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Creamy Spicy Miso Pasta

This creamy garlicky spicy miso pasta is amazingly flavorful and so easy to make. Just blend up the sauce and cook it while the pasta is cooking, and mix together, voila! Dairy-free and egg-free, it’s perfect for a quick satisfying weeknight dinner.

Top down view of black pan with spiral pasta and mushrooms in it.

Why you’ll love it:

  • It’s suitable for vegans, vegetarians and omnivores.
  • It’s highly customizable.
  • It takes just fifteen minutes (or less!) to make.
  • It has an easy blender sauce.
  • It’s incredibly rich, creamy and tasty with tons of umami flavor.

I was inspired to make this recipe when I saw Chrissy Teigen’s spicy miso carbonara pasta, but being vegetarian and allergic to eggs, obviously needed a different recipe. I already had a recipe for spicy vegan miso ramen, so I adapted it to make this tasty version.

If you love this recipe you should also check out these spicy vegetarian pasta recipes or my other spicy recipes like this luscious peri peri tofu, some spicy Indian tomato soup, or one of the newest recipes, spicy harissa potatoes.

Ingredients and substitutions

The ingredients for this recipe are fairly simple and few but some substitutions can still be made according to your dietary preferences (or based on what you have in the house!).

Take a look at the ingredients in the photo below to get an idea of whats’s needed and let’s talk about substitutions after it.

Ingredients including miso paste, tahini, soy sauce, onion, pepper, rice vinegar, garlic, Sriracha, sesame oil, mushrooms and pasta.

Miso: I think it goes without saying that you can’t make miso pasta without miso! I used red miso in this recipe as I really think the bold flavors go better, but you can use yellow or white if you prefer. Whichever one you use make sure you ue a quality paste and not miso soup mix.

Tahini: Tahini really thickens the sauce and gives it so much flavor, so I don’t really recommend substituting it. In theory, peanut butter could replace it but you’d need to be careful how much liquid you then add as it doesn’t thicken as much.

Soy sauce: Soy sauce is great in this recipe, but if you would prefer to make this recipe gluten-free, then swap for coconut aminos or a gluten-free soy sauce.

Onion: Pureeing onion into the sauce is the base for many an excellent Thai curry (or this vegetarian feijoada) so don’t omit it here unless you absolutely hate onion.

Pepper: I use ground white pepper which gives a really nice kick, but you can substitute with ground black pepper or omit if you don’t have any.

Rice vinegar: This balances the sauce well but can be substituted with white wine vinegar or omitted if you don’t have any to hand.

Garlic: There is lots of garlic in this sauce, I know, but go bold or go home! It adds a ton of flavor and is mellowed while simmering. If you’re not a huge fan of it or are sensitive to it, by all means, lower the amount used.

Sriracha: I love this sauce so much (so much I made a Sriracha pasta recipe!) and its chili garlic profile is great for this recipe. One tablespoon will give you mild, one and a half medium spicy, and two upwards hot hot hot!

If you can’t handle spice at all then omit or reduce. If you don’t have any sriracha to hand try substituting with between half a teaspoon of red pepper chili flakes to a teaspoon, depending on how spicy you like your food.

Sesame oil: Do make sure you use toasted sesame oil and don’t omit or substitute this ingredient.

Mushrooms: These are completely optional and I used a mixture. I like to top this pasta with nice crispy mushrooms but you can use any other vegetable you prefer or mix vegetables in instead of just topping the pasta. Peas, snow peas, bell peppers, onions, etc. all go really well with this recipe. Baby pinach is also a great addition, just pop it in the pot with the hot pasta when mixing with the sauce.

Pasta: I used some beautiful fusilli lunghi bucati for the photos but actually I recommend thinner long pasta. The fusilli lunghi was a little too thick. This dish is ideal with spaghetti or fettuccine, but you can use whichever type of dried pasta you prefer.

Close up of creamy sauced pasta.

How to make it

This is a really simple tasty fusion pasta dish, but I’ve included some process photos and some more detailed instructions below. These can be helpful to clear up any parts of the instructions you’re confused about, or simply to have a quick look at how you make the recipe before you actually start making it.

First, get all your ingredients together. and secondly, put the water on for the pasta. Normally I recommend heavily salting the pasta water but in this case, it’s not really needed as the sauce is salty. Continue with the recipe but pop your pasta into the saucepan as soon as the water is boiling and cook according to package instructions.

Peel the garlic and onion, and add to a food processor or high-powered blender along with the tahini, two tablespoons of the toasted sesame oil, Sriracha, rice vinegar, soy sauce, and pepper (image one below).

Four images showing ingredients in a blender, then pureed, then loosened with water, then in a pan.

Blitz until smooth (image two above). Add a cup of water and process again (image three above). It will look very pale and watery but don’t worry, it will thicken up!

Add to a small or medium saucepan (image four above) and heat on high until bubbling. Reduce heat to medium-high and maintain at a lively simmer for eight minutes. It will bubble up quite a bit, that’s fine, just ignore it.

If you’re going to make some mushrooms to go on top, it just takes a few minutes to do so when the sauce is reducing is a good time to do it. Just add the reserved half tablespoon of toasted sesame oil to a large skillet or wok and heat on high. Slice the mushrooms and add when the pan is hot (they should “sizzle” when they go in, image five below).

Let fry undisturbed for two minutes, then toss, reduce heat to medium-high and cook another two minutes. Depending on how thick your mushrooms are, cook another one to three minutes until done, then lightly season and take off the heat. This method will give you brown, not mushy, cooked mushrooms (image six below).

Four images showing cooking mushrooms, a pan of thickened brown sauce, and miso in water.

When your sauce is done after eight minutes and nicely thickened and dark (image seven above), take off the heat and put it to one side while you wait for your pasta to finish cooking.

Reserve a cup of pasta water and drain the pasta. Add the miso to a small bowl or cup with half the pasta water (image eight above) and whisk until well dissolved and there are no lumps left, then add to the sauce in the pan (image nine below).

If you haven’t washed the blender or processor you used, adding the miso and water to that and pulsing a few times is a great way to make sure you get all the lumps out and any bits of sauce still left in it.

Split image with a pan of brown sauce on the left and the sauce being poured over spaghetti in a pot on the right.

In theory, you could just add the miso directly to the saucepan but in practice this always means a few lumps of miso escape you and end up in the finished recipe. And it’s just not nice biting down on a lump of miso.

Pour the drained pasta back into the pot and add the sauce (image ten above). Toss until well-distributed, adding some of the remaining pasta water if you want a looser sauce. Plate, top with crispy mushrooms if you made them or whatever vegetable you prefer. It’s also super tasty just by itself!

I like extra chili flakes and some freshly chopped parsley on top, and my husband also loves some vegetarian parmesan sprinkled over.

Spaghetti in a black pan.

FAQs

Can I make this dish ahead of time?

I never recommend making pasta dishes ahead of time as the sauce will be absorbed by the pasta, making the pasta a bit gummy, and the starch released by the pasta will also thicken the sauce more. This sauce can definitely be made ahead of time, then refrigerated and stirred into hot pasta.

How do I store leftovers?

Ideally, you’d store the cooked pasta and sauce separately, but if your eyes were bigger than your stomach, don’t worry. You can simply store the pasta in the fridge in a container with a lid for up to five days. To reheat add a few tablespoons of water and either reheat on the stovetop or in the microwave until piping hot. Loosen the sauce with more water as needed.

Can I freeze this?

No sorry, I never recommend freezing pasta dishes as it gives the pasta a strange texture. You can however freeze the sauce for up to three months, then defrost and stir into hot pasta.

Did you make this spicy miso pasta recipe? Let me know how much you loved it with a star rating, review, and/or comment below.

Take a picture of your finished dish and tag me on Instagram (@the_fiery_vegetarian) or connect with me on Facebook, I love seeing all your creations!

Yield: 4 servings

Spicy Miso Pasta

Top down view of black pan with spiral pasta and mushrooms in it.

Creamy umami spicy miso pasta, an easy quick vegetarian dish perfect any time!

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes

Ingredients

  • 6 cloves garlic
  • ½ a large yellow onion
  • 4 Tablespoons tahini
  • 2½ Tablespoons toasted sesame oil, divided
  • 1 Tablespoon Sriracha*
  • 1½ Tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons soy sauce (preferably low sodium)
  • ¼ teaspoon white ground pepper
  • 1 cup water (240ml)
  • 3 Tablespoons red miso paste
  • (optional) 5.5oz mushrooms of choice (155g)
  • 14oz dried pasta of choice (400g)

Instructions

  1. Put on water and cook pasta according to package instructions, reserving a cup of pasta water once done. In the meantime, make the sauce.
  2. Peel garlic and onion and add to a processor or blender along with the tahini, two tablespoons of the toasted sesame oil, Sriracha, vinegar, soy sauce, and pepper. Blitz until smooth, then add water and blitz again.
  3. Heat sauce in a small or medium saucepan on high until bubbling, reduce to medium-high, and cook for eight minutes until dark and thickened. While cooking, if making mushroom topping follow step four below, otherwise skip to step five.
  4. Heat remaining half tablespoon of sesame oil in a large skillet on high until sizzling hot. Slice mushrooms and add in a single layer and let sit for two minutes. Toss and mix mushrooms, reduce heat to medium-high and let sit another two minutes. Stir and cook another 1-3 minutes as needed until browned and tender.
  5. Take half a cup of pasta cooking water and whisk the miso in it until fully dissolved. Add to sauce, whisk to mix. Pour sauce over freshly cooked drained pasta and add up to half a cup more of pasta cooking water if necessary until sauce is at your desired consistency.
  6. Serve immediately.

Notes

*1 tablespoon of Sriracha will give a mild pasta sauce, 1½ a medium-spicy and 2 hot.

Nutrition Information

Yield

4

Serving Size

1 plate

Amount Per Serving Calories 380Total Fat 18gSaturated Fat 3gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 15gCholesterol 0mgSodium 921mgCarbohydrates 44gFiber 5gSugar 4gProtein 12g

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