Spaghetti with Tomatoes & Basil

A light pasta dish that’s quick & easy to make and perfect for the summer.

Spaghetti with tomatoes & basil
Spaghetti with tomatoes & basil

This is such a simple dish & so very tasty. DH made it last week when we were away with friends & they loved it too.

Our dried spaghetti takes around 10mins to cook, if you are using fresh you might find it better to put the pasta on after you have added the tomatoes to the pan.

Spaghetti with Tomatoes & Basil

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
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  • 0.25 cup good olive oil
  • 3 cloves crushed garlic
  • 2 pints small cherry tomatoes
  • 9 large basil leaves, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh curly parsley
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 0.5 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 0.5 teaspoon freshly ground salt
  • 0.25 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 200g dried wholewheat spaghetti (or other pasta of your choice)
  • 0.75 cups freshly grated VEGETARIAN Parmesan-style cheese
  • Extra chopped basil and grated Parmesan for serving


  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
  2. Add the pasta to the pot of boiling water and cook as per instructions on the packet.
  3. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large pan. Add the garlic to the oil and cook over medium heat for 30 seconds. Be careful not to burn it!
  4. Add the tomatoes, basil, parsley, thyme, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for five to seven minutes, tossing occasionally, until the tomatoes begin to soften but don’t break up.
  5. Drain the pasta, reserving some of the pasta water.
  6. Place the pasta in a large serving bowl, add the tomatoes and Parmesan, and toss well. Add some of the pasta water if the pasta seems too dry. Serve large bowls of pasta with extra basil sprinkled on top and a big bowl of extra Parmesan on the side.

Like this?  How about:

Mushroom Pasta Bake

Mushroom Pasta Bake
Mushroom Pasta Bake

DD2(2) has recently developed a love of mushrooms.  As DD1(4.75) will currently only tolerate them raw I am keen to encourage this so I thought I would try her with a Mushroom Pasta Bake & this recipe by mamacook seemed to fit the bill.

Now I am not a huge fan of cheesy sauces or too much mushroom (half a bowl of mushroom soup is always enough for me), but a portion of this was perfect for me & DD2 *loved* it 🙂

Mushroom Pasta Bake

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


  • 130g Wholewheat Pasta
  • 260g Chestnut Mushrooms
  • 200ml Milk
  • 1 tbsp Cornflour (cornstarch)
  • 2-3 tbsp water
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tsp oil
  • 75g Extra mature Vegetarian cheddar
  • 1 tsp chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard


  1. Preheat the oven to 200C
  2. Cook the pasta as instructed
  3. Bring the milk to the boil in a saucepan and then mix the cornflour with enough water to make a paste
  4. Add the cornflour/water mix to the milk, whisking all of the time until thickened, then add in half of the cheese, the thyme and mustard and set to one side
  5. Fry the mushrooms in the oil with the chopped garlic until softened
  6. Mix the mushrooms, pasta and sauce together and put into a baking dish sprinkling with the remaining cheddar
  7. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until bubbling and browned

Like this?  How about:

Spaghetti & Quorn Meatballs

Spaghetti & Quorn meatballs
Spaghetti & Quorn meatballs

We don’t eat a huge amount of Quorn, but these meatballs are good to have in the freezer for a quick & easy meal.

This recipe serves 2 – DD1(2) & I had them for our lunch & she loved them.  I can’t remember what DD1 thought of them last time I gave them to her!


  • 6-8 Quorn meatballs
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes
  • wholewheat spaghetti
  • fresh basil, chopped


  1. Put a pan of water on ready for the spaghetti
  2. heat 1 tbsp oil in a pan & gently soften the onions for a few minutes
  3. heat 1 tbsp oil in another pan & add the quorn meatballs stirring occasionally
  4. add the garlic to the onions & stir for a minute or two
  5. add the tomato puree to the onions & stir well for another minute
  6. stir the tinned tomatoes into the onions, bring to the boil & simmer
  7. add the spaghetti to the boiling water
  8. continue to stir the sauce & the meat balls until everything is cooked
  9. drain the spaghetti.  Add the meatballs to the sauce, stir again and serve with the spaghetti & basil

Like this?  How about:

Veggie Meatballs & Pasta

Veggie meatballs with pasta
Veggie meatballs with pasta

I got this recipe for veggie meatballs from katielovescooking

She used an egg to bind her meatballs together, but I didn’t need it – if fact, I added more breadcrumbs to my mix as they were too wet & squishy!   She also added some parmesan to her balls, but I missed that out as I didn’t have any Vegetarian equivalent in the house.

The meatball mixture can be used straight away, or covered with cling film and kept in the fridge overnight/for a few hours until needed which sounded perfect to me.  I made the balls in the afternoon while DD2 napped, then DH & I had them for dinner later that evening.


For the meatballs
  • 200g tinned lentils
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 0.5 chilli, finely chopped – optional
  • 50g Vegetarian Parmasan-style cheese – optional
  • 100g ricotta or cream cheese e.g. philadelphia
  • 2 slices of bread made into breadcrumbs (Just whizz them up in a blender)
  • Salt and pepper
For the sauce
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes
To serve
  • pasta
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 220C
  2. Drain the tinned lentils.  Whizz in a blender.  
  3. Add the onion, garlic and chilli,  ricotta/cream cheese, breadcrumbs, cheese, seasoning and mix. 
  4. Form the mixture into balls, and place on a baking tray. Bake in the oven for about 20 mins, turning them so that they brown evenly.
  5. Heat some oil in a saucepan & gently cook the onion until softened
  6. Add the garlic and stir
  7. Add the tinned tomatoes, and stir again.
  8. Gently simmer the sauce for about 15mins.
  9. Cook the pasta
  10. When everything is ready, serve & enjoy!

Penne Puttanesca

Penne Puttanesca
Penne Puttanesca

Pasta & olives? It sounded good to me & went down very well with the whole of the family – we will definately be having this again!

I made a couple of changes to the original recipe – I didn’t add any capers (because I HATE them), so added more olives. I didn’t use chilli flakes (because I was giving this to the kids) – oh, and we didn’t have penne (because DD1 asked for curly pasta). Perhaps I should rename this recipe?!


  • 200g dried pasta
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup black olives, pitted and sliced
  • 1/2 cup green olives, pitted and sliced
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 2 tins chopped tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon dried Italian herb mixture
    • Oregano
    • Thyme
    • Basil
    • Rosemary
    • Sage
    • Freshly ground peppercorns
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley (preferably Italian flat-leaf parsley), divided


  1. Heat the oil in a heavy skillet over medium to medium-low heat. Add the garlic, and saute for one minute. Add the olives, and red pepper flakes. Saute for 2-3 minutes. Do not let the garlic burn (this is always a challenge to me)
  2. Add the diced tomatoes, the Italian herb mixture, and 1/2 tablespoon of the parsley. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Raise heat to medium-high, and bring the mixture almost to a boil.
  3. Reduce heat to low, and simmer, uncovered, over medium heat for 15-20 minutes.
  4. Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Drain.
  5. Add the cooked/drained penne to the skillet, and toss to coat all of the pasta with the sauce.
  6. Top with the remaining 1/2 tablespoon of parsley, and serve.

Lentil bolognese

I saw this fabulous recipe on my WordPress reader & 10 minutes later I was making it for the kids tea!

It was very easy to make & delicious – even when it was missing an onion (I had none in the house). I usually make it with carrot & courgette, but have to peel & finely chop the courgette to avoid any protests from the children.


  • Generous glug of olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely diced
  • 1 handful of veg e.g, finely chopped mushrooms, courgette, or carrot
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed or finely chopped
  • a good squeeze of tomato puree
  • 100g red lentils
  • 1 tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 400ml of low salt vegetable stock

To serve

  • Pasta – spaghetti seems the obvious choice, but we find fuslli is easier for very little hands to deal with
  • Large handful of fresh basil leaves, torn or fresh parsley, chopped (optional)
  • Vegetarian Italian Parmasan-style cheese (optional)


  1. Fry the onion and veg in the oil for 5 minutes. Add the garlic and tomato puree and fry for another minute or so.
  2. Add the lentils and stir so that they are nicely coated with the oily veg mix.
  3. Add the tin of tomatoes and half the stock. Give everything a good stir and then bring to a boil. Cover with a lid and simmer for 10 minutes.
  4. Stir the sauce and add the remaining stock. Cover the sauce and continue to simmer for 5-10 minutes until the lentils are completely cooked. You can always add further stock/ water if the liquid is absorbed or you’d prefer a more saucy bolognese.
  5. Add the fresh herbs if using and serve with spaghetti or other pasta. You can also grate some hard cheese on top if you wish (just make sure it’s vegetarian!)

Country Vegetables & Pasta

DD1 (3.8) saw a picture of this in my vegsoc magazine & asked to have it for lunch. Although they do stock some other (very tasty looking) “Amy’s Kitchen” meals at my local supermarket, they don’t do this one, so I will have to make something similar looking instead.

At first glance, I thought it was just pasta & red pepper, but the website informs me it actually contains “..freshly harvested broccoli, julienned carrots, potatoes, red sweet peppers, baked tofu and tender gluten free fusilli pasta immersed in a creamy mature Cheddar cheese sauce”

Both the DDs loved it!


  • 125g pasta
  • tofu
  • broccoli
  • red pepper
  • 2 carrots

For the cheese sauce

  • 50 g VEGETARIAN mature Cheddar, grated
  • 250 ml milk
  • 20 g plain flour
  • 20 g butter
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
  • a little freshly grated nutmeg
  • salt and freshly milled black pepper


  • Pre-heat the oven to 220C & put the grill on.
  • Drain the tofu by wrapping in paper towels or tea towels.
  • Roast the peppers:
    • grill under medium heat, turning frequently, as necessary, until the entire pepper skin has turned black and blistery.
    • Remove from oven and place peppers into an airtight container such as a bowl with a lid, or a plastic or paper bag.
    • Let the peppers rest in the container for 10 to 15 minutes to build up steam that is needed to aid in the removal of the pepper skin.
    • Remove from container and peel off the skin.
    • Cut the pepper in half, core and remove seeds.
  • Bake the tofu
    • Cut tofu into (1-inch) cubes and arrange them in a single layer on a large parchment paper-lined baking sheet.
    • Lightly spray tofu all over with cooking spray and bake, flipping halfway through, until golden brown and just crisp, about 40 minutes total.
  • Prepare the veg
  • Put the pasta on & steam the veg until tender (~10mins)
  • Meanwhile, make the sauce;
    • place the milk, flour, butter and cayenne pepper into a medium saucepan and place it over a gentle heat. Then, using a balloon whisk, begin to whisk while bringing it to a gentle simmer.
    • Whisk continually until you have a smooth, glossy sauce, and simmer very gently for 5 minutes.
    • Then add the cheeses and whisk again, allowing them to melt.
    • Then season with salt, freshly milled black pepper and some freshly grated nutmeg.
  • Mix the pasta, tofu & sauce together abd serve with the veg

Sausage Pasta Bake

I asked DH for suggestions for a weekend lunch & he suggested a pasta bake.

I’ve always been a bit sneery about pasta bakes – what’s the point of dirtying all those pans cooking the pasta & sauce, and then dirtying a dish in the oven too?  But, DH was going to cook & wash up, so I thought he we should give it a go.

DH seemed to rustle it up quite quickly (I was busy playing lego), and I was surprised to find I really liked it!  DH & DD1 (3.8) both liked it too, but DD2 (14m) didn’t seem that keen, but I’m starting to suspect that she’s not that keen on pasta <gulp>


  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion , chopped
  • 1 garlic clove , crushed
  • 400g can chopped tomatoes
  • few dashes VEGETARIAN Worcestershire sauce (we like Henderson’s Relish)
  • 100g penne or other tube-shaped pasta
  • 50g VEGETARIAN cheese, grated
  • 2 slices of bread made into breadcrumbs
  • 4 VEGETARIAN frankfurters, sliced (we like the Tescos & Quorn ones best)

to serve

  • salad or green veg


  1. Heat the oil in a medium pan and fry the onion for 5 mins until softened and lightly golden. Stir in the garlic and cook for a further min. Mix in the tomatoes and sugar, bring to the boil and simmer for 20 mins. Add a few dashes of Worcestershire sauce and season to taste.
  2. Meanwhile, cook the pasta & frankfurters according to pack instructions.
  3. Heat the grill to high. Mix together the cheese and breadcrumbs.
  4. Drain the pasta and stir into the sauce.
  5. Slice the frankfurters and add to the sauce.
  6. Spoon the sauce into a heatproof dish. Scatter over the cheesy crumbs and grill for 3-5 mins or until bubbling hot and golden.
  7. Serve with a simple salad.

Spaghetti with Tomatoes, Black Olives, Garlic, and Feta

I saw this on Pinterest (follow me!)  & thought the kids would like it, but had to make a few changes…. I can’t stand capers, so there was no way they were going in.  I used cherry tomatoes & didn’t bother de-seeding (because I’m lazy), The kids all love olives, so added a whole jar of them.  I also warm the tomatoes & olives before serving.  I very rarely add salt when cooking, and made no exception here.

Serves 1 adult & 3 children.


  • 325g cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 cup pitted black olives
  • 115g feta cheese, crumbled
  • 3 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
  • 300g spaghetti
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced


  1. If the olives are in brine, rinse them thoroughly & then drain.
  2. In a large pot of boiling water, cook the spaghetti until just done (about 10 minutes).
  3. Meanwhile, in a medium frying pan, heat the olive oil over moderately low heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 minute, then add the olives and tomatoes
  4.  When the spaghetti is cooked, drain & serve topped  with the warm tomatoes & olives.
  5.  Garnish with the herbs.

Pasta, Sauce & veg

This is such an easy recipe, it seems pointless to post it, but here goes.


  • enough pasta for 2 adults & 2 small children
  • a good glug of olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • a big squeeze of tomato puree
  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes
  • some veg, e.g. broccoli, carrots, peas, sweetcorn
  • pitted olives (optional)


  1. put the kettle on to boil
  2. gently heat the oil in a pan, add the onion & garlic & cook over a gentle heat until softened
  3. put the boiling kettle water into a big pan for the water & the steamer for the veg
  4. stir in the tomato puree to the onion & cook for a couple of minutes
  5. add the tin of tomatoes, bring to the boil & then reduce to a simmer
  6. add the pasta & veg to the appropriate pans
  7. serve when the pasta & veg is cooked

Note: DD1 (3.5) needs this to be served in separate piles. Pasta must be naked. <sigh>