Tomato and basil is a perfect flavour combination and it works so well in this light and delicious Tomato Basil Pasta. It is ready in under 15 minutes and is a delicious summer meal for feeding a crowd. Serve with some homemade garlic bread and a green salad for a fresh summery meal.
This Tomato Basil Pasta is ready in the time it takes to cook the spaghetti. There is no cooking required for the topping, as it is fresh raw tomatoes, plenty of garlic and basil and the sauce is simply some olive oil and lemon juice. This pasta recipe couldn't be more simple.
This is best made in the summer when tomatoes are ripe and in season, as you will get plenty of flavour. It will also ensure this is a really budget friendly meal to make.
If making it out of season, chances are you will be paying extra for bland and hard tomatoes, which won't give you the best dish. You can add even more tomato flavour to this by stirring in some chopped up sun dried tomatoes.
Why you will love it
- Really quick and simple to make
- No cook topping
- A great way to use up end of summer tomatoes
- Under 300 calories a portion
- Delicious cold the next day
- Olive oil
A full ingredients list with measurements is in the recipe card below.
Step by step
One: Add the spaghetti to a pan of boiling water and simmer for 12 minutes.
Two: Chop up the tomatoes, crush the garlic and finely chop the basil.
Three: Drain the spaghetti and put it back in the pan with all the other ingredients and mix well.
Four: Serve with Parmesan (optional).
What tomatoes to use
We used money maker tomatoes, as that is what we had an abundance of growing in our garden, however you can use pretty much any tomato - as long as they are nice and ripe. You need to use tomatoes that have plenty of flavour, as the tomatoes are really where all the flavour comes from.
Other options are Roma tomatoes, or cherry tomatoes. You can add extra flavour to this by chopping up some sun dried tomatoes.
What pasta to use
We used spaghetti, as the simple sauce of olive oil, lemon juice and garlic clings really well to it and the chunky tomatoes can sit on top. But you can use any pasta you like - so there is no need to buy anything specially. This also works well with orzo for a pasta salad type dish which is great at a BBQ.
Add some protein
This is a simple vegan pasta dish (unless served with cheese), but that doesn't mean you can't add some extra protein to it. You can grill some salmon, chicken breast or king prawns to go with this, or even some grilled halloumi. It needs to be something fairly chunky. We just went with some shaved Parmesan. Leftover Roasted Chickpeas are also really good on this.
Other ingredients to add
Like most of our dishes, they are easy to customise so you never have to eat it the same way. Sometimes we like to add a sprinkle of chilli flakes for some spice, or some pine nuts just for some added texture. We also chop up some olives to mix in if we have any left over.
A little bit of cheese goes a long way on a pasta dish, so we used some Parmesan. But we often use mozzarella or feta to mix things up a bit.
What to serve with tomato basil pasta
This is a light and fresh meal, so you don't really need to serve it with anything. However, a simple green salad and some homemade garlic bread would go well with this if you are making it for a dinner party. We recommend a balsamic dressing with the salad, which will compliment the tomatoes really well.
As far as pasta dishes go, this is a healthy one. There are no rich and creamy pasta sauces, just lots of fresh tomatoes. Tomatoes are a great source of vitamin C, potassium, folate, and vitamin K. They are also the major dietary source of the antioxidant lycopene. This has been linked to many health benefits, including reduced risk of heart disease and cancer.
This isn't like a traditional tomato pasta sauce that would use canned tomatoes. Instead, it uses diced fresh tomatoes to make a light and fresh chunky topping. Using canned tomatoes would make it too runny, so we wouldn't recommend it.
The key to this dish being the best it can be, is having really ripe and juicy tomatoes. When it comes to choosing tomatoes, you want to make sure they are in season. Winter tomatoes are just absolutely tasteless. Locally grown or homegrown are always the best, but if you are getting them from the supermarket then we have some tips.
You might think that squeezing the tomato is the best way to tell if it's ripe, but it isn't. Instead, hold the tomato in the palm of your hand and it should feel heavy for its size. You should also do a sniff test - ripe tomatoes should smell sweet and earthy and the stronger the tomato smells, the more ripe it is. So, resist squeezing it and ruining it.
If the simple sauce of olive oil and lemon juice isn't enough for you, then you could make this dish creamier by adding a couple of tablespoons of creme fraiche or Greek yogurt.
This dish is best eaten fresh, and luckily it's so quick and easy to make. However, if you have some of this leftover, then it is delicious the next day. The garlic and basil flavours really intensify and it's really good cold too.
More pasta recipes
Tomato Basil Pasta
- 200 g (7 oz) Whole wheat spaghetti
- 2 tablespoon Olive oil
- 1 Lemon - (juice only)
- 2 Garlic clove - crushed
- 4 Tomatoes - diced
- 4 tablespoon Fresh basil - chopped
- 1 Pinch Sea salt and black pepper
- 30 g (0.33 cups) Parmesan - grated
- Add 200 g Whole wheat spaghetti to boiling water and simmer for 12 minutes.
- Drain the spaghetti and put back in the pan and add 2 tablespoon Olive oil, juice of 1 Lemon, 2 Garlic clove, 4 Tomatoes, 4 tablespoon Fresh basil and 1 Pinch Sea salt and black pepper. Mix well.
- Put into a serving dish and sprinkle over 30 g Parmesan.
- Use fresh, ripe and in season tomatoes for the best results.
- Make this dish creamy by stirring in a couple of tablespoons of creme fraiche or Greek yogurt to the spaghetti.
- You can add a kick of spice to the finished dish with a sprinkling of red chilli flakes.
- Add even more tomato flavour with some chopped up sun dried tomatoes.
- Give the dish some extra crunch with a sprinkling of pine nuts.
- Generously salt the pasta so the spaghetti isn't too bland.
- If would would prefer a warmer version of this, why not try adding our Roasted Cherry Tomatoes.
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.