Italian Summer Pasta for hot summer days! This vegan pasta dish is tossed with hand-crushed tomatoes, herbs, and olives, with a drizzle of olive oil and some vinegar to brighten things up. It couldn't be easier to make or more delicious to eat.
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Anyone else hate turning their oven on when it's hot outside?
I naturally find myself reaching for more simple meals at this time of year - both simple to make, because it's too hot to be sweating away in the kitchen, and simple flavours, because the produce at this time of year deserves a chance to shine.
This Italian Summer Pasta ticks all of the boxes. It celebrates all of the best flavours of summer with fresh tomatoes and herbs, and takes no longer to make than it takes you to boil up a pot of pasta.
Why this recipe works
The produce is uncooked, which means this is a one-pot meal.
Italian Summer Pasta is a perfect summer evening meal, preferably eaten outside. For a vegan pasta salad, the leftovers pack well for picnicking, or for packed lunches if you like.
Another thing I love about this Italian Summer Pasta is that it's great served warm - just toss the hot pasta directly in with the tomatoes - but it's equally good served cold or at room temperature.
The recipe as written is totally vegan, but if cheese is your thing (it's most definitely my thing) I heartily endorse tearing up a ball of good buffalo mozzarella (or burrata, if you can get your hands on it) to scatter over top.
You'll find specific quantities of ingredients in the printable recipe card at the end of this post. For now, here's a quick overviews. You're going to need to grab some:
- Pasta! --> Choose your favourite pasta shape - I used corkscrews.
- Tomatoes --> Little cherry tomatoes or baby plum tomatoes are best for this vegan pasta salad.
- Olives --> I used salty black olives, but you can sub in your favourite. Capers would be delish too.
- Red onion --> optional, if you like a bit more kick to your pasta.
- Garlic --> Sliced thin as heck.
- Herbs --> Fresh basil and oregano are going down here.
- Olive oil --> Use your good stuff here.
- Red wine vinegar --> For a l'il bit of tang.
- Salt and pepper --> For flavour and whatnot.
How do you make this recipe?
Start by putting a pot of water on to boil. Salt it well, add your pasta, and cook it to al dente.
While your pasta is cooking, slice the tomatoes in half. Then, place them into a serving bowl and get in there and squish the ish out of them with your hands. It's dinner making and stress reduction all rolled into one!
Add the olives, herbs, garlic, onion (if using) vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper to the tomatoes. Give everything a good stir, and let the flavours meld together while the pasta finishes cooking.
When the pasta is finished, drain it well and pour the hot pasta directly on top of the tomato mixture.
Toss everything together, and adjust the seasonings if necessary.
That's it! You're done!
Want to add more protein?
Want to add more protein to your vegan pasta salad? Try swapping in legume pasta (I like this chickpea pasta) for half or all of the pasta here. You can also add some cubes of tofu feta or some chickpeas.
Eat gluten free?
Use rice, quinoa, or legume pasta instead of regular.
Want to bump up the vegetable content?
Add in a few big handfuls of in-season greens. They'll wilt down to next to nothing when you add in the hot pasta.
Can this recipe be made in advance?
It sure can! This meal really doesn't require much in the way of prepping or chopping, but you can certainly enlist help for the tomato squishing job. It's a perfect task for little hands, too.
Your pasta is perfect cold or at room temperature, so it can be made up to a day in advance and just chill in the fridge till you're ready to serve.
Hey Nutrition Lady, are tomatoes good for you?
Folks, tomatoes are juicy little bombs of nutrition.
Tomatoes are known for their antioxidant content, notably lycopene - which can help reduce your risk of prostate cancer, fellas!
Other antioxidants include vitamin C, and beta carotene. As far as phytonutrients go, tomatoes are at the top of the charts. They contain flavonoids, carotenoids, and glycosides to name just a few.
Eating tomatoes has also been shown to be beneficial for the profile of fats in our bloodstream. Specifically, tomato intake has been linked to reduced total cholesterol, reduced LDL cholesterol, and reduced triglyceride levels. This makes our hearts happy!
Tomatoes are also an excellent source of vitamin K, copper, potassium, manganese, dietary fiber, vitamin A, vitamin B6, folate, niacin, vitamin E, and phosphorus.
Other pasta dishes you might enjoy:
Tortellini Pasta Salad
Vegan Rice Noodle Bowls
Very Green Vegetable Pasta
Orecchiette with Broccoli and Lemon
One-Pan Vegetable Gnocchi Bake with Ricotta
Vegetarian Pesto Pasta with Roasted Tomatoes
Italian Summer Pasta
- 14 oz rotini pasta regular or whole wheat
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes halved or quartered
- ½ cup pitted Kalamata olives halved
- 1 clove garlic thinly sliced or crushed
- 1 bunch fresh basil leaves about ½ cup torn
- 2 tablespoon fresh oregano de-stemmed and roughly chopped
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 6 tablespoon good quality extra virgin olive oil
- salt and freshly ground pepper
- Put a large pot of water on high heat. When it has come to a rolling boil, salt generously and place the pasta in to cook until al dente - about 10-15 minutes depending on your pasta.14 oz rotini pasta
- While the pasta is cooking, prep everything else.
- Add halved cherry tomatoes to a large bowl, then scrunch them with your hands to break down a bit.1 pint cherry tomatoes
- Now add torn basil, oregano, crushed garlic, and red wine vinegar, olives, and olive oil.½ cup pitted Kalamata olives, 1 clove garlic, 1 bunch fresh basil leaves, 2 tablespoon fresh oregano, 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar, 6 tablespoon good quality extra virgin olive oil
- When the pasta has finished cooking, drain, and immediately add the hot pasta to the waiting vegetables.
- Toss well to combine, season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve.salt and freshly ground pepper
- Nutrition values are an estimate only.
Originally published August 2014. Last updated June 28, 2022.