This Creamy Miso Pasta with Tofu and Asparagus is the comfort food you need this spring! It’s wholesome and incredibly flavorful. The best plant-based dinner is ready in 20 minutes or less.
When I feel a little burned out from everyday cooking, I often turn to Japanese-style pasta for dinner. They are quick, simple and so flavorful, just like this Creamy Miso Pasta With Tofu and Asparagus.
Here, I paired the pasta with gloriously green asparagus with Japanese flavors, giving the dish a unique flair. It is a lovely nod to the warmer days ahead while still offering ultimate comfort.
Why You’ll Love This Creamy Miso Pasta
There are a lot of great things you’ll love about this wholesome pasta:
- Utilizes pantry-friendly ingredients like pasta, miso, and tofu.
- Fast and nutritious – The tofu provides satisfying plant-based protein and asparagus packs with nutrients and fiber. The whole meal comes together in 20 minutes.
- Easily adaptable – Since it’s springtime, I love using asparagus to highlight the seasonal green in my recipes. You can always improvise and use other vegetables such as fresh peas, snap peas, edamame, fava beans, broccoli, zucchini, and so on. If you like, feel free to toss in 1-2 more vegetables for extra texture.
What Makes The Pasta Creamy?
It’s not heavy cream or regular milk, but soy milk! In Japanese cooking, you’ll find soy milk being used as the secret ingredient to lend sweetness and creaminess to dishes like vegetarian ramen broth, hot pot, and pasta. It’s plant-based and makes a tasty choice for vegetarian or vegan recipes.
Flavoring the soy milk with miso and soy sauce can really wake things up. The result is pasta that is a little sweet, savory, and fresh-tasting, perfect for a springtime meal.
Turning Creamy Miso Sauce to “Soup Pasta”
We can also make a Japanese-style Soup Pasta (スープパスタ) with this recipe. The pasta is sitting on the soup, just about half to one inch deep, instead of being completely submerged in the soup.
The Soup Pasta variations include a cream base, tomato base, Japanese-style dashi base, seafood stock base, vegetable broth base, and so on. Think of it as spaghetti served in a small amount of savory soup.
Soup Pasta is usually served with both a spoon and a fork. It’s such a wonderful world of both soup and pasta!
If you want to try the Soup Pasta version of this recipe, just double the soy milk mixture and pasta water (see recipe below).
7 Key Ingredients You’ll Need (and Substitution)
- Fried tofu – I recommend using this fried tofu because it sustains its shape (no crumble!) and has more flavor than plain firm tofu.
- Asparagus – Be flexible and use any greens you have. Fresh peas, snap peas, edamame, fava beans, broccoli, and zucchini are wonderful.
- Spaghetti – I recommend spaghetti, but you can use any shape of pasta.
- Soymilk – In Japanese-style pasta, you see many variations of Tonyu Cream Pasta (豆乳クリームパスタ). Use cow’s milk only for a white cream base sauce made with bechamel sauce.
- Miso – Soy milk is mild, but adding miso boosts the flavors!
- Soy sauce – A hint of soy sauce adds umami and it’s a must for most Japanese-style pasta.
- Shichimi Togarashi – Give it a kick with a good sprinkling of Shichimi Togarashi (Japanese Seven Spice mix)!
This Miso Pasta with Tofu and Asparagus is a minimalist recipe that I treasure on busy days. I hope you enjoy it too! And stay tuned for more spring-inspired recipes that will see you through the transition between seasons. If you like miso-infused pasta, readers love this easy miso butter pasta with tuna and cabbage.
Other Delicious Japanese-Style Pasta
Creamy Miso Pasta with Tofu and Asparagus (Vegan)
For the Soy Milk Sauce
For the Pasta
For Cooking the Spaghetti
- 1½ Tbsp Diamond Crystal kosher salt
- 7 oz spaghetti
- Gather all the ingredients.
To Make the Miso Soy Milk Sauce/Soup
- In a measuring cup, combine ½ cup unsweetened soy milk, 2 tsp miso, and 1 tsp soy sauce, and mix it all together. If you want to make it into a “soup pasta“ (see my blog post), double the amount of these ingredients.
To Prepare the Pasta Ingredients
- Wrap 1 deep-fried firm tofu cutlet (atsuage) with a paper towel and remove any moisture. Cut the tofu into small cubes (so it‘s easier to eat).
- Trim off the ends of 4 oz asparagus spears and cut the asparagus diagonally into thin slices.
To Cook the Spaghetti
- Start boiling 4 quarts (16 cups, 3.8 L) water in a large pot (I used a 4.5 QT Dutch oven). Once boiling, add 1½ Tbsp Diamond Crystal kosher salt and 7 oz spaghetti.
- Stir to make sure spaghetti doesn’t stick to each other. Tip: I usually reduce the cooking time by 1 minute if I have to continue cooking the pasta afterward. Drain if you finish cooking the spaghetti first, but you should be able to cook the rest of the ingredients in 10 minutes while spaghetti is being cooked.
To Cook the Creamy Miso Pasta
- Heat 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the tofu cubes and sauté until they are coated with oil and warmed through.
- Add the asparagus and season with ¼ tsp Diamond Crystal kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.
- Add the soy milk mixture to the pan and lower the heat to medium low (to avoid curdling).
- Reserve 4 Tbsp (¼ cup, 60 ml) of pasta water and add to the frying pan. If you are making the “soup pasta,“ then add 4 Tbsp more pasta water here.
- By this time, your spaghetti should be done (otherwise, turn off the heat and wait for the spaghetti to finish cooking). Pick up the noodles with a pair of tongs (or you can quickly drain in the sink) and add to the pan. Increase the heat to medium and toss the spaghetti to mix all together.
- Taste and add salt if needed. The reserved pasta water I added has enough salt, so I do not add additional salt here. Serve the pasta to individual dishes. Sprinkle with shichimi togarashi (Japanese seven spice) if you like a kick of spice. Enjoy!