Vegetarian Sun-Dried Tomato Pasta

Late in the winter, as it starts to turn to spring, the sun comes out and we all start to spend a lot of time outdoors. But there aren’t a lot of fresh vegetables available yet. If you are like me and try to eat more seasonally, you are done with all the winter veggies and want something fresh and of course healthy.

But Fresh tomatoes are months away (I just planted my little tomato seedlings) and I have a long time to wait before I can have fresh, sun-kissed tomato sauce. So what is the next best thing? Sun-Dried Tomato Sauce.

That’s where this creamy sun-dried tomato pasta recipe comes in. It’s fast, easy, and packs in some amazing fresh flavor from the herbs, and tomatoes.

Vegetarian Sun Dried Pasta Ingredients
Vegetarian Sun-Dried Pasta Ingredients
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The Inspiration

Sun-Dried tomatoes packed in olive oil are an amazing way to preserve the fruit (who doesn’t know that a tomato is a fruit), and the process actually makes them taste a little sweeter, too!

Drying fruits in the sun isn’t new. It is a way to preserve them so you can enjoy them long after the harvest is done, and regular fresh fruits would have gone bad.

Originally tomatoes were laid out on tile roofs and salt was added to preserve them. Over the next week or so, the water from the tomato would evaporate, leaving behind a shriveled little red ball that would be canned in olive oil, and last for months on the shelf.

This process preserves all the “good stuff” like lycopene, antioxidants, and vitamin C which are naturally found in fresh tomatoes.

Chopping Sun dried tomatoes
Chopping Sun dried tomatoes

What I love about this dish

Aside from the fresh flavor, and how fast it is to make, the best thing about this dish is that you don’t need any extra oil.

I use the oil right from the jar of sundried tomatoes to sautee the onion, garlic, and herbs.

You can use whatever pasta you like with this dish, too. My favorite is a good linguine noodle, but spaghetti, rotini, bow-tie, and many others work too. In fact, you can use it with that old box of pasta you have sitting in the back of the cupboard if you want. It will taste amazing!

Cooking Onions Garlic and Herbs in Sun Dried Tomato Oil
Cooking Onions Garlic and Herbs in Sun Dried Tomato Oil

Substitutions and alterations

This is a super tasty and easy-to-prepare dish. Very forgiving and hard to mess up. I like to use Fettuccini pasta, but you can sub in anything you want. Spaghetti, Rotini, Spiral, it all is good!

  • Gluten-Free option – The only item in this dish that has gluten protein is the pasta. Substitute a Chickpea, or brown rice pasta if needed
  • Vegan Option – Don’t use the Ricotta or parmesan. Or use a vegan version
  • Carnivore Option – Not every dish needs meat.

Goes with

Leftovers and freezing

This dish is great the next day. If you make a whole box of pasta, and don’t have a big family (or teenagers) you will most likely have leftovers. They can be stored in the fridge for a day or 2. Eat cold, or reheat in the microwave for a few minutes. Add some fresh Parm on top for extra yumminess.

Sun Dried Tomato Pasta

Sun-Dried Tomato Pasta

This is a fast dish. In the amount of time it takes to cook dried pasta, you can have a nutritious and tasty meal!
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Course Lunch, Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Servings 6
Calories 550 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 8 oz Sun-Dried Tomato Packed in Oil
  • 1 lb Fettuccine
  • ½ Red Onion Chopped
  • 4 Cloves Garlic Chopped
  • 1 TSP Smoked Paprika
  • ½ TSP Dried Chili Flakes
  • 1 TBSP Dill
  • 8 oz Ricotta
  • 1 Lemon Juiced
  • 1 C Parmesan Cheese Grated
  • ¼ C Fresh Basil Chopped
  • 1/4 C Fresh Cilantro Chopped
  • Salt for Pasta Water & Seasoning

Instructions
 

Prepare Pasta

  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add salt (see notes below for info on boiling pasta water)
  • Once water is boiling cook pasta according to directions.

Prepare sun-dried tomato sauce

  • Heat a skillet over medium-high heat, and add in the oil the tomatoes were packed in.
  • Add the chopped garlic, onion, chili flakes, dill, and smoked paprika. Cook until onions are soft
  • Add in the chopped Tomato, and Parmesan and turn off heat.
  • Put the ricotta at the bottom of a serving dish and add lemon juice. Mix.
  • When the pasta is cooked, drain, and add directly to skillet with sauce.
  • Mix well and place on the bed of ricotta. Garnish with chopped fresh herbs, and Enjoy! 💚

Notes

I like to boil my pasta in a HUGE pot of Heavily salted water.  For one pound of dried pasta, I use a 6-quart pan with a built-in strainer.  I bring it to a full, rolling boil, and then dissolve a lot of salt in it – 3-4 tablespoons which is about twice the amount most people recommend.  This does two things – it increases the temperature of the boiling water which changes the way the pasta cooks, and it also imparts a little more flavor into the noodles.  
Be careful when chopping the tomatoes.  They were packed in oil, and no matter how careful I am, everything seems to get slippery from that.  Let me know if you have any tricks to help out!
Keyword pasta, Sauces, Spring
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