This easy pasta recipe features summer’s finest – tomatoes! Roasted Tomato and Walnut Pesto Pasta is a gluten free and vegetarian-friendly pasta recipe that everyone will love!
I think this might be one of my favourite pasta dishes so far!!
And for good reason, of course. It’s delicious, obviously. But it’s totally seasonal (Hello! Mid-August loves tomatoes and fresh herbs!) and quick and easy and a complete crowd pleaser.
Here we use garden fresh tomatoes, tons of herbs, a little garlic and walnuts for a healthy, gluten free and vegan possible pesto sauce that is so perfect over pasta.
If I want to make something special for my man, I make this roasted tomato pesto. (Romantic, I know.)
I mean, I love this pesto sauce (especially slathered all over the finest GF pasta) but he reaaaally loves this pesto sauce on just about anything (or, you know, right from the food processor with a spoon). Which is a little bit weird because he normally would never be so keen about anything tomato based.
I’m not judging.
But he just can’t get enough. And for good reason, it’s kind of delicious.
MORE ABOUT THIS ROASTED TOMATO AND WALNUT PESTO PASTA RECIPE…
I love August for the fact that it’s pretty much the month of all things tomatoes. It seems like anyone who has a tomato plant (or 2 or 3 or 10) is swimming in a sea of red tomatoey goodness. And I love it. And I really love trying to come up with really creative ways to use up all said tomatoey goodness. Enter the Roasted Tomato and Walnut Pesto.
Maybe I should be calling this a pan-roasted tomato and walnut pesto because let’s get one thing straight – there are very few things that my oven gets turned on for during August and oven roasting tomatoes for a pasta dish is not one of them. (Zucchini muffins, definitely. But tomatoes, not so much.) So, instead of heating my apartment up to crazy temperatures by using the oven, everything is done on the stove top.
I like using cherry or grape tomatoes for this pesto sauce. They are a little but sweeter and a little bit easier to evenly roast away in the pan. And I like using lots of them!
This tomatoey pesto sauce is what inspired my Roasted Red Pepper Pesto Pasta recipe a little while back. (Yeah, I’ve been sitting on this recipe for a while… sorry!) So, the process and cooking instructions are pretty similar.
Once the tomatoes are roasted, everything goes into the food processor. Tomatoes, garlic, fresh parsley and basil, walnuts and a little bit of parm are processed until smooth. Then it is pretty much just heat and toss and eat.
Dinner doesn’t get much easier and can be served in about 30 minutes, which means it is perfect for a busy nights or weekends when you don’t want to spend the entire day making dinner (#gamechanger). And even better – this meal is completely gluten free (when you use your favourite gluten free pasta), totally vegetarian (or even vegan when you substitute the parmesan cheese for a little bit of nutritional yeast or just pass on it all together) and really just so fresh and simple and delicious.
Dinner is ready, friends!Print
For the Roasted Tomatoes:
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 cups cherry or grape tomatoes, washed and dried well
- 1 tablespoon water
For the Roasted Tomato and Walnut Pesto
- Roasted tomatoes (from above)
- 1 large clove of garlic
- 1 cup (loosely packed) fresh parsley, roughly torn or chopped
- 1/4 cup (loosely packed) fresh basil, roughly torn or chopped (or just more parsley)
- 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese*
- 1/4 cup raw walnuts, roughly chopped
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Pinch of fine sea salt
- Fresh ground pepper
For the Pasta:
- 1 package (about 1 lb) gluten free pasta (I like long noodles the best)
- Parmesan cheese, fresh basil for garnish (optional)
- *substitute 1-2 tablespoons nutritional yeast or simply omit for vegan option
For the Roasted Tomatoes:
- In a large skillet with a tight fitting lid, heat oil over medium-high heat.
- Add the tomatoes and water then quickly cover the pan. Cook for 5-8 minutes, shaking the pan occasionally, or until the tomatoes burst and have released some of the juices. (Be careful to reduce heat slightly if tomatoes start burning or sticking the bottom of the pan.)
- Remove from heat and let cool for 5 minutes. (Set skillet pan aside for use later on.)
For the pasta:
- While the tomatoes are cooking and cooling, boil a pot of water and cook the pasta noodles according the package directions.
For the Pesto Sauce:
- While the pasta is cooking, make the pesto sauce.
- Add the slightly cooled tomatoes, garlic, parsley, basil, walnuts, oil, cheese (or nutritional yeast) salt and pepper to a food processor. Process until mostly smooth, scraping the sides of the bowl if needed. Season with additional salt and pepper if needed. This yields about 11/2 – 2 cups of pesto sauce.
Putting it all together:
- Transfer the pesto sauce to the skillet pan used earlier. Gently heat the tomato pesto over low heat.
- Stir about 1/4 cup of starchy cooking liquid from the pasta pot into the pesto sauce.
- Drain the pasta and rinse with cold water if necessary. (If you are using brown rice pasta, rinsing is definitely necessary.)
- Add the pasta to the pesto sauce and toss to combine and evenly coat each noodle.
- Serve the pasta immediately garnished with extra cheese and basil.