Fast, fresh cherry tomato sauce with fettuccine is the ultimate vegan comfort food when you're in a hurry and craving carbs! It's packed with big flavors and mega crunch from summer tomatoes, sun dried tomatoes, vegan feta cheese, fresh spinach, basil, toasted pine nuts, and crispy capers! Ready in 20 minutes and EVERYONE loves it!
We are a pasta loving family and this pasta with cherry tomatoes and spinach is a favorite summer meal. It's packed with a buffet of fresh veggies, creamy feta, and crunchy nuts and capers in every single pasta lovers bite.
As a busy mom, it's a life saver to have some quick and easy, hearty recipes to turn to like this simple pasta with cherry tomato sauce and my chickpea pancakes, cauliflower chickpea tacos or a big pot of vegetable bean soup!
Ingredients You'll need
You'll only need to gather up a few basic ingredients to make this taste cherry tomato pasta with spinach and feta cheese:
- Pasta: I use fettuccine most of the time, but you can easily sub in any pasta - rotini and penne work well also. Choose your favourite gluten free pasta noodles or try it with spaghetti squash!
- Cherry tomatoes: Fresh cherry tomatoes make up the bulk of this sauce. Choose the reddest, most flavourful, ripe cherry tomatoes you can find.
- For flavor: Sautéed onions, garlic, sun-dried tomatoes, and a splash of wine add tons of flavor.
- Spinach + Basil: Fresh spinach and basil are stirred in at the last minute (just until wilted). If you don't have fresh spinach on hand, defrost frozen spinach and squeeze out excess liquid before using.
- Feta Cheese: Vegan feta cheese chunks add an incredible creamy-saltiness that is becomes soft and irresistible as it softens. Make homemade vegan feta or buy your favorite store brand.
- Garnishes: I add red pepper flakes for heat and toasted pine nuts for crunch.
- Optional topping: Fried capers add the most incredible oily, crunchy, salty texture and flavor ever! They are optional, but I wouldn't skip them!!!
How to Cook al dente Pasta
You'll want to be sure your pasta is cooked to perfection (al dente - to the tooth) - tender but firm. Pro Tip: Fresh pasta takes only a few minutes to cook while dry pasta takes much longer.
- Add salt to a large pot of boiling water.
- Choose a pot that is large enough - don't crowd the pasta.
- Set the timer as per the recommended time on the package (different types of pasta will require more or less time). Start at the lower end of the recommended time, test a piece of pasta, and then adjust the cooking time accordingly.
- Drain the pasta.
- Toss with a drizzle of oil, and set aside.
Fresh Pasta Recipe: If you want to make your own delicious, homemade pasta from scratch, try (Fresh Vegan Pasta recipe). It's pretty easy!
How to Make Cherry Tomato Pasta
- Start the salted water for the pasta.
- Sauté the onions and garlic - don't rush this step it develops loads of flavor and sweetness.
- If making the fried capers, heat the oil, pat the capers dry and fry them over high until they transform into crispy, salty little balls of deliciousness! Around 3-5 minutes.
- Add the other ingredients to the sauce.
- Once the pasta is ready, drain and add to the cherry tomato sauce in the pan. Stir in the spinach and basil.
- Toss to incorporate, top with feta, capers, and garnishes. Voila, ready to serve.
- Gluten Free Option: this creamy cherry tomato pasta is gluten free adaptable. Choose your favorite gluten free pasta - fettuccine, penne or rotini.
- Feta Cheese: If you are interested in making homemade vegan feta cheese, I recommend making it a day or two in advance and storing in the fridge.
- Making a pasta swirl: Once you've tossed the pasta with the cherry tomato mixture, using a pair of tongs, dig into the middle of the pasta noodles. Then using a large serving spoon, twist it into a beautiful tall tangle of noodles on individual plates or bowls. Spoon some of the cherry tomato and spinach sauce onto each swirl of pasta and garnish with feta crumbles, fresh basil ribbons, toasted pine nuts, crispy capers, and hot pepper flakes.
- Serve with a warm wedge of crusty bread to sop up all the garlicky-tomato and cheesy bits.
Storing and Leftovers
If you are lucky enough to have any leftovers, this vegan pasta recipe stores well in the fridge for several days. It does not freeze well.
I’ve served this pasta about a zillion times over the years to family and friends - it's always a crowd pleaser. I hope you'll enjoy it too!
More Vegan Pasta Recipes
If you love a super flavorful and filling pasta dish, here's some more of our favorite vegan pasta dishes to try next:
- Creamy Mushroom Pasta - fast and easy!
- Easy Vegan Lasagna Roll - honestly this one will knock your socks off
- Cal-Ital Lasagna with Sausage - this is THE BEST vegan lasagna with a twist ever
- Easy Tofu Pasta - with extra delicious Italian herb crusted pasta
Check out many more sensational vegan, dairy-free, pasta recipes on my pasta page!
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Cherry Tomato Pasta with Spinach (vegan)
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- 4 servings fettuccine or pasta of choice
Fresh and Sun Dried Tomato Sauce
- 1 tablespoon oil from sun dried tomatoes (or splash of broth)
- ½ cup red onion, chopped
- 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
- ½ cup white wine
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (to taste)
- 4-6 pieces sun dried tomatoes, chopped
- 2-3 cups cherry tomatoes
- 2 cups fresh spinach, chopped
- ½ cup fresh basil, cut into ribbons
- ¼ cup vegan feta (store bought or homemade)
- sprinkle toasted pine nuts
- ¼ cup crispy fried capers (optional)
- Boil salted water for the pasta. Prepare as per package instructions.
Crispy Capers (optional but not really!)
- If making the crispy capers (recommended): heat enough oil to cover the bottom of a small saucepan or small skillet over medium-high heat.
- While the oil is heating, pat the capers dry the capers with paper towels or a kitchen towel.
- Once the oil is shimmering, remove the pan from heat, carefully spoon the capers into the oil (watch for oil splattering). Return to the heat. Stir or shake them around occasionally to ensure even cooking.
- Cook until the capers open up and become crispy and golden (~3-5 minutes). Pro Tip: save the oil the capers cooked in to add flavor to your next dish!
- Let them drain in a single layer on a paper towel until just before serving.
Cherry Tomato Sauce
- Have all the ingredients prepared and handy once you start cooking.
- In a deep skillet or wok style pan, heat the oil* until shimmering. Add the onions and garlic and saute over medium-high until the onions are translucent and turning golden about 4-6 minutes.
- *Can use some of the oil from frying the capers.
- Add the wine to deglaze the pan then lower the heat to medium. Cook for another 3-5 minutes to reduce the liquid.
- Stir in red pepper flakes, chopped sun dried tomatoes (approx. ¼ cup) and cherry tomatoes. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed.
- Back to the Pasta: Drain the pasta and add it to the tomato sauce in the wok/pan.
- Add the spinach and vegan feta cheese (if using) and toss to incorporate. The spinach will wilt within a couple of minutes and then presto, it’s ready.
- Top with basil ribbons, toasted pine nuts, crispy capers, and a sprinkle of hot pepper flakes.
- Pro Tip: For the crispiest capers, pass them to be sprinkled on each serving.
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