This tomato basil pasta is easy to throw together with just a handful of ingredients! Loaded with flavor and perfect for weeknight dinners.
If you're one of those people lucky enough to have already generated a bumper crop of fresh tomatoes and/or basil from your garden, well this recipe is perfect for you! And if you're failing at gardening like me, then head on out to the farmers' market to get some ingredients — you're going to want to make this one. It's super easy to make and perfect for a weeknight dinner!
What You'll Need
- Pasta. The recipe calls for capellini (also known as angel hair) pasta, but feel free to use your favorite pasta shape.
- Olive oil.
- Red pepper flakes. These will add a little kick to the dish. Leave them out for a milder version, or add extra for more heat.
- Fresh tomatoes. The recipe calls for plum tomatoes, which work really well in this dish since they have minimal seeds. You can substitute another variety of tomato if that's what you've got on hand though. Even cherry tomatoes will work — just cut them in half.
- Balsamic vinegar. Use a good quality balsamic that's thick and syrupy.
- Fresh basil. You absolutely can't sub dried basil in this dish — it just won't be the same!
How to Make Tomato Basil Pasta
The following is a detailed photo tutorial on how this dish is made. Scroll all the way down if you'd like to skip right to the recipe.
- Get all of your prep work out of the way — cook and drain your pasta, dice your tomatoes, mince the garlic, and chop the basil. This dish comes together fast, so you'll want all your ingredients to be ready when you need them.
- Heat the oil in a large skillet, then add garlic and red pepper flakes. Sauté them very briefly, and be careful not to let anything burn.
- Add the diced tomatoes, balsamic vinegar and salt. Stir it up and heat everything for about a minute — the goal is to just heat up the tomatoes without fully cooking them.
- Add the pasta and toss everything to distribute the ingredients. Just cook the mixture long enough to heat up the pasta.
- Take the skillet off of the burner and stir in the basil. Add more salt if you'd like.
- Enjoy your tomato basil pasta all by itself, or top it with a sprinkle of vegan Parmesan cheese.
Leftovers & Storage
This dish is best served immediately, but if you do have leftovers they'll keep in a sealed container in the fridge for about 3 days.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yup! Just use your favorite gluten-free pasta.
I don't recommend it. A big part of the appeal of this dish is the fresh, barely cooked tomatoes, and you just can't get that with canned. If you've got canned tomatoes to use up you could always try another recipe, like my penne arrabbiata.
I don't find it to be necessary, but if the texture of tomato peel bugs you, go right ahead!
If you follow the recipe and use plum tomatoes you probably won't find it necessary, since they contain so few seeds. If you substitute with a seedier variety you may want to remove at least some of the seeds.
More Easy Pasta Recipes
- Pasta with White Wine Sauce
- Easy Lemon Broccoli Pasta
- Balsamic Asparagus Pasta
- Roasted Red Pepper Pasta
- Lemon Brussels Sprout Pasta
Easy Tomato Basil Pasta
- 8 ounces dried capellini pasta
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus a dash
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 ½ pounds diced plum tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- ½ teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
- 1 cup fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook it according to the package directions until al dente.
- Drain the pasta into a colander, return it to the pot, and toss it with a dash of olive oil.
- Coat the bottom of a large skillet with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and place it over medium heat.
- Give the oil a minute to heat up. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes, and sauté them for about 2 minutes, stirring constantly and watching carefully to avoid burning. Take the skillet off the heat immediately if they do begin to burn.
- Add the tomatoes, balsamic vinegar, and salt. Stir the mixture well and cook it for 1 to 2 minutes — just long enough to heat the tomatoes.
- Stir in the pasta and cook it with the other ingredients just until hot, about 1 minute.
- Remove the skillet from heat and stir in the basil. Season the pasta with additional salt to taste.