This Bruschetta Pasta recipe is packed with fresh tomatoes, basil, garlic, and olive oil. It comes together in a mere 15 minutes with 6 ingredients and you don’t have to cook anything except the pasta! Just mix up a simple Bruschetta, and toss with warm pasta for one of the easiest, fastest recipes of your life. And it’s vegetarian (vegan optional)!
Really? 15 minutes? YUP. You’ve got to make this easy pasta recipe as soon as possible, and before summer ends! And as long as you have olive oil, salt, and pepper, you just need 6 more ingredients. It’s so easy!
My favorite part about this recipe is that it doesn’t require any cooking aside from the pasta.
You just mix all the ingredients in a bowl to make a quick bruschetta, let it sit for a few minutes, then toss with the warm pasta when it’s ready. No roasting anything or heating up your kitchen… and a really minimal amount of dishes for easy clean up. It’s the perfect summer pasta recipe!
Ingredients and Substitutions
- Pasta – any kind will do. I used penne, because it’s what I had, but I think next time I’ll try spaghetti. Traditional pasta creates the best starch to make the tastiest, most luxurious sauce, but you can easily use whole grain pasta, chickpea or gluten-free pasta, etc.
- Garlic – I recommend fresh cloves of garlic minced finely, but you can use refrigerated minced garlic in a pinch.
- Fresh basil
- Fresh tomatoes – any kind will do. Chop up large ones into approximately 1/2 inch pieces, and halve or quarter cherry tomatoes (I used cherry since that’s what’s growing in my garden).
- Shredded parmesan cheese – I like shredded rather than finely grated in this recipe. You can substitute all or part with Romano, Pecorino, or another hard Italian cheese. Or, use your favorite vegan substitute or omit for a vegan version of this recipe.
- Balsamic vinegar
- Extra-virgin olive oil, kosher salt, and black pepper
How to make Bruschetta Pasta
This pasta with tomatoes and basil comes together in only a few steps in 15 minutes! Here are the details.
- First, cook the pasta in heavily salted water until al dente (look at the package for exact timing depending on brand and shape).
- While the water is boiling and the pasta is cooking, multitask! Chop the tomatoes and basil, mince the garlic, and grate the cheese.
- In a large bowl, mix the tomatoes, basil, garlic, parmesan, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper. Set aside and stir on occasion until the pasta is done cooking.
- Once the pasta is done, transfer the pasta to the tomato mixture with a slotted spoon.
- Mix it up and let it sit for 5-10 minutes to allow the sauce to thicken, stirring occasionally.
Tips and Tricks
- If you have a little extra time, you can mix up the tomato and basil bruschetta mixture ahead of time to allow the flavors to marry and the tomatoes to soften. Do this up to two hours in advance and refrigerate until needed. Longer than that, and it may get soggy.
- The sauce at first may seem really thin. Try to be patient and give it time to rest, if you have time. The longer the pasta sits with the bruschetta mixture, the thicker and more luxurious the sauce will be.
- If your tomatoes seem really watery, you can blot them dry with a paper towel after chopping before adding them to the bowl. This isn’t 100% necessary but may result in a more flavorful, thick sauce. Using Roma tomatoes may also help since they aren’t as watery as other varieties.
- I recommend using a high quality aged balsamic vinegar. The flavor is more concentrated and sweet, rather than acidic, and will really amp up the flavor of this pasta.
Can I make it ahead of time?
I think this recipe is best served a few minutes after cooking, when it’s still warm but the sauce has thickened.
That said, the leftovers are also delicious reheated OR served cold! So if dinnertime will be rushed, go ahead and make it in advance and either reheat it or serve it straight from the fridge.
I recommend eating leftovers within 24 hours as it will get fairly soggy after that.
What to serve with Bruschetta Pasta
This pasta with fresh tomatoes and basil is a great recipe for a light meal on its own, but if you want to bulk it up here’s what I suggest.
- Add a vegetarian protein like chickpeas or white beans, or some fresh mozzarella or burrata to the pasta.
- Serve it as a side with Greek Chicken Bites, Roast Chicken, or simple and healthy Poached Chicken Breasts.
- For seafood lovers, pair it with Pan-Fried Sea Bass, Baked Haddock, Seared Scallops, or Oven-Fried Catfish, or add some cooked shrimp to the pasta.
- Just go for all the carbs and serve it with freshly baked crusty bread and olive oil dipping sauce.
Other easy, summery pasta recipes
- Caprese Pasta Salad with Creamy Balsamic Dressing
- Spaghetti with Burrata and Veggies
- Spaghetti with Arugula, Cherry Tomatoes, and Feta
- Crispy Pesto Gnocchi with Goat Cheese and Cherry Tomatoes
- Chicken and Broccoli Linguine with Lemon Butter Basil Sauce
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Bruschetta Pasta (Pasta with Tomatoes and Basil)
- Bring a heavily salted pot of water to a boil. Add the pasta (8 oz.) and cook according to directions until al dente.
- Meanwhile, make the bruschetta. Add the minced garlic (2 cloves), olive oil (1/4 cup), balsamic vinegar (1 tablespoon), fresh basil (1/2 cup), chopped tomatoes (2 cups), and shredded parmesan cheese (1/2 cup), as well as 1/2 tablespoon of kosher salt and 1/4 tablespoon black pepper to a large bowl. Mix together and set aside as the water boils and pasta cooks, stirring occasionally and allowing the flavors to marry.
- When the pasta has finished cooking to al dente, use a slotted spoon to transfer it directly from the pot to the bowl with the bruschetta. (Alternatively, you can set aside 1/4 cup of the pasta water and drain in a colander, and mix the reserved pasta water in with everything in the large bowl).
- Mix everything together in the bowl and allow to sit for about 5 minutes to absorb the flavors and thicken a bit, stirring occasionally. Taste and season to taste if needed.
- Serve with extra basil, parmesan, and black pepper if desired.
- It’s important to allow this pasta to sit for a few minutes so the sauce thickens. If it seems too thin, just give it a little more time. There may be more or less liquid depending on the kind of tomatoes you use- the chopped tomatoes may be blotted dry or seeded before using if this is a concern for you.
- I used penne for this. It would be great with spaghetti, farfalle, linguine… whatever! Traditional white pasta will work best for creating a sauce because of it’s starch content, but you can use whole wheat pasta, or a gluten-free pasta such as chickpea or rice if you prefer.
- To make this vegan, substitute the parmesan cheese with your favorite substitute or omit it.
- Traditional parmesan cheese may not be suitable for a strict vegetarian diet because it contains animal rennet. If you prefer, you can look for a suitable vegetarian substitute, such as a parmesan made with plant rennet.
- This pasta can be served warm as is, or made ahead, refrigerated, and served cold within 24 hours.
- Serve this pasta as a light meal on its own, or pair with grilled chicken or shrimp, or bulk it up with some fresh mozzarella, burrata, or white beans for more protein.