Pasta with yogurt sauce


A classic of Lebanese home cooking, this sauce can be prepared with or without meat; it is ideal for warm days because the yogurt sauce is not cooked;  it is a perfect meal for any day of the week when cooking elaborate meals is the last thing on the agenda.

INGREDIENTS: 6 servings

  • 8 oz of dry pasta (any shape will do)
  • 1/4 pound ground beef
  • 1 onion
  • 3 cups of yogurt
  • 1/4 cup of tahini
  • 3 garlic cloves, mashed in a mortar with a pinch of salt
  • 1 tbsp of fresh lemon juice 
  • 1/2 cup of pine nuts, previously toasted in a skillet till golden-brown
  • salt, to taste
  • 1 tsp of spices such as seven-spice or red Aleppo pepper ( more if needed)
  • butter, as needed (or olive oil)
  1. Cook the pasta as directed. Coat in a little butter or a tablespoon of olive oil and set aside. Chop the onion, heat some butter or oil in a skillet, and fry the onion till golden; add the meat and fry till browned with the spices. Drain the meat if needed of most of its fat. 
  2. In a bowl, pour the yogurt, mix in the tahini and mashed garlic  as well as the lemon juice. Taste and adjust seasoning, adding more tahini or garlic to taste. Transfer the sauce to the pasta and mix to combine well. Add the ground meat and onion, and finally sprinkle the pine nuts. Serve at room temperature.
Recipe adapted from Atayeb Sit al-Habayeb Khadeeja Saad Basj
Photo taken in Batroun, Lebanon
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  1. Astheart
    Posted May 29, 2012 at 6:51 am | Permalink

    Like it! Going to make it though here in the Czech Republic you cannot get tahini so I will have to adjust it a little…… Thanks for the recipe!

  2. Posted May 29, 2012 at 11:30 am | Permalink

    Looks like a perfect summer dish to me, Joumana!

  3. Ann Hill
    Posted May 29, 2012 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

    Joumana, I always have too much yoghurt and am always looking for ways to use it. Thank you.

  4. Posted May 29, 2012 at 5:31 pm | Permalink

    I LOVE the pic. Beirut is just too fascinating for words :) I am always intrigued with this mix of beef and yogurt in Lebanese cooking because I don’t always see that in Indian cooking.

    The pasta looks super cool for this hot hot hot summer day.

    chow :) Devaki @ weavethousandflavors

  5. Posted May 29, 2012 at 8:25 pm | Permalink

    Definitely sounds like a perfect dish!

  6. Posted May 29, 2012 at 9:01 pm | Permalink

    I love this new take on pasta. Yogurt sauce always makes me happy – and this combination will be finding its way here.

  7. Posted May 30, 2012 at 1:41 am | Permalink

    I love how food crosses over so many boundaries. We eat a dish like this in Turkey all the time. It’s called mantı, here. It took me a while to get used to yoghurt and pasta together but we can’t get enough of it now.

  8. Joumana
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 2:51 am | Permalink

    @Turkey’s For Life: Manti is eaten here too, in Armenian neighborhoods; in Lebanese cuisine it is called shish barak and is a stuffed dumpling cooked in a yogurt soup.

  9. Posted May 30, 2012 at 6:04 am | Permalink

    This sounds like an interesting pasta dish to try.

  10. Posted May 30, 2012 at 9:46 am | Permalink

    This does look yummy.
    I do every sort of Pasta styles from scratch, including Asian noodles and wrappers of course, but have not done this one, yet. ;)

  11. Posted May 30, 2012 at 11:45 am | Permalink

    We have something like this dish but I haven’t tasted tahini and yogurt mixture. I’ll try it.

  12. Posted May 30, 2012 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

    I used to use tahini quite often in the UK, I have not seen it here so will have to look a bit closer as this sounds yummy and a change. Diane

  13. Posted May 30, 2012 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

    The dish looks scrumptious! I would make it sans the beef and I’m sure, with the other flavors, that it will be tasty still. It sounds does sound like a very good dish for a warm day. Batroun looks like a lovely place.

  14. Posted May 30, 2012 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

    So simple but so flavorful. I love Aleppo pepper now that I’ve found it!

  15. Posted June 1, 2012 at 4:56 am | Permalink

    This pasta recipe sounds heavenly, Joumana! Thanks for sharing such a simple but yet exquisite recipe with us. I’ll have to make it soon.

  16. Posted June 2, 2012 at 4:07 am | Permalink

    Sounds like the thing for summer!

  17. Posted June 3, 2012 at 6:15 pm | Permalink

    What a revelation….a delicious, no-cook pasta sauce for a busy evening. Genius!

  18. Posted June 6, 2012 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

    I made this on Monday and LOVED it!! What a great idea- it was so tasy and flavorful, and easy. I loved all the flavors. I made my own 7-spice and used wagon wheel pasta. I only used 2 cups of (Greek) yogurt. Love your recipes!

  19. Joumana
    Posted June 6, 2012 at 11:00 pm | Permalink

    @Michelle: So glad to read this!

  20. Posted June 7, 2012 at 9:05 am | Permalink

    I forgot to mention- my 10-month old baby loved this too!! It was a perfect food for him to enjoy. :) I just didn’t give him any pine nuts.

  21. Posted June 13, 2012 at 11:53 am | Permalink

    Avec cette assiette tu ” mes pâtes “….

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