I recently hosted an end of summer bash and I wanted to cook up food that celebrates summer flavors. The menu included lots of fruits and veggies like cucumbers, carrots, tomatoes, bell peppers, limes, and strawberries. This Roasted Tomato Pasta Salad was a crowd favorite, and some people were surprised to learn that it is vegan!
While I am not vegan, when I host a party I think it is important to accommodate my guests’ dietary restrictions. I knew that at least one friend is vegan so I thought I would use that as recipe inspiration for this pasta salad. The sauce is made with pureed oven roasted tomatoes with a bit of roasted red pepper. Pureeing the tomatoes makes them creamy, even though no cream is added. More roasted tomatoes, slices of roasted red pepper, and basil get mixed in with rotini, which holds the perfect amount of sauce. I do want to point out that I used Barilla brand pasta because it is made without eggs, so it is vegan. This was also incredibly convenient when a friend with an egg allergy stopped by.
This recipe can be served hot or cold, and if you aren’t dairy-free, you can certainly add some mozzarella balls or Parmesan! I ate the leftovers warm with a bit of Parmesan sprinkled over.
The super cute napkins and rose gold plastic forks are all from Paris312, a local company that very kindly provided me with supplies for my party.
Roasted Tomato Pasta Salad
- 3 cups of Grape or Cherry Tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons Olive Oil
- Salt and Pepper
- 1 1/2 boxes of Rotini
- 2 Red Bell Peppers
- 10 Basil Leaves
Heat your oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet (one with edges) with parchment paper. I like the parchment paper because it collects the delicious tomato juices and prevents them from burning.
Next slice the tomatoes in half, and spread them out on the parchment lined baking sheet. Drizzle with the olive oil, and then generously sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast the tomatoes for 15 minutes, they should be soft and juicy.
While the tomatoes are roasting, bring a pot of salted water to boil and cook the rotini until al dente.
Roast the bell peppers by placing them directly over the flame of a gas stove and charring the skin. Let them cool, and remove the stem, seeds, and membrane and peel the charred skin off. If you don't have a gas stove, you can wait until the tomatoes have roasted and slice the peppers into large pieces then char them under the broiler.
Pour 2 cups of the tomatoes, and all of their juices in the pan into a blender. Add half of one of the red peppers. Puree until the sauce reaches a creamy frothy smooth consistency. Add salt and pepper to taste if necessary.
Drain the pasta and pour it back into the pot you used to cook it. Pour the sauce over the pasta, and add the remaining tomatoes. Slice the rest of the bell pepper and add it. Chop the basil, add that to the pasta and then toss all of the ingredients to combine. Serve warm right away, or serve it chilled.