When it comes to pasta dishes, simple is best, and it doesn't get much easier than this Cherry Tomato Pasta. Just 7 ingredients go in to making this light and fresh pasta dish that is ready in under 15 minutes and perfect for eating on a warm summer evening. Juicy cherry tomatoes cooked with plenty of garlic, stirred through linguine with some lemon juice and fresh basil.
This Cherry Tomato Pasta is a great way to use up lots of tomatoes if you have been growing them. There isn't a traditional sauce to this pasta dish, as once the tomatoes burst in the pan and mix with the oil, they create their own sauce. This recipe is so easy, but it really is bursting with flavour.
Why you will love it
- Ready in under 15 minutes
- A light and fresh pasta dish
- Easy to adapt
- A delicious way to use up loads of tomatoes
- Linguine - You can use any pasta for this recipe, but we like something thin like linguine or spaghetti, as the tomatoes are already pretty chunky and they are the star of this dish. But you could use penne or fusilli instead if that is all you had.
- Olive oil - This recipe uses a generous glug of olive oil to cook the tomatoes in, and help to make the sauce. So you want to use the best quality that you can afford, as you really will be able to tell the difference.
- Cherry tomatoes - These are the star of the dish. We have used cherry tomatoes, because they can be cooked whole in the pan and then squashed down to release those beautiful juices. We wouldn't recommend any other tomatoes for this recipe, as they would be too big to cook whole and chopped up they just couldn't be the same. Try to make this when tomatoes are in season, as you will be able to taste the difference. Cherry tomatoes are the best tomatoes to use in winter months though, as they are sweeter.
- Garlic - This recipe is definitely for garlic lovers and has 5 cloves in it. The more garlic the better we say! You can use less (or more) if you prefer. Fresh is always best, but you could use ready crushed garlic in a jar if you prefer to save a little time.
- Lemon - This helps to make the sauce for the pasta (along with the tomato juices and oil) and really lightens the whole dish up. We have just used the juice, but you could add some zest too if you like.
- Parmesan - It's not a pasta dish without cheese, right? Some shaved parmesan finishes this dish off beautifully. If you want to keep it vegetarian, then use a veggie alternative. You could just leave it out and make the whole dish vegan.
- Basil - Tomatoes and basil are a match made in heaven. Lots of fresh basil sprinkled on top before serving really finishes off the whole dish.
A full ingredients list with measurements is in the recipe card below.
Step by step
One: Cook your pasta according to the package instructions.
Two: Add the oil to a large pan and once hot, add the tomatoes and garlic (a). Cook on a low heat for 6-8 minutes until the tomatoes have softened. Using a wooden spoon, carefully push the tomatoes down a little so that they burst and the juices create a sauce in the pan (b).
Three: Drain the pasta and add it to the pan, with a splash of the pasta water (a). Stir in the lemon juice and chopped basil (b).
Four: Mix well.
Five: Top with the cheese and basil and serve.
Health benefits of tomatoes
Because of the tomatoes, this pasta dish is bursting with goodness. Tomatoes, which are mainly a carbohydrate with some fibre, are packed full of vitamins, including beta-carotene (which becomes vitamin A when consumed), vitamins C and E, and some B vitamins and vitamin K. They also contain some calcium and magnesium.
Tomatoes are also a good source of potassium, which has been shown to be associated with lower risk of stroke and heart disease. Tomatoes also contain a compound called lycopene, which gives them their red colour, which research shows has the potential for reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Although raw tomatoes are delicious in salads, research has showed that cooking them can actually increase their nutritional value. Good job there are so many ways to use them in cooking!
How to adapt it
The great thing about pasta dishes is that they are so easy to adapt. We have kept this simple and let the garlic and tomatoes be the stars of the show. However, there are lots of ways to pack this dish out with vegetables.
The easiest way it to add vegetables is to stir some pasta in to the pan towards the end of the tomatoes being cooked. You could also do the same with kale.
The key is to stick with quick cooking vegetables like mushrooms, courgette, aubergine and bell pepper. Root vegetables like carrots will take too long to cook, and the beauty of this dish is how quick it is to cook.
What to serve it with
Garlic bread of course! Pasta and garlic bread are such a delicious match. Either buy some ready made, or make your own easy garlic bread by cutting up some French stick and spreading it with a mix of butter, crushed garlic and dried herbs. Then pop it in the oven for 10 minutes.
You could also keep it simple with a big green salad. The key to an epic green salad is to use a variety of greens, like romaine, spinach, kale and rocket. You want leafy greens, but crunch too. Then you need the perfect dressing. Why not try our Lemon Vinaigrette, Honey and Mustard Dressing or Tomato and Basil Vinaigrette.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, you can roast the tomatoes instead and it will give this dish much more of an intense tomato flavour. Check out our Roasted Cherry Tomatoes recipe, as these go so well with pasta.
Yes, you could use canned cherry tomatoes, rather than fresh, however that would make more of a tomato sauce. We prefer fresh tomatoes that have burst to make a sauce.
Yes, you could cook the tomatoes in advance and then just reheat them in a pan when your spaghetti is nearly ready later.
Yes, if you leave out the parmesan, or use a vegan alternative, then this is a delicious vegan meal. Vegan dishes don't have to be boring! You can add some vegan protein by stirring in some cooked chickpeas.
This dish really doesn't need meat in it. However, if you are serving it up for someone that needs meat in a meal, then you can add some leftover shredded chicken, or even fry some diced chicken breast. It also works well with a grilled salmon fillet.
If you have leftovers of this dish, then it will store in an air tight container for up to 2 days. To reheat it, add it to a hot pan with a splash of water to loosen it all up.
We wouldn't recommend freezing this pasta dish, as there isn't much of a sauce to it so it would be a bit dry once defrosted. So, try to make only as much as you need, or can be eaten within 2 days.
• For some extra flavour, add a splash of balsamic vinegar to the pan just before serving.
• A sprinkling of freshly cracked black pepper is delicious on this pasta dish.
• You can serve the tomatoes with any pasta, but we find that linguine is a great base for all those juicy tomatoes.
• To make this dish vegan, simply leave out the parmesan or use a vegan alternative.
• Try to make this recipe when tomatoes are in season, as you will be able to taste the difference.
• You can add a splash of the pasta water to the tomatoes if you want to loosen up the sauce a little. You could then even add a dollop of cream cheese to make it a creamy sauce.
More tomato recipes
Cherry Tomato Pasta
- 150 g (5.25 oz) Linguine
- 500 g (1.1 lb) Cherry tomatoes
- 2 tablespoon Olive oil
- 5 Garlic clove - crushed
- 1 Lemon - juice only
- 10 g (0.5 cups) Fresh basil - chopped, plus extra to serve
- 30 g (0.33 cups) Parmesan - shaved or grated (optional)
- Cook 150 g Linguine according to the package instructions.
- Heat 2 tablespoon Olive oil in a large pan and once hot, add 500 g Cherry tomatoes and 5 Garlic clove and cook on a low heat for 6-8 minutes until the tomatoes have softened.
- Using a wooden spoon, carefully push the tomatoes down a little so that they burst and the juices create a sauce in the pan.
- Drain the pasta and add it to the pan, with a splash of the pasta water, and then stir in the juice of 1 Lemon and 10 g Fresh basil. Mix well.
- Serve topped with 30 g Parmesan and more basil.
- For some extra flavour, add a splash of balsamic vinegar to the pan just before serving.
- A sprinkling of freshly cracked black pepper is delicious on this pasta dish.
- You can serve the tomatoes with any pasta, but we find that linguine is a great base for all those juicy tomatoes.
- To make this dish vegan, simply leave out the parmesan or use a vegan alternative.
- Try to make this recipe when tomatoes are in season, as you will be able to taste the difference.
- You can add a splash of the pasta water to the tomatoes if you want to loosen up the sauce a little. You could then even add a dollop of cream cheese to make it a creamy sauce.
The nutritional information provided is approximate and is calculated using online tools. Information can vary depending on various factors, but we have endeavoured to be as accurate as possible.