This savory Cherry Tomato Basil Pasta dish is brimming with desire and screams of summer. Fresh Genoese basil, rustically torn or sliced, combined with sun gold and cherry tomatoes, for a sauce that bursts with flavor. It’s garlicky, zesty, easy to make and gorgeously topped with purple basil leaves for garnish.
cherry tomato and basil pasta
I can’t imagine anything more comforting than a dish of pasta and the perfect tomato sauce to pair it with. Some of my absolute favorites are this Vegan Pasta Carbonara and creamy Alfredo Sauce. At the top of that list is definitely this Italian classic and easy dish.
The sauce uses sweet sun gold and cherry tomatoes for their thin skin and fragrance. This results in the tomatoes bursting into the most unforgettable sauce to dress your capellini noodles. No cream, no butter, just tomatoes, lemon and olive oil.
If you’ve been searching for the quintessential summer pasta sauce, I couldn’t imagine a better recipe. This is simply the best recipe out there, and you’ll never change my mind. So, let me talk you into this fresh summer pasta for your upcoming dinner plans!
How to Make Cherry Tomato Basil Pasta
- Prep – Heat olive oil in a skillet. Cook garlic for 30 seconds.
- Add sliced cherry tomatoes – Along with the chili flakes and a pinch of sea salt. Stir and cook until bursting.
- Add the fresh lemon juice – Along with the basil and rest of the olive oil.
- Cook the pasta – Until al dente. Drain.
- Combine – Add the cappellini to the sauce and coat generously using tongs. Garnish, serve, and enjoy!
Recipe Tips + Variations
- Storage – Place leftovers in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 4 days. I would not freeze this sauce, after all it screams fresh and summer days, not something you want to pull out of the freezer.
- Reheating – I use the microwave for reheating this pasta with cherry tomatoes, garlic, and basil, out of the fridge. Or you could just enjoy it cold or let it come to room temperature on a hot day.
- Use different pasta shapes – I use thin spaghetti or capellini noodles for this tomato basil dinner. However, you’re free to use other types of pasta if you desire. Some other great choices for this sauce might be linguine noodles, elbow macaroni, rigatoni, gnocchi, shells, bowtie, etc.
- Can I use other tomatoes ? – You can definitely use other tomatoes similar to cherry tomatoes. An important note to consider when choosing tomatoes is the thickness of their skin. I choose the cherry and sun gold tomatoes because their skin is the perfect thinness for this type of recipe and their juices bursting with flavor. I wouldn’t use grape tomatoes which are known for tougher skins and less juice.
- Omit oil for WFPB & Plantricious compliance – Oil is not an option when following these guidelines. You’ll want to omit it entirely and use some veggie stock, water, more lemon or white wine in its place.
- Garnishing options – You can use freshly sliced basil, other fresh herbs like onion or garlic chives or thyme, lemon wedges, or roasted cherry tomatoes to top your pasta. To quickly roast the tomatoes, place them under the broiler with olive oil and sea salt. Cook until they burst and have slightly charred edging.
- Is this Pasta Healthy? Pasta, in and of itself, isn’t considered to be one of the most healthy choices for a meal. However, you can choose a whole grain or pasta made from lentils or brown rice to make it a healthy meal. It’s important to note that this dish is full of fresh ingredients. It’s a much healthier choice than many dishes out there, I never worry about carb count so long as it comes from whole foods.
- How to Use Tomato Basil Pasta Sauce? This fresh sauce goes delightfully well with just about any pasta. I personally wouldn’t choose a pasta like soba or rice noodles. However, your classic Italian pasta choices are a golden ticket when paired with this sexy, zesty sauce. It ranks right up there with my classic Italian Vegan Tomato Sauce, which will also blow your mind. You can use either of these sauce recipes with my Veggie Calzone, Best Vegan Pizza Dough , or to top my easy Vegan Focaccia Bread . Don’t forget that you can use it as a dipping sauce for your appetizers as well!
Cherry Tomato Basil Pasta
- 4 cups cherry tomatoes halved (a mix of sun gold, red and chocolate cherry)
- 1/3 cup fresh basil thinly sliced
- 7 cloves garlic grated
- 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil + more as needed
- 1 lemon juiced
- 1 pinch red chili flakes
- S & P to taste
- 3/4 lb whole wheat capellini or thin spaghetti noodles
- Preheat a medium size skillet over medium low heat. Add a drizzle of olive oil ( or a splash of water, veggie stock or white wine for WFPB & Plantricious compliance) and sautee the garlic for about 30 seconds or so, just until it starts to release its aroma. Take good care not to burn it.
- Add the chili flakes and sliced tomatoes to the pan and hit them with a pinch of sea salt. Stir to combine. Cover with a lid and let them simmer until they start to burst and collapse.
- Squeeze the lemon over the tomato sauce and remove from heat. Season to taste or sea salt and stir in the fresh basil and remaining olive oil. (Remember to omit all oil for WFPB & Plantricious compliance).
- Meanwhile cook the pasta until al dente according to directions on the package. Make sure the pasta water is seasoned generously with sea salt and you do not overcook the noodles. Depending on the brand the capellini could be done as soon as it collapses in the water so make sure to test one right away.
- Drain the capellini and add them to the pan with the cherry tomato sauce. Using kitchen tongs make sure to coat them well without breaking.
- Serve with extra fresh basil on top + extra lemon wedges for garnish.
WFPB & Plantricious
- To make this recipe compliant make suer to omit all oil from the recipe and serve with whole grain noodles capellini or spaghetti.
- I like to add a handful of cherry tomatoes under the broiler coated in a drizzle of olive oil and sea salt. Let them broil until they burst and nice little charred skins form then serve on top of the pasta.
- An important note to consider when choosing tomatoes is the thickness of their skin. I chose the cherry and sun gold tomatoes because their skin is the perfect thinness for this type of recipe and their juices bursting with flavor. I wouldn't use grape tomatoes which are known for tougher skins and less juice.
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