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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Hi Heidi (or Merhaba, as we say in Turkish), I was delighted to see the use of tahini, yoghurt, cumin in your recipe, I can't wait to try. Turkish cuisine also makes use of these ingredients a lot, as well as lots of grains and olive oil, it is a vegetarian food heaven. I am on a culinary journey in Turkey, with fascinating sites and food to explore - I document them all at my blg I hope mine inspires you as yours constantly inspire me:) Afiyet Olsun (means in Turkish, "May you be happy and healthy with the food you eat".

Ozlem Warren

I love this combination. I'll be making the sauce and cooking pasta on Thursday evening to toss in the ice chest that is going with me to the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest for a weekend of car camping and full moon photography. It will be something to look forward to while my toes freeze at 10,000 feet. Thanks a million for the great inspiration - today and always!


Perfect stay-at-home lunch recipe, Heidi. I've been doing a simple pasta salad myself lately with tomatoes, basil, crumbled feta, and a simple dressing of lemon and olive oil. But this one's up next on my list. Thank you.

Megan Gordon

I made this tonight for my houseguest and myself, and it was fantastic!!!! I used fresh cherry tomatoes and added some mushrooms. I also added more cayenne, just for a bit of a kick. This is definitely right up there with the Harissa Ravioli from your cookbook, which is my absolute favorite dish. Thanks!


This looks delicious! I would never think to combine the flavours in the sauce with ravioli, so I'm definitely going to try this soon! I just bough super natural every day - it's such a beautiful book , and I can't wait to try some of the dishes. I love the photography and styling - especially the bright yellow pages at the beginning of each section.


I love your offbeat dishes. And I love that actual serving dish, too. It's gorgeous.



A Teenage Gourmet

This looks amazing! Though I have to admit, I've never considered putting tahini in pasta before. But somehow it does sound delicious.

Maria @ Orchard Bloom

Looks lovely, I think I'll have to make this salad tomorrow! The colors are brilliant!


veggies + anything tehini = success in my book :) What a beautiful dish - perfect and cooling for the summer.

Nirvana@ Nourished Living

This is absolutely stunning! I love pasta salad recipes, but they tend to be heavy and too full of fat for me...


I am so into the yogurt idea, and tahini always gets my attention... lovely!

Rocky Mountain Woman

This pasta salad is delicious and beautiful. Thanks Heidi :)

stephanie villasenor

I was so excited about this recipe that I whipped it up for lunch today. The sauce is truly outstanding-- the spices meld together beautifully. I love that it has tahini, but is lighter than most tahini sauces that I've tried. I scooped up some of the remaining sauce with toasted lavash. Thanks for another winning recipe!


The sauce on this is gorgeous! What a beautiful color. Lots of flavor here!!!

The Elegant Eggplant

I agree. It's so fun to find interesting, quirky ideas like this that also look simple and delicious. Thanks so much for passing it along! I've gotta try it this week!

Eva / Sycamore Street Press

Thank you honey. I just ha[[ened to have all these spices on hand. My hubby won't eat the broccoli or cauliflower, but I know he will like it with the green beans and maybe some cooked baby peas. Sounds good to me. Mediterranean??


Wow! This looks delicious. I have friends coming to stay this weekend so this may just feature on the menu!

emma. our kitchen

Wow! This looks delicious. I have friends coming to stay this weekend so this may just feature on the menu!

emma. our kitchen

Yum. Enough said. Love it!

Amie Valpone

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