Sesame Yogurt Pasta Salad Recipe

An off-beat pasta salad made with stuffed pasta, seasonal vegetables, and a spice-forward, golden sesame yogurt sauce.

Sesame Yogurt Pasta Salad

Hi everyone, it's going to be a quick post today. I wanted to share this pasta salad with you. It's the sort of off-beat thing I'd argue is worth a minute or two of your time. It made a stand-up lunch - filling, plenty of vegetables, and so on. Also, the flavors in the turmeric-tinted sauce are brilliantly unexpected - garlic, tahini, yogurt, cumin, cayenne, and coriander. Sealing the deal? The fact that you can prep everything a day or two ahead of time, making it easy to throw the whole thing together on whatever timeline you fancy. This quirky combination of ingredients is one of the reasons I still love cooking and finding inspiration from other cooks - their cookbooks, websites, articles.

Sesame Yogurt Pasta Salad Recipe

In this case I have Peter Berley to thank. I pulled his book from the shelf and tweaked one of the pasta salads ever so slightly. In this version you toss stuffed pasta and a medley of in-season vegetables with the (previously mentioned) spiced sesame yogurt sauce. It's oh so perfect for summer. One of those all-in-one meals that work beautifully with all the brightly colored vegetables available this time of year. Serve it at room temperature, or just slightly chilled. Too cold, and textures change, pasta hardens, and the flavors shut down.

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Sesame Yogurt Pasta Salad

I used a ricotta-stuffed pasta here, but you can substitute if you like. Just try to stick with a pasta that will go along with the spices in the sauce. You can make the sauce a day or two ahead of time. You can cook the vegetables and pasta head of time as well. Just keep the pasta separate and toss with a bit of oil before storing in the refrigerator. Combine all the components just before serving. You can use raw tomatoes here, although I prefer roasted - like the ones in the back of Super Natural Every Day.

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 medium garlic clove, minced
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 cup / 120 ml warm water
1/2 cup / 120 ml tahini (sesame paste)
1/2 cup / 120 ml plain or Greek yogurt
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
fine grain sea salt

a big handful of broccoli florets
a big handful of cauliflower florets
a big handful of green beans, cut into 1 1/2-inch segments
1/2 pound / 8 oz / 225 g stuffed pasta (ravioli, etc)
a big handful/scoop of cherry tomatoes, raw or roasted
a small handful torn basil and/or cilantro

Get a big pot of water started - you are going to want to bring it to a boil.

While the water is heating, make the sauce. Heat the oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic, cumin, coriander, cayenne, and turmeric. Stir well, and saute for just 15-30 seconds, or until the spices are toasted and fragrant. Transfer this mixture to a medium mixing bowl and stir in the water, tahini, yogurt, lemon juice, and 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Taste and adjust to your liking - you most likely will need a bit more salt. Set aside.

Salt the pot of water generously, and boil the broccoli, cauliflower, and green beans. Boil just 30 seconds, and quickly fish out with a slotted spoon. Run the vegetables under cold water to stop cooking. Drain well and set aside in a large mixing bowl.

Return the water to a boil and add the pasta. Cook until al dente, then drain and run under cold water. Really try to shake off any extra water, then add to the vegetables. Add the tomatoes, and toss gently. You can toss with half of the sauce at this point, or serve the salad with dollops of the sauce on top - to be tossed at the table. It's prettier this way. Sprinkle with the basil/cilantro (and basil flowers if you have them) and serve. Serve the extra sauce on the side - any leftover makes a good dip later in the week.

Adapted from the Pasta Salad with Tangy Sesame-Yogurt Sauce in Peter Berley's The Modern Vegetarian Kitchen.

Prep time: 10 minutes - Cook time: 10 minutes

If you make this recipe, I'd love to see it - tag it #101cookbooks on Instagram!

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Oh my, the dressing sounds amazing! Tahini in dressings is just delicious. I've never tried it in combination with yoghurt before, so thanks for the idea. :)


Those are indeed some intriguing spice combinations. It looks delicious with that ravioli and creamy dressing. Someday I think I am going to do nothing but read cookbooks on my vacation!

Snippets of Thyme

this is SUCH a gorgeous dish!

Heather (Heather's Dish)

What a bold and beautiful pasta salad. Love the colours and flavours going on here and the make ahead element. Lovely!

Kelly at Inspired Edibles

Yum! The food styling is beautiful as always :)

Alissa @ Not Just Apples

Oh I've never seen anything like this - what a beautiful and delicious dish!

Simply Life

Hey, I just made this for the first time last week too after looking at it in Peter Berley's book for ages. I have to say it is a really great recipe! Slightly different and really easy and quick too. The quinoa salad from that book is also another favourite. For anyone that doesn't have that book - get it - you won't regret it!

adam and theresa

This sounds splendid! Love the combinations of flavours.

Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar

I love the sound of that sauce. I never thought of combining tahini and yoghurt. I'll have to try it soon!

Sharon Ní Chonchúir

I really like that kind of foods & i'm interested in how to cook like this kind of foods

Cathrine Thu

This looks like another hit! I love it when you post recipes that are super easy but well thought out. It does sound like a brilliant lunch recipe! Thanks!


I just recently made the switch to vegetarian and your site always gives me ideas for what my next meal will be. Recently orderes your books so i can cook more natural whole meals in my home! this looks good


Such an interesting combination of flavours and not one that I would have thought of working with pasta but this looks delicious!


That salad is beautiful! I love that you used ravioli--my favorite. The sauce sounds incredible.

J3nn (Jenn's Menu and Lifestyle Blog)

Looove the colors of this dish! That sauce looks tasty!


I'll try this with a Greek yogurt. The spices sound intoxicating with this salad! Thanks for sharing.


The pasta salad itself looks great, but I'm all about that sauce. I'm thinking it would be good as a dip for sweet potato fries...


Looks perfect. Always find inspiration for new flavor combinations and flavorful, simple pure dishes on your site. I think I'm going to make a batch to keep ahead-of-time tomorrow. Thanks!


Thank you. I am slowly making the transition to veg and looking for new recipes. This looks so great can't wait to try it!


Gorgeous! Absolutely gorgeous!!!!


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