Rich, creamy and packed with veggies, this sweet potato pasta is a favourite in our house. Today's recipe is served up with purple sprouting broccoli, spring greens and peas, but you can rework it for whatever is in season. With just a little bit of planning, it can be ready in just 20 minutes.
Estimated reading time: 6 minutes
Table of contents
This recipe came about as I'm trying to keep an eye on our daily nutritional intake since we went fully plant-based a few months back. I recently learned that tahini is a bit of a superhero in the protein and iron departments. Hence, I set about trying to incorporate this delicious, rich and creamy sauce into a whole bunch of recipes, and here we are, with a truly lip-smackingly good dish, that is designed to be good for you.
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I'm absolutely in love with this sweet potato pasta sauce and this dish. It's absolutely packed with flavour and brightness thanks to sumac and lemon. You can make the sauce ahead of time, or you can roast up some sweet potatoes a few days before and then you'll have a plant-based pasta dished ready in absolutely no time.
I'm a big fan of sweet potatoes. They are powerhouses of flavour, nutrition, vitamins and antioxidants. They're also at the heart of one of my most popular recipes, hello satay sweet potato curry.
As I mentioned up top, tahini is where this recipe started. I've recently finished reading "Vegan Savvy" by Azmina Govindji, and she mentions it as a powerful source of iron and protein, not to mention it's packed with antioxidants.
Tahini is a rich, creamy paste made from sesame seeds. It's a staple of Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cooking, and its uses are far wider and greater than chickpeas' pal in hummus. It's also pretty damn good for you. According to this Guardian article, it has more protein than milk and is a rich source of B vitamins that boost energy and your brain to function. So all aboard, hop on the tahini train.
Alongside the sweet potatoes and tahini in the sauce is lemon, sumac, and garlic. These come together to form a bright, citrusy, yet balanced sauce when seasoned well with salt and pepper.
We're in the midst of purple sprouting broccoli season here in the UK, so it only felt right to have this beautiful member of the brassica family as a co-star to this gorgeous pasta dish. Any time you get those smaller broccolis or broccolini as I've seen them called in the US, it just makes me feel right posh. Roast the broccoli in the oven at 200 degrees for 15 - 20 minutes, so it retains its crunch and brings some texture to the dish.
Top sprouting broccoli tip: finely slice the stalks, and saute them with the onion and garlic whilst the florets roast in the oven.
I'm a recent convert to wholegrain pasta. That book has a lot to answer for. Whole-grain pasta tends to be higher in fiber, selenium and copper, which are all super important in a balanced diet.
Added nutrition, and greenery, comes from peas and spring greens— whilst cumin seeds, garlic and half an onion complete the flavour punch in this delicious dish.
An Extra Nutritional Boost
If you're in the market for adding a crunch to your finished tahini pasta dish, scatter over some sunflower seeds and some pumpkin seeds. Not only do they add some bite, but they ramp up the nutritional goodness from your meal too.
Sunflower seeds are high in healthy fats, which contribute to a healthy heart. They are also loaded with antioxidants and Vitamin E, so they'll help the immune system and healthier-looking skin. Check out this article to learn about 4 amazing health benefits of sunflower seeds.
Pumpkin Seeds are also super good for you! They're rich in magnesium, high in fibre and may even help improve the quality of your sleep - read more about the science-based health benefits of pumpkin seeds over at Healthline.
In the UK and looking for somewhere to purchase nuts, seeds and health foods? Check out Buy Wholefoods Online. It's where I get my Sunflower Seeds and Pumpkin Seeds, along with a whole bunch of other ingredients for my plant-based diet.
Disclaimer: I'm in no way a qualified nutritionist or dietician, though I am fascinated by the subject. I do my best only to post proven facts, not myths. Please do not take anything you read here as medical advice, and always seek help from a registered professional.
Meal Prep Tip
Roast a bunch of sweet potatoes at the weekend and shave 40 minutes off this dish. Roasted sweet potatoes will keep in the fridge for up to 5 days. Alternatively, you can make the sauce for this dish ahead of time and store it in the fridge for 3 days.
Storage + Reheating
You can 100% store the finished dish in the fridge for up to 3 days, and it'll be fine. In my opinion, there's something about reheated pasta that isn't quite the same, you know?
If you're planning on eating this recipe over several days, then I'd highly recommend storing the sauce and vegetables together and cooking the pasta fresh on the day you want to eat it.
There are a few changes you can make here, let's go through 'em.
If you don't have any tahini, you can make the sauce using reserved pasta water, tap water or even rapeseed or olive oil. You could even use a home made cashew cream or dairy-free, vegan yoghurt.
Switch out spring greens for kale, spinach or rocket for an easy like for like replacement. Purple sprouting broccoli not in season? No problem, use standard broccoli, asparagus, cauliflower, sugar snap peas or literally anything currently in season or abundance.
More Vegan Pasta Recipes
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Sweet Potato, Tahini & Brocolli Pasta
- 2 tbsp Rapeseed Oil
- 450 g Sweet Potatoes
- 5 tbsp Tahini
- Juice of a Lemon
- ½ tbsp Sumac
- 2 cloves of Garlic
- 280 g Wholegrain Pasta
- ½ large Onion finely chopped
- 200 g Broccoli
- 1 clove of Garlic finely chopped
- ½ tbsp Cumin Seeds
- 100 g Spring Greens or Kale, or Spinach
- 150 g Peas
- 1 tbsp Sunflower Seeds (optional)
- 1 tbsp Pumpkin Seeds (optional)
- Pre heat oven to 200°C (400°F).
- Toss sweet potatoes in a little rapeseed oil and salt, pop on a baking tray and roast whole for 30 - 45 minutes, until soft in the centre.
- Place a large saute pan over medium-low heat, with a glug of rapeseed (canola) oil. Add the finely chopped onion and cook for 8 - 10 minutes until soft and translucent.
- Get a large saucepan of well-salted water on to boil, and cook pasta as per packet instructions.
- To preapare your brocolli, cut off the florets and set aside. Finely chop the stalks and add them to the pan with the onion, along with the finely chopped garlic clove. Cook for 5 minutes until the stalks are tender.
- Next, add the cumin seed and spring greens (or kale) and cook for 2 - 3 minutes.
- Remove the Sweet Potatoes from the oven and allow to cool slightly. Once cool enough to handle, the skins should easily slip off. Finely chop the sweet potato skin and add to the pan with the sauteing vegetables.
- Add the sweet potato flesh, tahini, lemon juice, sumac and two cloves of garlic to a blender, and blitz until smooth. Add 5 - 7 tabelspoons of pasta water to thin the sauce, and then transfers to the pan with the vegetables.
- Pop the broccoli florets in the used sweet potato baking tray, toss in a dash of oil and season well. Roast for 10 minutes.
- Add peas to the sautee pan and simmer for 5 minutes.
- Before straining the pasta, add another 4 - 5 tablespoons of the pasta the water to the sauce to thin. Then drain the pasta and add to pan. Toss well to coat the pasta in the sauce.
- Transfer the pasta to serving bowls, top with roasted broccoli, sunflower and pumpkin seeds, and a sprinkling of parsley. Serve immidately.