This Cherry Tomato Pasta is the perfect weeknight meal. It’s hearty, refreshing, healthy, and only takes 20 minutes to make.
A Quick Vegetarian Cherry Tomato Pasta
Whenever I’m pressed for time, or haven’t had a chance to do meal prep, we turn to pasta. There are so many great pasta dishes that are fresh, filling, and easy to make, while requiring ingredients that we already have around the house. This cherry tomato pasta is one of them, and it’s a staple of weeknight cooking for us.
This dish is super fresh, with cherry tomatoes, spinach, and basil. It’s also vegetarian and healthy, so you’ll feel great after eating it. Add in the fact that it only takes 20 minutes to make, and you’ll have a hard time finding a better option for when you’re tired after a workday.
What You’ll Need
Here’s everything that you need for cherry tomato pasta. Make sure to look at the recipe card at the bottom of the article to see the exact quantities for each ingredient.
- Gluten-free Pasta noodles: Use Jovial Cassava Spaghetti, Palmini, Cappelli’s, Shirataki or Banza for grain-free,
- Cherry tomatoes
- Baby spinach
- Dried oregano
- Sea salt
- Black pepper
- Parmesan cheese
- Red pepper flakes – These are optional.
- Red chili pepper – This is also an optional ingredient.
- Extra virgin olive oil
What Type of Noodles Are Best for This Dish?
You can use any type of pasta noodle that you like, but we think this recipe works best with spaghetti. We like to use gluten-free spaghetti when we make this cherry tomato pasta.
How to Make Cherry Tomato Pasta
This is a quick and easy pasta recipe, and it only has a few steps.
- Cook the pasta. Cook your noodles in boiling, salted water, until the pasta is al dente. Drain the pasta and reserve some of the pasta water.
- Make the sauce. While the pasta is cooking, heat olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Add the garlic, and sauté until it starts to turn golden, which should take 1-2 minutes. Add the tomatoes, oregano, salt, and pepper, and cook for 3-4 minutes. Add the chili pepper and cook for 1-2 minutes.
- Finish the pasta. Add the noodles to the sauce, then add pasta water until the sauce is the right consistency. Simmer for 1 minute, then add the spinach, basil, chili flakes, and parmesan. Lower the heat to low, stir until mixed, and remove from the heat.
- Serve. Season to taste, top with parmesan cheese, and enjoy.
Tips for Success
Here are a few tricks and tips for making the best vegetarian cherry tomato pasta.
- Adjust the pasta water. Adding the reserved pasta water serves two purposes. First, it adds starch to the sauce, which allows it to adhere to the noodles. And second, it helps you reach the right consistency and viscosity for the sauce. There’s no set amount of pasta water to add, as it depends on a lot of things, including the starch content in your pasta. Adjust as you go, until the sauce is the consistency you prefer. It may continue to thicken up as you cook, and you may need to add more water.
- Don’t overcook the pasta. You don’t want to cook the pasta all the way through. It should be undercooked when you drain it, because when you add the pasta to the sauce, it will continue cooking. If the pasta is already fully cooked when you add it to the sauce, it will overcook in the sauce and become soft and mushy.
- Adjust the heat. Only you know what your spice tolerance is. If you really like spicy food, you can add extra chilis or chili flakes, or even the seeds from the chilis. If you’re not a fan of spicy food, skip the chili peppers entirely, and cut the chili flakes in half, or eliminate them entirely.
- Use different types of cherry tomatoes. There are a lot of different varieties of cherry tomatoes. If you use multiple types, you’ll end up with a more complex and interesting flavor. Plus, the dish looks a lot prettier when it’s full of different cherry tomato varieties.
- Make the recipe yours. This is a delicious pasta, but you can customize it based on what you like. If you want a more protein-rich dish, you can top it with some grilled chicken or shrimp. You can add more fresh herbs if you prefer, or double the basil and tomatoes if you want a more intense flavor. This recipe is great as is, but it’s also a wonderful baseline for creating new pasta dishes.
How to Store and Reheat Cherry Tomato Pasta
You can store this pasta in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. Reheat in the microwave or on the stove, and add a touch of water or olive oil if the pasta seems dry.
Can You Freeze This Dish?
This is a fast and easy weeknight pasta, but you can make it even faster and easier by keeping it in the freezer for when you need it. Just store the pasta in an airtight container, and it will last in the freezer for 6 months. Defrost, then reheat on the stovetop or in the microwave.
More Pasta Dishes to Try
We hope you loved this cherry tomato pasta as much as we do! If you did, then check out some of my other pasta recipes.
- Creamy lemon chicken one pan pasta skillet
- Baked feta pasta
- Chicken asparagus pasta
- Pasta primavera
- One pot Tuscan chicken pasta
This vegetarian cherry tomato pasta is a weekday staple. It's fresh, healthy, and hearty, and takes just 20 minutes to make.
- 4 ounces dried gluten-free spaghetti or pasta noodles of your choice, use Jovial Cassava Spaghetti, Palmini, Cappelli's, Shirataki or Banza for grain-free,
- 3 cups cherry tomatoes
- 2 cups baby spinach roughly chopped
- 1 bunch basil leaves about 10 to 12 leaves; roughly chopped
- 4 garlic cloves very thinly sliced
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt or to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper or to taste
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese plus more for garnish
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes optional
- 1 red chili pepper deseeded and finely chopped (optional)
- extra virgin olive oil for frying
- Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook pasta according to package directions until al dente. Drain and reserve 3/4 cups of pasta water.
- While the pasta is cooking, heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat.
- Add the garlic, and gently saute for about a minute or two, until the garlic is just beginning to color (being careful to not let burn). Add the tomatoes, oregano, salt and black pepper. Cook tomatoes for about 3-4 minutes until juices start to burst. Add the chopped chili pepper and cook for another minute or two until slightly softened.
Add the cooked pasta and reserved pasta water little by little until pasta is well coated and consistency is reached (I used a little more than 1/2 a cup). Allow to simmer for about a minute then add the red chili pepper flakes, chopped spinach, basil and Parmesan cheese. Turn heat to low and gently toss to coat evenly. Add more pasta water if needed. Remove from heat.
- Season more to taste if desired and serve with extra grated Parmesan cheese.
Love love love this recipe! My son (who hates all things vegetable) requests this pasta at least twice a month. We eat meatless every monday and this is Our #1 pick!!
Alysse Ohara -
I LOVE LOVE THIS RECIEPE. IT’S MY GO TO WHEN i’m Just toomfrazzeled to think od something at the last minute, or i just haven’t had it for a while! My husband never says a word when I place it in front of him.
Amber T -
Made it! Since I didn’t have any cherry tomatoes, I just cut up a hot house tomato and it worked like a charm. I also miffed up and saute’ed the basil with the tomatoes and garlic by accident, but it also worked out and was most delicious. Thanks for the easy meal plan!
Made this tonight for dinner. Super yummy! I added Aidells Italian sausage to it as it needed to be used up. Great combo. Thanks for such a simple, tasty, nutritious meal.
I’ve had this recipe pinned for a long time but finally made it tonight since I needed to use up my tomatoes and basil. Wish I’d tried it sooner — SO delicious!
So happy to hear that, Sheila! Thanks for letting me know! Have a great rest of the week!