Pesto Pasta with Tomatoes
This Pesto Pasta with Tomatoes only uses a few simple ingredients but packs a lot of flavor into every bite. This dish is a perfect meal to make any time of year but especially during the summer as it uses basil pesto and roasted tomatoes. This easy pesto pasta takes just 20 minutes to make!
Why This Recipe Works
- Using homemade basil pesto or storebought this recipe is full of flavorful herbs in every bite. You can use my homemade basil pesto recipe if you want. It’s a perfect solution for when the basil plants get large in summer and need to be used up.
- Adding grape tomatoes (or cherry tomatoes) to the dish not only helps to add flavor and freshness but also helps to make the plates look incredible. You can use freshly sliced tomatoes or for more flavor, I suggest using roasted grape tomatoes- they’re seriously the best!
- This pesto pasta with tomatoes uses sour cream with the noodles to help keep them moist and creamy. It also helps to prevent sticking, much like olive oil would do. The flavorful combination and texture really help to make this dish sing.
- It’s fast and easy! This dish takes just 20 minutes to make from start to finish and is loved by humans of all ages. In fact, this is my kids most requested meal… they call it “green noodles.”
- It’s easily customizable. You can add additional vegetables to this dish if you’d like such as sliced peppers or cucumbers and then top it off with chopped nuts. Or you can use kale pesto rather than basil pesto.
- Sour cream: This is what makes our pasta creamy. You can use full fat or light sour cream depending on what you have on hand or prefer.
- Grape tomatoes: Make your pesto pasta with tomatoes by using fresh or roasted grape tomatoes for added color, acidity, and flavor.
How to Make Pesto Pasta with Tomatoes
- In a medium saucepan, boil water and cook the pasta according to package directions until al dente.
- Drain the water and add the pasta to a large serving bowl.
- To your pasta, add in the basil pesto, sour cream, mozzarella pearls, and grape tomatoes.
- Stir the ingredients to combine.
- Season the pasta with salt and pepper to taste.
- Garnish the top with fresh basil and serve immediately.
If you don’t wish to use the sour cream in this recipe you can simply use a splash of olive oil to help keep the pasta moist. You won’t get the same creamy effect, but you will cut down on some fats and still end up with a tasty dish.
You can use any pasta variety you wish. I personally opt for penne noodles but you can use long fettucini noodles, rigatoni, rotini, or whatever else you have on hand. Just cook them as directed for al-dente so they can hold up to the sauce and taste great. Cooking times will vary.
Adding cheese is optional but of course, cheese always makes meals like this taste even better. For a more flavorful experience, I recommend using freshly grated parmesan cheese over the top just before serving. Yum!
Adaptations: to make this a healthier pesto pasta recipe use plain Greek yogurt in place of the sour cream and add some lean protein such as cooked shredded chicken (rotisserie chicken) or grilled chicken.
Yes, this is the great thing about jarred pesto sauce is that it’s ready to use as soon as you pop the lid open. Use it in pasta recipes like this one or in other dishes too. It’s awesome and incredibly simple. Just make sure that once the jar has been opened, that you keep it stored in the fridge when not in use. This will extend the shelf-life and keep it safe for future consumption.
Traditionally, pesto is made using a blend of fresh basil, garlic, salt, pine nuts, and parmesan cheese (or another hard cheese variety). To make it into a spreadable consistency it’s also given the addition of olive oil.
You don’t want to heat the pasta too much as cooking the basil in the pesto will cause it to lose flavor or even change colors. To safely reheat the paste to a warmer temperature place a portion on a microwave-safe plate and reheat until just warmed through. About 1-2 minutes. For large portions, place the pasta in a covered pot over medium to low heat and slowly reheat until it’s a little warmer than room temperature.
This meal will pair beautifully with so many different side dishes, here are some that I recommend you serve with this pesto pasta with tomatoes:
- Roasted frozen cauliflower
- Buttered vegetables
- Baked zucchini fries
- Green peas
- Easy oven roasted broccoli
Pesto Pasta with Tomatoes
- 16 oz pasta - any noodle variety will do, I used penne
- 1/2 cup sour cream - light or full-fat
- 1/2 cup basil pesto
- 8 oz mozzarella pearls
- 1 cup grape tomatoes - fresh or roasted! (see notes), cut in half.
- Boil water in a medium saucepan. Add pasta. Cook according to package directions or until al dente. Drain the water and add the pasta to a large serving bowl.
- To the pasta add the basil pesto, sour cream, mozzarella pearls, and grape tomatoes. Stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with fresh basil and eat immediatly.
This recipe was first published October 4, 2017 and was updated July 16, 2021 with additional photos and information.