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Whole Wheat Pasta with Tofu and Cucumber Recipe

Whole wheat pasta with tofu and cucumber is a refreshing and tasty meal. This dish can be served for lunch or dinner and the ingredients are quite common and easy to source. The tofu adds a great source of plant based protein, the cucumber provides a crisp and refreshing contrast, and the whole wheat pasta adds the perfect hearty base.

Whole Wheat Pasta with Tofu and Cucumber Recipe
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Tofu, an essential ingredient in this recipe, is a plant-based protein made from soybeans. It's available in the refrigerator section of most grocery stores, usually near the produce. Look for firm tofu for this recipe as it will hold its shape when cooked. Asian sesame oil, another key ingredient, is a dark, aromatic oil that can be found in the Asian foods aisle of the supermarket.

Ingredients for Whole Wheat Pasta with Tofu and Cucumbers

Whole wheat spaghetti: A healthier option than regular pasta, it's full of fiber and has a hearty, nutty flavor.

Firm tofu: A great source of protein. It's tasteless on its own, but absorbs the flavors of whatever it's cooked with.

Soy sauce: Used to marinate the tofu and adds a salty flavor.

Fresh ginger: Adds a spicy, slightly sweet flavor.

Cucumbers: Adds a fresh, crunchy texture.

Scallions: Gives a mild onion flavor.

Cilantro: Lends a distinct, fresh taste.

Cooking oil, wine vinegar, lemon juice, Asian sesame oil, lemon zest, salt, cayenne: These are all used to create a flavorful dressing for the pasta.

One reader, Gerard Ulrich says:

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This whole wheat pasta with tofu and cucumber recipe is a game-changer! The combination of flavors is simply divine. The tofu adds a delightful texture, and the fresh cucumbers give it a refreshing crunch. It's a healthy and satisfying dish that I can't get enough of!

Gerard Ulrich

Cooking Techniques for Perfect Pasta Every Time

Cooking the whole wheat spaghetti: Boil the spaghetti in a large pot of salted water for about 15 minutes until just done, then drain and rinse with cold water.

Marinating the tofu: Combine the tofu with soy sauce and grated ginger in a medium bowl and let it sit for about 5 minutes to absorb the flavors.

Preparing the dressing: In a large glass or stainless-steel bowl, combine the ginger, soy sauce, cooking oil, vinegar, lemon juice, sesame oil, lemon zest, salt, and cayenne to make the dressing.

Cooking the tofu: Heat cooking oil in a large nonstick frying pan over moderate heat, then add the tofu and cook, stirring frequently, for about 8 minutes until browned.

Tossing the ingredients: Add the tofu, pasta, cucumbers, scallions, and cilantro to the dressing in the large bowl and toss to combine.

Serving the dish: Portion the whole wheat pasta with tofu and cucumber onto plates and serve.

How To Make Whole Wheat Pasta with Tofu and Cucumber

Made healthier with whole wheat pasta, this simple recipe combines lemon juice, soy sauce, and Asian sesame oil for a filling meal with balanced flavors.

Preparation: 15 minutes
Cooking: 30 minutes
Total: 45 minutes



  • ¾lbwhole wheat spaghetti
  • lbsfirm tofu
  • 1tbspsoy sauce,plus 4 tsp
  • tspfresh ginger,grated
  • tbspcooking oil
  • 2tbspwine vinegar
  • tsplemon juice
  • 1tspAsian sesame oil
  • ¾tsplemon zest,grated
  • ¼tspsalt
  • 1tspcayenne
  • 2cucumbers
  • 3scallions,including green tops
  • 3tbspcilantro,chopped, or fresh parsley


  1. In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the spaghetti for about 15 minutes until just done. Drain the pasta. Rinse with cold water and drain thoroughly.

  2. In a medium bowl, combine the tofu with the 1 tablespoon soy sauce and ½ teaspoon of the grated ginger. Let sit for about 5 minutes.

  3. In a large glass or stainless-steel bowl, combine the remaining ginger and soy sauce, 1½ tablespoons of the cooking oil, the vinegar, lemon juice, sesame oil, lemon zest, salt, and cayenne.

  4. In a large nonstick frying pan, heat the remaining cooking oil over moderate heat. Add the tofu and cook, stirring frequently, for about 8 minutes until browned.

  5. Add the tofu, pasta, cucumbers, scallions, and cilantro to the dressing in the large bowl and toss.

  6. Serve and enjoy.


  • Calories: 621.71kcal
  • Fat: 23.73g
  • Saturated Fat: 2.89g
  • Trans Fat: 0.03g
  • Monounsaturated Fat: 8.91g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat: 10.49g
  • Carbohydrates: 77.07g
  • Fiber: 4.55g
  • Sugar: 2.93g
  • Protein: 36.43g
  • Sodium: 397.80mg
  • Calcium: 1038.18mg
  • Potassium: 812.14mg
  • Iron: 7.60mg
  • Vitamin A: 25.05µg
  • Vitamin C: 8.48mg

Expert Advice for Mastering This Tofu and Cucumber Pasta

When preparing the tofu, it's important to press it before marinating to remove excess water. This will allow the tofu to better absorb the flavors of the soy sauce and ginger. Simply wrap the tofu in a clean kitchen towel and place a heavy object on top, such as a cast-iron skillet, and let it sit for about 15 minutes. This will result in a firmer, more flavorful tofu that will enhance the overall taste of your dish.

Time-Saving Tips for Preparing This Dish

Prep ahead: Chop vegetables and tofu in advance to save time during the cooking process.

One-pot wonder: Consider using a large pot to cook the pasta and a nonstick frying pan for the tofu to minimize clean-up.

Efficient multitasking: While the pasta is cooking, prepare the tofu and dressing to streamline the cooking process.

Quick marination: Allow the tofu to marinate while the pasta is cooking to infuse it with flavor without requiring extra time.

Streamlined assembly: Have all ingredients prepped and ready before starting to cook to ensure a smooth and efficient cooking process.

Substitute Ingredients For Whole Wheat Pasta with Tofu and Cucumber Recipe

  • whole wheat spaghetti - Substitute with brown rice spaghetti: Brown rice spaghetti is a gluten-free alternative that provides a similar texture and taste to whole wheat spaghetti, making it a suitable substitute for those with gluten sensitivities.

  • firm tofu - Substitute with tempeh: Tempeh is a fermented soy product that has a firmer texture and a nuttier flavor compared to tofu, adding a different dimension to the dish while still providing a plant-based protein source.

  • soy sauce - Substitute with tamari: Tamari is a gluten-free alternative to soy sauce, offering a similar umami flavor and saltiness, making it suitable for those with gluten sensitivities.

  • cooking oil - Substitute with avocado oil: Avocado oil has a high smoke point and a mild flavor, making it a healthier alternative to cooking oil while adding a subtle nuttiness to the dish.

  • wine vinegar - Substitute with rice vinegar: Rice vinegar has a milder and slightly sweet flavor compared to wine vinegar, complementing the other ingredients in the recipe while providing a similar level of acidity.

  • lemon juice - Substitute with lime juice: Lime juice offers a tangy and slightly sweeter flavor compared to lemon juice, adding a refreshing citrusy note to the dish.

  • asian sesame oil - Substitute with toasted sesame oil: Toasted sesame oil has a deeper, nuttier flavor compared to regular sesame oil, enhancing the overall aroma and taste of the dish.

  • cayenne - Substitute with paprika: Paprika provides a milder heat compared to cayenne, adding a rich, smoky flavor to the dish without overwhelming the other ingredients.

  • cucumbers - Substitute with zucchini: Zucchini can be spiralized or thinly sliced to mimic the texture and appearance of cucumbers, adding a slightly different flavor while maintaining a refreshing crunch.

  • scallions - Substitute with chives: Chives offer a mild onion flavor and a delicate texture, serving as a suitable substitute for scallions in garnishing the dish.

  • cilantro - Substitute with flat-leaf parsley: Flat-leaf parsley provides a fresh, herbaceous flavor similar to cilantro, making it a versatile substitute for those who prefer an alternative herb.

How to Beautifully Plate This Pasta Recipe

  1. Elevate the plating: Arrange the whole wheat spaghetti in a nest-like shape on the plate to create a visually appealing base for the dish.

  2. Incorporate contrasting colors and textures: Garnish the dish with thinly sliced cucumbers and scallions to add a pop of vibrant green and a refreshing crunch.

  3. Highlight the tofu: Carefully place the browned tofu on top of the spaghetti, ensuring it is the focal point of the dish.

  4. Garnish with fresh cilantro: Sprinkle the dish with fresh cilantro leaves to add a burst of color and a hint of herbaceous flavor.

  5. Drizzle with a soy-ginger reduction: Use a squeeze bottle to delicately drizzle the soy-ginger dressing over the entire dish, adding a touch of umami and a glossy finish.

  6. Add a touch of elegance with lemon zest: Grate a small amount of lemon zest over the dish to infuse it with a subtle citrus aroma and a sophisticated touch.

  7. Use minimalist plating: Embrace simplicity by allowing the natural beauty of the ingredients to shine through, creating an elegant and refined presentation.

Essential Kitchen Tools for Making Pasta with Tofu and Cucumber

  • Large pot: A large pot is essential for boiling the pasta.
  • Colander: A colander is used for draining the pasta after it's cooked.
  • Medium bowl: A medium bowl is used for marinating the tofu.
  • Large glass or stainless-steel bowl: This bowl is used for mixing the dressing and combining all the ingredients.
  • Nonstick frying pan: The nonstick frying pan is used for cooking the tofu.

Proper Storage and Freezing Guidelines for Leftover Pasta

  • This whole wheat pasta dish is best served immediately after preparing, as the cucumbers and scallions will start to release their moisture and can make the pasta soggy over time.
  • If you have leftovers, store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. The tofu may lose some of its crispness, but the flavors will still be delicious.
  • To reheat, you can either microwave the pasta or heat it in a pan on the stovetop over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until warmed through. Add a splash of water or vegetable broth if the pasta seems dry.
  • If you want to prepare the components ahead of time, you can cook the whole wheat spaghetti, marinate the tofu, and make the dressing up to a day in advance. Store each component separately in the refrigerator, and then combine them when you're ready to serve.
  • This dish does not freeze well due to the high water content of the cucumbers and the delicate texture of the tofu. The pasta may also become mushy after being frozen and thawed.

The Best Way to Reheat Leftover Pasta

  • Stovetop method: Place the leftover whole wheat pasta in a large skillet or saucepan over medium heat. Add a splash of water or vegetable broth to the pan to help rehydrate the pasta and prevent it from sticking. Stir occasionally until the pasta is heated through and the liquid is absorbed. Add the tofu and cucumber to the pan and toss gently until everything is warmed through. If needed, you can add a bit more soy sauce, sesame oil, or lemon juice to refresh the flavors.

  • Microwave method: Place the leftover whole wheat pasta, tofu, and cucumber in a microwave-safe dish. Add a splash of water or vegetable broth to the dish to help rehydrate the pasta. Cover the dish with a microwave-safe lid or plastic wrap, leaving a small vent for steam to escape. Microwave on high for 1-2 minutes, stirring halfway through, until the pasta is heated through and the liquid is absorbed. If needed, you can add a bit more soy sauce, sesame oil, or lemon juice to refresh the flavors.

  • Oven method: Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Place the leftover whole wheat pasta, tofu, and cucumber in an oven-safe dish. Add a splash of water or vegetable broth to the dish to help rehydrate the pasta. Cover the dish with foil and bake for 10-15 minutes, or until the pasta is heated through and the liquid is absorbed. Remove the foil for the last few minutes of baking to allow any excess moisture to evaporate. If needed, you can add a bit more soy sauce, sesame oil, or lemon juice to refresh the flavors.

  • Cold pasta salad: If you prefer, you can enjoy the leftover whole wheat pasta as a cold pasta salad. Simply remove the pasta, tofu, and cucumber from the refrigerator and let them come to room temperature. Toss the ingredients together in a large bowl, and if needed, add a bit more soy sauce, sesame oil, lemon juice, or a splash of rice vinegar to refresh the flavors. You can also add some extra chopped cilantro, sliced scallions, or sesame seeds for added texture and flavor.

Interesting Trivia About Whole Wheat Pasta

Tofu is a great source of protein and contains all nine essential amino acids. It is also a good source of iron and calcium, making it a nutritious addition to this whole wheat pasta dish.

Budget-Friendly Cooking: Is This Recipe Cost-Effective?

The cost-effectiveness of this whole wheat pasta with tofu and cucumber recipe is quite high. Tofu is an affordable source of protein, and whole wheat pasta is a budget-friendly option. The addition of cucumbers and scallions adds freshness without breaking the bank. Overall, this dish rates an 8 for cost-effectiveness. The approximate cost for a household of 4 people is around $12, making it an economical and nutritious choice.

Is This Pasta Dish Healthy or Not?

The whole wheat pasta with tofu and cucumber recipe is a relatively healthy dish with some room for improvement. Here's why:


  • Whole wheat pasta provides more fiber and nutrients compared to regular pasta
  • Tofu is a good source of plant-based protein and is low in saturated fat
  • Cucumbers are low in calories and high in water content, making them a refreshing and hydrating addition
  • The recipe includes healthy ingredients like ginger, lemon juice, and cilantro, which offer various health benefits


  • The recipe calls for a significant amount of oil, which can increase the calorie and fat content
  • Soy sauce and added salt contribute to the dish's sodium content, which may be a concern for those watching their salt intake
  • The recipe lacks a variety of vegetables, which could provide additional nutrients and fiber

To make this recipe even healthier, consider the following suggestions:

  • Reduce the amount of oil used in the dressing and for cooking the tofu, or opt for a healthier alternative like olive oil or avocado oil
  • Use low-sodium soy sauce or replace it with coconut aminos for a lower-sodium option
  • Add more vegetables to the dish, such as bell peppers, carrots, or spinach, to increase the nutrient and fiber content
  • Consider using a mix of whole wheat and zucchini noodles to further reduce the calorie content and add more vegetables to the dish
  • Experiment with different herbs and spices to add flavor without relying on salt, such as basil, parsley, or red pepper flakes

Our Editor's Opinion on This Unique Pasta Recipe

This recipe for whole wheat pasta with tofu and cucumber is a delightful blend of flavors and textures. The use of whole wheat spaghetti adds a nutty depth to the dish, while the marinated tofu brings a savory umami element. The combination of ginger, soy sauce, and sesame oil creates a harmonious Asian-inspired dressing that ties everything together. The addition of fresh cucumbers, scallions, and cilantro adds a refreshing crunch and brightness. Overall, this dish is a wonderful balance of wholesome ingredients and bold flavors, making it a satisfying and nutritious meal option.

Enhance Your Whole Wheat Pasta with Tofu and Cucumber Recipe with These Unique Side Dishes:

Garlic Roasted Asparagus: Toss asparagus with olive oil, garlic, salt, and pepper, then roast until tender and slightly crispy.
Honey Glazed Carrots: Sauté carrots in a honey glaze until they are caramelized and tender, then sprinkle with fresh herbs for a pop of flavor.
Mango Avocado Salad: Combine ripe mango and creamy avocado with a zesty lime dressing for a refreshing and colorful side dish.
Creamy Mashed Potatoes: Whip up a batch of creamy mashed potatoes with butter, milk, and a hint of garlic for a comforting and classic accompaniment to the main dish.

Tasty Alternatives to Try If You Love This Tofu and Cucumber Pasta

Spicy Thai Basil Chicken: This dish is a flavorful and aromatic stir-fry that combines tender chicken with fresh Thai basil and spicy chili peppers. It's a perfect balance of heat and savory flavors.
Mango Avocado Salsa: This refreshing salsa is a delightful combination of sweet mango, creamy avocado, zesty lime, and spicy jalapeno. It's a perfect topping for grilled fish or chicken, or simply enjoyed with tortilla chips.
Roasted Vegetable Quinoa Salad: This hearty salad features a colorful mix of roasted vegetables, nutty quinoa, and a tangy lemon vinaigrette. It's a satisfying and nutritious dish that can be enjoyed as a main course or a side dish.

Appetizer and Dessert Ideas to Complement Your Whole Wheat Pasta Dish

Stuffed Mushrooms: Savory and satisfying, these stuffed mushrooms are filled with a flavorful mixture of herbs, cheese, and breadcrumbs. They make the perfect bite-sized appetizer for any gathering.
Caprese Skewers: These colorful skewers feature fresh mozzarella, cherry tomatoes, and basil, drizzled with a balsamic glaze. They are a refreshing and elegant appetizer option for any occasion.
Chocolate Mousse: Indulge in a rich and velvety chocolate mousse, topped with a dollop of whipped cream and a sprinkle of cocoa powder. The smooth texture and intense chocolate flavor will satisfy any sweet tooth.
Berry Parfait: Layered with creamy yogurt, fresh berries, and crunchy granola, this berry parfait is a delightful combination of sweet and tangy flavors. The vibrant colors and refreshing taste make it a perfect dessert for any occasion.

Why trust this Whole Wheat Pasta with Tofu and Cucumber Recipe:

This recipe offers a delightful fusion of flavors and textures, combining the wholesome goodness of whole wheat spaghetti with the protein-packed firm tofu. The zesty combination of soy sauce, fresh ginger, and asian sesame oil infuses the dish with an irresistible aroma. The addition of cucumbers and scallions brings a refreshing crunch, while the cilantro adds a burst of freshness. With carefully curated ingredients and a harmonious blend of seasonings, this recipe promises a satisfying and nourishing dining experience.

Share your thoughts and experiences with this whole wheat pasta with tofu and cucumber recipe in the Recipe Sharing forum section.
Can I use regular pasta instead of whole wheat spaghetti?
Yes, you can absolutely use regular pasta if you prefer. Whole wheat spaghetti adds a nutty flavor and extra fiber, but regular pasta will work just fine.
Can I substitute the tofu with another protein?
Certainly! You can substitute tofu with chicken, shrimp, or even edamame for a different vegetarian option. Just adjust the cooking time accordingly.
Can I make this recipe ahead of time?
Absolutely! This dish can be made ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Just give it a good toss before serving to redistribute the flavors.
Can I adjust the spiciness of the dish?
Of course! If you prefer a milder dish, you can reduce or omit the cayenne pepper. On the other hand, if you like it spicier, feel free to add more to suit your taste.
Can I add other vegetables to the dish?
Definitely! This recipe is versatile, and you can add other vegetables like bell peppers, snap peas, or shredded carrots for extra color and crunch. Just adjust the quantities as needed.

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