This Creamy Vegan Burst Cherry Tomato Pasta is the perfect easy, flavorful summer meal. It's filled with burst tomatoes, garlic, shallot, creamy cashew sauce and fresh basil. It tastes gourmet yet comes together in 25 minutes.
This is a dish that my family requests over and over again. It's been a weeknight staple around here all summer. It is incredibly simple to pull together, so you don’t need a lot of time or energy to make it. The dish is filled with fresh tomatoes, aromatics, fresh basil and the most satisfying creamy vegan pasta sauce. You'll fall in love!
Ingredients for Creamy Vegan Burst Cherry Tomato Pasta
This is one of those weeknight meals that comes together in minutes, it's filling, and it's so, so tasty. This pasta dish is the perfect way to use up seasonal tomatoes. Here is everything you need:
- Tomatoes - This cherry tomato pasta starts with peak-season produce. You can use as many varieties as you wish and even grape tomatoes work here.
- Fresh basil - Tomatoes with fresh basil are such a classic summer combo. I opted to julienne the basil leaves so I had small pieces that I distributed into the pasta and added fresh, bright herbs to every bite!
- Shallots - Shallots add SO MUCH flavor to recipes without being overpowering!
- Fresh garlic - I go heavy on the garlic with this recipe. Once sautéed it is mild and creates the perfect aromatic base for this dish. Garlic is low in calories and rich in vitamin C, manganese, and antioxidants. Many people use garlic to boost their immune system, help prevent colds, and even lower blood pressure.
- Extra-virgin olive oil – For richness.
- Red pepper flakes – For heat.
- Pasta (of course!) - I love using gluten-free quinoa or brown rice pasta here. The chewy, al dente noodles contrast perfectly with the juicy cherry tomatoes.
- Salt - To bring out all the flavors.
- Maple syrup - To help bring out the natural sweetness of the tomatoes.
- Tomato paste - To add a sweet, intense tomato flavor to the sauce.
- Cashew cream - This adds a dairy-free, creamy base that makes this dish so decadent.
- Pasta water - Reserved to help thin out the sauce as needed without watering it down. The starchy pasta water is perfect for adding creamy liquid to this dish if it starts to dry up as it sits after cooking.
How to Make Creamy Vegan Burst Cherry Tomato Pasta
I like to make this dish in my skillet on the stovetop. I layer the tasks by boiling the pasta while the tomatoes cook and burst open so that the dish can come together quickly.
The entire dish comes together in under 30 minutes so it is perfect for busy weeknights.
- Start by heating your skillet over medium heat and add oil, shallot, garlic, salt and red pepper chili flakes. Give the shallots enough time to get soft and translucent. While this is cooking you can make the pasta.
- Add the tomato paste and maple syrup which really boosts the flavor profile of the sauce. Add the tomatoes whole and cook until they literally burst open.
- Add your cooked pasta, cashew cream sauce and fresh basil and stir to combine. Add in any reserved pasta water (¼ cup at a time) to thin out the sauce if needed. Serve while hot and garnish with more fresh basil and a drizzle of cashew cream sauce if desired.
All About Tomatoes
I've spent most of my life experimenting in the kitchen and I even got an Master of Public Health degree and a Master Certified Health Education Specialist (MCHES through the NCHEC) to continue learning about food! I am fascinated by the ways different foods can impact our bodies and overall health.
Tomatoes are low in calories and high in potassium, vitamin C, and fiber. Vitamin C helps our immune systems thrive, and fiber encourages optimal digestion. The foods we eat each day have so much power!
More Fresh Tomato Recipes
All of these recipes are vegan and gluten-free:
- Tomato Basil Avocado Salad
- Salsa Fresca (Pico de Gallo)
- Baked Feta Pasta
- Greek Village Salad (Horiatiki: Tomato Cucumber Salad)
- Quinoa Tabbouleh
- Mediterranean Quinoa Salad
- Greek Orzo Salad
- Creamy Picnic Pasta Salad (no-mayo)
- Buckwheat Soba Noodle Salad
- Pasta Fresca
The Best Gluten-Free Pasta
Any pasta will work in this recipe! I always choose gluten-free pastas with short and simple ingredient lists. My favorite brands are Jovial brown rice pasta and Andean Dream's quinoa pasta. Check out my Ultimate Gluten-Free Product Roundup for more resources and recommendations.
Creamy Vegan Pasta Sauce
This Vegan Burst Cherry Tomato Pasta has a rich a creamy sauce made without any dairy products. It's full of flavor and so much easier than you may think! I used my Homemade Vegan Cashew Cream to make it creamy, and so indulgent. Learn all about How (and Why!) to Soak Cashews in this post.
I also wrote a comprehensive blog post on the nutritional and health benefits of cashews: Cashews Benefits for Vegans (+ Recipes).
However, if you are nut-free or do not wish to use cashews, you can swap it out for my Easy Sunflower Seed Cream Sauce.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do you get the tomatoes to burst?
Place dry whole tomatoes in the oiled skillet with the aromatics and they will naturally start to "burst" after 10-15 minutes over medium heat. Larger, underripe tomatoes may take closer to 20 minutes to burst.
The tomatoes will not actually burst/explode but will start to breakdown, blister slightly, sear. The tomato skin starts to get wrinkly and then the tomato skin splits/separates and loosens, allowing the natural juices of the tomato to release slightly. They start to eventually shrivel up a bit and get jammy.
What tomato works best here?
Cherry tomatoes work the best in this recipe. Grape tomatoes are another great option. If you have other tiny tomatoes, you can use them here too. A variety of types and colors is fine. The more the merrier!
Can you make this recipe in advance?
You can make the cream sauce in advance but I find gluten-free pasta is best when made fresh.
You could also sauté the aromatics and tomatoes in advance (to give them time to burst) and store that until you cook your pasta. Then combine with the pasta and cream sauce. The pasta will absorb the sauce as this dish sits so it will not be as saucy the longer it sits.
This is one of our favorites and I make it frequently this time of year! It's vegan, gluten-free, soy-free, and made without refined sugar. If you give it a try please drop a review below or tag me in a picture on social media so I can see! I hope you enjoy this gluten-free, plant-based meal as much as my family does.Print
This Creamy Vegan Burst Cherry Tomato Pasta is the perfect easy, flavorful summer meal. It's filled with bursty tomatoes, garlic, shallot, creamy cashew sauce and fresh basil. It tastes gourmet yet comes together quickly.
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 large shallot, diced
- 5 large cloves garlic, diced
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper chili flakes
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 1.5 pounds cherry or grape tomatoes
- 8 ounces gluten-free pasta of choice, cooked according to package instructions*
- ½ cup vegan cashew cream
- ½ cup reserved pasta cooking water as needed
- ½ cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
- Preheat a 12-inch cast iron skillet over medium heat on the stovetop. Add olive oil and once shimmering add the diced shallot, diced garlic, salt and red pepper chili flakes. Turn the burner to low heat and sauté for 5 minutes until shallots are translucent and fragrant.
- Add the tomato paste and maple syrup. Sauté another minute.
- Wash and dry the tomatoes. Add them to the skillet and sauté for 10 minutes over low heat.
- Add the cooked and drained pasta along with ½ cup cashew cream. Stir well to combine. Add the reserved pasta water to thin the sauce as needed. Garnish with fresh basil leaves just before serving. Serve while hot.
- Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to five days.
The sauce will continue to absorb into the pasta as it sits, so to rehydrate it and make it creamy again add some of the pasta cooking water ¼ cup at a time while the burner is on low heat.
* I love to use either Jovial brown rice gluten-free pasta or Andean Dreams quinoa pasta. You can find all my favorite gluten-free pantry staples linked here.
- Prep Time: 5
- Cook Time: 20
- Category: Dinner
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: Italian
Keywords: Creamy Vegan Burst Cherry Tomato Pasta