Jill Robertson

    On my list for when summer arrives in this hemisphere; our days are lengthening and warming.
    An interesting combination I never would have thought of and can’t get a mental taste of. So a real taste will be needed.