Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Fresh Garden Tomato No-Cook Pasta Sauce Recipe with Garlic, Basil, and Thyme (Easy to Cook, Meatless)

This No-Cook Pasta Sauce with Garlic, Basil, and Thyme is a wonderful summer-into-fall way to use fresh garden tomatoes!

Fresh Garden Tomato No-Cook Pasta Sauce Recipe with Garlic, Basil, and Thyme

For many years I turned my nose up at the idea of no-cook pasta sauce. I'm not sure why, but for some reason I had it in my mind that you needed to cook tomatoes to make a flavorful pasta sauce. Was I ever wrong about that! in 2007 I first made this Fresh Garden Tomato No-Cook Pasta Sauce with Garlic, Basil, and Thyme, which has to be one of the best tasting things I've made with fresh tomatoes.  Since then this no-cook sauce has been one of my favorite ways to use tomatoes when they're at their peak of flavor, especially at this time of year when you've had lots of tomato salads and you'd like something a bit more substantial to do with those fresh tomatoes.

(Fresh Garden Tomato No-Cook Pasta Sauce with Garlic, Basil, and Thyme was updated with new photos and step-by-step instructions, September 2013.)  

I first saw this recipe in Fine Cooking Magazine, which is what tipped the scales in favor of me trying it. If you haven't discovered Fine Cooking, I'm rapidly becoming convinced it's the ultimate in cooking magazines. So far, every recipe I've tried from it has been completely a keeper, including this one.  I hope you'll try the recipe, and if you do, I predict it will become one of your all-time favorite ways to use garden tomatoes.  (This recipe could easily be Gluten-Free or Paleo if you eat it over spaghetti squash, and the sauce is Vegan without the added Parmesan cheese.)

Cut up 3-4 large fresh tomatoes into pieces and put in a glass or plastic bowl (not metal.)  You need 3-4 cups of fresh tomatoes for 4 servings of pasta.

Chop up a generous amount of fresh basil leaves.

Also chop a tablespoon or two of fresh thyme leaves.

You'll need minced garlic, sea salt, and hot pepper flakes to season the pasta.

Stir all those ingredients together with 1/2 cup of your very best olive oil.

Let it sit on the counter for at least an hour, or as long as 6 hours, and the pasta sauce is ready.

Cook your favorite pasta shape and drain well.

Then put pasta back in pot you cooked it in, add the sauce, and gently combine.  Serve while the pasta is still hot, with a generous amount of freshly grated Parmesan cheese to add at the table.

No Cook Pasta Sauce!
And just for fun, here's the original photo of this recipe from back in 2007!

Fresh Garden Tomato No-Cook Pasta Sauce with Garlic, Basil, and Thyme
(Makes about 4 generous servings, recipe slightly adapted by Kalyn from Fine Cooking Magazine.)

3-4 large vine-ripened fresh tomatoes, cut into 1/2 inch pieces (about 3-4 cups tomatoes)
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil (use your best olive oil for this)
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh basil
1 T fresh thyme leaves
1/2 tsp. finely minced fresh garlic (or more if you love garlic)
1/2 tsp. sea salt (or more to taste)
pinch Aleppo Pepper or other hot pepper flakes
about 8 oz. pasta of your choice (I used Dreamfields Penne)
freshly grated Parmesan cheese for serving

Wash tomatoes, pat dry, then cut away stem part and cut tomatoes into 1/2 inch pieces. (Be sure to save as much of the tomato jelly around the seeds as you can since it's the most flavorful part) Put diced tomatoes into large glass or crockery bowl.

Wash basil leaves and spin dry or dry with paper towel. Finely chop basil with chef's knife and add to tomatoes. Wash several thyme branches, pat dry, then strip off the leaves into bowl with basil and tomatoes. Add olive oil, garlic, sea salt, and aleppo pepper and gently combine. Let sauce mixture sit on the counter at room temperature for at least one hour and as long as all day.

When ready to eat, cook pasta in boiling salted water for 8-9 minutes, until barely al dente. Drain pasta well, then put back into cooking pot, pour in sauce mixture and gently combine. Put pasta on individual serving plates and serve with lots of fresh-grated parmesan cheese. (Raw tomatoes should never be refrigerated, so I recommend making only as much as you will eat at one meal.)

Click Here for Printer Friendly Recipe

South Beach Suggestions:
Sauce like this combined with Dreamfields pasta or other low carb or whole-grain pasta is a perfect meal for phase two or three of the South Beach diet. For phase two, I would eat a small serving of the pasta, with big serving of perfect salad. For phase three, you could have a larger serving of pasta.

Nutritional Information?
I chose the South Beach Diet to manage my weight partly so I wouldn't have to count calories, carbs, points, or fat grams, but if you want nutritional information for a recipe, I recommend entering the recipe into Calorie Count, which will calculate it for you.

More Tasty Ideas for Fresh Garden Tomatoes:
(Recipes from other blogs may or may not be South Beach diet friendly, check ingredients.)

How to Use Garden Tomatoes (a week of ideas) ~ Kalyn's Kitchen

No Cook Tomato Sauce from Andrea's Recipes

Whole Wheat Spaghetti with No-Cook Sauce of Tomatoes, Arugula, Olives, and Capers ~ Kalyn's Kitchen

Simple Summer Raw Tomato Sauce over Spaghetti Squash ~ Clean and Delicious

Penne Pasta with Tomato, Herb, and Feta No-Cook Sauce ~ Kalyn's Kitchen
(I find these recipes from other blogs using Food Blog Search.)

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More to Chew On:


  1. I love no-cook tomato sauces! It brings out the best flavor of summer tomatoes.
    We can make the slow-cooking sauces in winter with the fozen or canned ones ;-)

  2. This sauce looks simple and delicious! Nice photos too! The colors are so vibrant:)

  3. Perfect for those last few lazy days of summer! I also sent the vanilla beans off today, so hopefully they will make it to you by Friday!

  4. Looks great. I'm loving tomato week!

  5. Oh thank goodness I now have Aleppo pepper! How happy am I. This is really breathtaking!
    The store is fun Kalyn but the spices are the same!

  6. I love finecooking, and I love this no cook pasta sauce. Thanks Kalyn! :)

  7. Gotta love a tasty recipe like this. I'm holding on to this one for a night where I'm short on time. I love quick dishes that can be made with little or no cooking time.

  8. Hi Kalyn,

    This looks great. I also just happen to have several ripe tomatoes harvested out of the greenhouse over the past weekend, with a few more to come out tomorrow, so will definitely be giving this a go.

    On a different note, I have been running into Aleppo pepper a lot of late in recipes and cannot source it here in Ireland.

    However the internet came to my rescue and suggested a substite of 4 parts sweet paprika and 1 part cayenne pepper. I thought that might be of use to anyone else who cannot source the real deal.

  9. Hi Kalyn - thanks for this recipe. It's cool! Incidentally my day care provider gave me some fresh tomatoes from her garden. So this is good timing.


  10. pnne pasta, my favourite! I often use sun-dried tomato and alfredo sauce, but this works fine for the non-lavish days:)

  11. No cook tomato pasta sauce is great. Yours looks good. I will have to try adding some fresh thyme the next time I make it.

  12. Hi Everyone,
    You can tell I am at work all day now by the way I don't answer comments, but I do read them all!

    Glad everyone thinks this looks good; I loved it!

    Rob, thanks for the tip on Aleppo pepper. You can also get it online at

  13. Kalyn, this is a fabulous way to use tomatoes.

  14. I don't know Kalyn, if I could leave that sitting on my counter for 6 hours. I think I would just splash some balsamic vinegar on it, get a spoon and call it a day.

  15. I love this in summer, especially sitting outside in the sun with a glass of wine.

  16. I have a few no cook pasta dishes I like. Here is one of mine.

    I will have to give yours a try.

  17. No cook sauces are so refreshing! It must have been fantastic with tomatoes from your garden.

  18. Hi Kalyn,

    Thanks for the recommendation to Penzeys - their website is my new favourite playground.

    I have prepared the tomatoes for dinner this evening and it is marinading away on the counter.

    Thanks again for this and all the other wonderful tomato recipes. I have lined up so many to try in the coming weeks that I will probably look like a tomato by the end of it...

  19. Mmmm... so comforting! I'm loving tomato week :)

  20. Absolutely gorgeous, Kalyn! This is such a fantastic (and easy) way to enjoy all of those garden-sweet tomatoes. And I agree with you about Fine Cooking Magazine. It's one of my favorites.

  21. Thanks Hari, Kiran, and Dara. I am in love with this sauce.


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