Pasta with Summery No-Cook Tomato Sauce (Gluten Free and Vegan Optional)
Every summer, I find myself with an abundance of beautiful, picked-at-their-peak fresh produce combined with the unbearable heat and humidity that turns my kitchen into a sauna. And every summer, I spend most of my time standing in front the AC in my bedroom, making dashes to the kitchen just to throw a quick meal together that requires minimal effort. Oh the glamour of New York living. I want to eat all the fresh things, but I also can’t be bothered to stand over the stove for more than 15 minutes. This fresh tomato sauce fits the bill perfectly!
On a recent steamy day, I found myself craving pasta with tomato sauce. I had a ton of heirloom tomatoes from the farmers market waiting to be enjoyed, but I was not about to make a red sauce on the stove. I decided to try blending them to make a raw sauce instead. I added my trusty garlic and olive oil combo, plus a dollop of miso to add depth to the bright, fresh sweetness of the tomatoes. Miso gives it this rich, umami flavor and adds creamy texture. The sauce was served over fusilli pasta, and I engulfed the entire thing in 5 minutes. I then proceeded to hover over my blender and eat the rest of the sauce by itself with a spoon. That was a proud moment.
You guys, this sauce is minimal effort with maximum payoff and it’s so stinkin’ good! Both whole wheat and gluten free pastas work great here. The main star of the show are the tomatoes, so use the freshest, in-season ones you can find. I would advise against trying this with out-of-season tomatoes from the grocery store, as your sauce won’t be nearly as flavorful or delicately sweet. The main lift in the recipe is coring the tomatoes, which you can do while you cook the pasta and it only takes 5-10 minutes. Option to top with shaved parmesan or fresh ricotta (never a bad thing), but I didn’t use either and didn’t miss them. Serve as a main meal with a side of veggies and your preferred protein or as a side for a dinner party. This sauce is uncooked cooking at it’s finest! See my recipe notes for ideas to add more veggies.
30 minutes to prepare
Minimal effort needed
Features fresh, seasonal tomatoes at their best
Nutritiously packed with: lycopene, vitamin C, and potassium from tomatoes, fiber from pasta, probiotics from miso, and healthy fats from olive oil.
If you try this recipe, I’d love to hear what you think! Tag your photo #eatwelleatreal on Instagram. I’m excited to see your kitchen creations!
Pasta with Summery No-Cook Tomato Sauce
Recipe Notes: For the pasta, I listed whole wheat in the ingredients, but feel free to use your favorite gluten free pasta as well. I’ve served this sauce with Banza’s chickpea rotini and Bionaturae’s gluten free fusilli and both worked out great. I used fusilli but go with any short pasta shape that allows the sauce to coat the pasta nooks. Mmm, pasta nooks.
For the tomatoes, I recommend going with ones that have denser flesh and less water, like plum, roma or cherry. Tomatoes with a lot of juice like vines or beefsteaks will yield a watery, thinner sauce.
If you’d like to add more veggies, one option is to add handfuls of baby spinach leaves to the colander and drain the cooked pasta over the spinach to wilt the leaves. Drizzle olive oil on top and combine the spinach with the pasta. Then add the sauce. Alternatively, serve the pasta as is with side of sautéed greens or a simple arugula salad with lemon and olive oil. Keep it simple so you can focus on the main feature, the sauce!
1 lb whole wheat pasta
1 tsp olive oil
2 lbs fresh, ripe, high quality tomatoes (see notes)
¼ good extra virgin olive oil
2 heaping tbs white or yellow miso
2 small garlic cloves, roughly chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Handful of fresh basil, torn into small pieces
2 tbs salted butter (optional)
1/2 tsp honey or maple syrup (optional, I didn’t use)
Wash and core the tomatoes, making sure the seeds are removed. Roughly chop the tomatoes and place in a bowl. Pour the cores into a fine mesh colander (or cup your hands over the bowl that the cores are in) and carefully drain the juices into the bowl of chopped tomato. Set aside.
Cook pasta according to package until about 1 minute past al dente (because the pasta will not be cooking further in the sauce). Drain and rinse well with cold water. Toss with the olive oil and lightly season with salt.
While the pasta cooks, you can make the sauce. In a blender, add the tomatoes, olive oil, miso, garlic, and butter if using. Blend on medium for about 20 seconds for a chunkier sauce or 30+ seconds for a smoother sauce.
The sauce should be thick enough to cover the back of a wooden spoon without quickly dripping off. If the sauce is too thick, you can add a teaspoon or two of water. Taste and add salt (I used ¼ tsp) and pepper as needed. Adjust seasonings as you’d like. It should taste fresh and sweet, with a rich, creamy umami flavor from the miso. If your tomatoes are more on the tart side, you can add the honey/maple syrup and blend for a few more seconds.
Toss the cooked pasta with the sauce and top with basil. Serve at room temperature. If you’re making this ahead of time, top the pasta with the basil, and keep separated from the sauce until you’re ready to serve.