This viral marry me chicken pasta recipe – but vegan, with tofu! – is definitely worth the hype. We’ve got crispy, spicy tofu served on top of a flavorful, spicy, creamy pasta sauce with sun-dried tomatoes and plant-based cream. It’s a one-pot pasta recipe that’s ready in under 20 minutes and is absolutely delicious.
I’ve had a rolling series on my TikTok account of re-creating and testing viral pasta trends (but vegetarian or vegan versions!) to see if they’re worth your time. I made the viral baked feta pasta but with butternut squash, a baked boursin pasta variation, and then the French onion pasta recipe which has received almost 4 million views.
The Marry Me Chicken pasta trend went viral earlier in 2023, but I wanted to adapt the recipe to make it vegan-friendly. I used crispy fried tofu instead of chicken, as well as plant-based cream and nutritional yeast instead of cream and Parmesan.
The exact quantities of the ingredients you need for this recipe are included in the recipe card at the bottom of this post. Here, I’ve added a few notes on the ingredients you need, plus a few potential substitutions you could make if you can’t eat/find a certain ingredient.
- Tofu: I would recommend using extra-firm tofu for this recipe, or at the very least firm tofu. Silken tofu will not work.
- Seasonings: This marry me pasta recipe gets a double dose of spicy, flavorsome seasonings: for the tofu, and also for the pasta sauce. Seasonings we use include smoked paprika, cayenne chili pepper, oregano, salt, garlic pepper, and onion powder.
- Cornflour: This is to coat your tofu in addition to the spices to give it a beautifully crispy, crunchy tofu crust.
- Shallots: Finely diced shallots provide the base of this dish with a mellow, aromatic flavor.
- Garlic: I used two medium-sized cloves of garlic minced finely for this recipe.
- Sun-dried tomatoes: The sun-dried tomatoes are one of the main parts of this recipe. Many people use a little of the oil the sun-dried tomatoes are stored in to cook the shallots and garlic. You could add your tomatoes in whole, but I prefer to finely dice them into a chunky paste.
- Tomato puree: A little tomato puree also adds some deep, tomato-ey flavor to the creamy pasta.
- Vegetable stock: I use a standard vegetable stock cube mixed with the correct amount of boiling water to mix up my vegetable stock, but you could also use pre-made stock.
- Plant-based cream: The traditional marry me chicken pasta recipe uses heavy cream to make the indulgent, creamy sauce. To make this recipe suitable for vegan and vegetarian diets, I used plant-based cream. I use the Elmlea brand.
- Nutritional yeast: A spoonful of nutritional yeast adds a nutty, ever-so slightly cheesy flavor to the pasta sauce.
- Pasta: I used farfalle pasta, also known as bow-tie pasta, for this recipe. I’ve also seen the Marry Me pasta recreated with rigatoni or even spaghetti.
- Fresh basil: Finally, a scattering of chopped fresh basil is a must to give this recipe that perfect finish.
Subtitutions & Variations
If you can’t find, don’t like, or don’t want to use any of the ingredients listed above, here I’ve included a few common substitutions and variations that could work great.
- If you don’t want to use tofu, you could use a breaded vegan chicken fillet instead. Alternatively, you could just omit the tofu element entirely – but you would be missing out!
- If you don’t have shallots, use a small white onion instead.
- If you can’t find plant-based cream, coconut milk could also be a great substitution. Cashew cream, which is just cashews blended with water into a thick cream, could also work.
- Instead of nutritional yeast, you could use a vegan parmesan instead.
How To Make This Marry Me Chicken Pasta Recipe
Again, the exact step-by-step instructions and ingredient quantities will be in the recipe card at the bottom of this page. Below is an overview for making this marry me chicken pasta recipe, plus some process shots to help you visualize how this recipe should turn out.
Step 1) Make The Pasta
To make the pasta, start by heating your oil in a large casserole dish or pan, and adding finely diced shallots to saute for 4-5 minutes. Add your garlic, then add the tomato puree and diced sun-dried tomatoes.
Next, we add the seasonings, vegetable stock, and pasta. Bring the pot to a boil, then immediately simmer for 6-7 minutes, stirring frequently so the pasta doesn’t stick to the bottom. Then, pour in the cream and stir in the nutritional yeast to complete the pasta.
It should be thick and saucy! You can continue to simmer the pasta until the farfalle is cooked to your preferred texture.
Step 2) Prep the tofu
While the pasta is cooking, prepare your tofu. To do this, drain your tofu and pat it dry. I like to give my tofu a gentle squeeze with a clean cloth to remove any excess moisture. Then, slice the tofu lengthways into 0.5-inch thick rectangles.
I also shape the tofu fillets into a rounded shape resembling a chicken fillet for this recipe. It’s not essential, but I like that added little step.
Coat the tofu in your cornflour and seasoning mix, ensuring both sides are completely coated.
Step 3) Cook the tofu
Fry the tofu in hot oil in a large saucepan for approximately 2-3 minutes, or until the outside of your tofu is golden and crispy.
Slice the tofu into thin strips and serve on top of the pasta along with a scatter of freshly chopped basil.
- If you would prefer not to fry it, you could cook your tofu fillets in the air fryer for 15 minutes at 200C / 395F. Just spray them with a little oil before placing in your air fryer.
- You could also bake the tofu for about 20 minutes at 395F/190C in a little oil, but be aware you probably won’t get your tofu quite so crispy.
- If you prefer, you could cook your pasta separately and then stir it into your sauce at the end with a splash of pasta water.
- Add a splash more vegetable stock or water if your pasta starts sticking to the bottom or if too much water evaporates before the pasta is cooked.
- Try freezing and then defrosting your tofu before cooking with it to get a denser, more “chicken-like” texture
What To Serve With Vegan Marry Me Chicken Pasta
You could also serve it with some garlic bread.
This marry me pasta is best served hot and fresh when the tofu fillets are perfectly crispy. However, if you do have leftovers, the pasta and the tofu can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
To reheat, place your microwave-safe container in the microwave until the food is piping hot. This is how I reheat my Marry Me pasta and the tofu stays nice and crispy even when microwaved!
Is this recipe spicy?
This recipe is moderately spicy – it has a nice amount of heat and spice without being overbearing. However, you could omit the cayenne chili pepper seasoning if you don’t want your pasta to have any spice.
Can I make Marry Me chicken pasta without sun-dried tomatoes?
While the sun-dried tomatoes are a fairly pivotal part of this recipe, you could substitute them for roasted red peppers and achieve a similar flavor in a pinch.
How can I make this recipe gluten-free?
To make this recipe gluten-free, you could use gluten-free pasta. The other ingredients should
be gluten-free as they are, although I would always encourage you to double-check.
Other Recipes You’ll Like:
- Creamy Mushroom Pasta
- Easy Tofu Pasta With Tomato Sauce
- Vegan Butternut Squash Pasta
- Vegan Creamy Sausage Pasta
- Spicy Gochujang Tofu
- Easy Honey Garlic Tofu with Soy Sauce & Butter
Marry Me Orzo
To make this recipe with orzo, keep the quantities the same but use 1.5 cups of dried orzo.
Add more stock if needed, tasting the orzo to see when it’s al dente before adding cream and cheese.
To Make The Marry Me Vegan Chicken:
- 200g tofu, sliced into 2 0.5-inch thick "fillets"
- 1 tbsp cornflour
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp garlic pepper
- 1 tsp oregano
- 1 tsp salt
- 3 tbsp oil, to fry
To Make The Marry Me Pasta:
- 1 tbsp (15g) butter
- 2 shallots
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 5-6 sun-dried tomatoes, finely diced
- 2 tbsp tomato puree
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 2 tsp smoked paprika
- 2 tsp oregano
- 1 tsp cayenne chili pepper
- Salt & pepper, to taste
- 500ml vegetable stock
- 150ml plant-based cream
- 150g bow-tie (farfalle) pasta
- 1 handful fresh basil
To Make The Pasta:
- Melt the butter in a casserole dish or large saucepan and add the shallots finely diced, sauting on a low-medium heat for 5-6 minutes until they are soft and translucent.
- Add the garlic (minced) and cook for another minute.
- Add the tomato puree, diced sun-dried tomatoes, and seasonings. Stir everything together, then pour in the vegetable stock while continuing to stir.
- Pour in your pasta and bring the pot to a boil then simmer for 7-8 minutes. Stir the pasta frequently to avoid it sticking to the bottom.
- Pour in the plant-based cream and stir. Check your pasta is cooked - if not, simmer the pot for another minute or so until the pasta is to your desired consistency.
To Make The "Chicken" i.e. Marry Me Tofu:
- While the marry me pasta is simmering, drain your tofu and pat it dry. I like to gently squeeze the tofu with a clean cloth to drain any excess moisture.
- Slice the tofu into 0.5-inch thick fillets. You can also use a knife to shape the tofu into a "chicken fillet" shape, although this is optional.
- Place the cornflour and seasonings on a plate or in a large container, and mix together. Add the tofu and flip it so that it is fully coated in the seasoned cornflour mix.
- Heat your oil in a shallow pan and once the oil is hot, fry the tofu until crispy on both sides (approximately 2-3 minutes total).
- Place on a chopping board and thinly slice the tofu fillets.
1. Place the sliced tofu fillets over your Marry Me pasta sauce.
2. Chop your fresh basil and scatter the herbs over the dish, seasoning with more garlic pepper to taste.
This dish is best served immediately when the pasta is hot and the tofu is fresh and crispy. However, you can store any leftovers in the refrigerator for 3-4 days and simply reheat in a microwave-proof dish for 1-2 minutes until piping hot.
If you have time, some people say that freezing your tofu and then defrosting it gives it a more "chicken-like" texture.
I like to cook the pasta within the sauce for convenience and to create a thick, soupy pasta sauce. You could cook your pasta separately and stir it into the sauce with a splash of pasta water if you prefer.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 2 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 830Total Fat: 64gSaturated Fat: 21gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 38gCholesterol: 86mgSodium: 2193mgCarbohydrates: 53gFiber: 10gSugar: 13gProtein: 20g