Last updated on January 15th, 2023 at 07:25 pm
With plump tomatoes that pop in your mouth and salty dark olives, this spaghetti with tomato sauce is a lively and full-flavoured pasta dish.
This recipe was originally posted April 23, 2017 and republished February 25, 2022 with new images, process photos, FAQ's, recipe instructions and tips.
Why This Tomato Spaghetti is a Favourite
It's quick. It's easy. And you'll have enough to feed four to five people in the time it takes to order a pizza.
I've had such great feedback from readers on this recipe. It's quick, family-friendly and smack-your-lips good.
Reader Reviews. "This recipe is excellent! So simple and quick to make; this is my go to dinner when I'm pressed for time. " (Aleesha) ★★★★★
"Fantastic pasta dish! It's so full of flavour!" (Jennifer) ★★★★★
Why we love it:
- It's a one-pot meal! Who doesn't love less dishes?
- This easy dinner is ready in around 12 to 15-minutes.
- Tomato spaghetti is a kid-friendly favourite
- It's a really versatile dish - if you want to add kale, do that. Hate olives? Leave them out.
What You'll Need | Ingredients
Spaghetti. Spaghetti means "little twine," and variations include spaghettini (thinner), spaghettoni (thicker), bucatini (thicker with a hollow center) capellini (very thin) and angel hair.
Use spaghetti or bucatini in this pasta. Anything smaller, like angel hair, and you will end up with a gluggy dish.
Crushed tomato and cherry tomatoes. You can use crushed or diced canned tomatoes or bottled passata. You can also swap the cherry tomatoes for 1 or 2 medium-size diced tomatoes.
Miso paste. This recipe is inspired by one of my favourite BIWV (Before I Went Vegan) dishes, Puttanesca. Made with anchovies, puttanesca has a deep full-bodied tomato flavour; I am happy to find that a similar depth can be copied using miso paste.
I use red miso most often but Shiro will work here too.
Olives. Pitted kalamata olives are king but you can use a pitted green olive for a milder flavour.
Chia and hemp seeds. I know these ingredients are a total curveball but hear me out. Firstly, the hemp seeds are completely optional.
The chia seeds, however, help to thicken the sauce. We want our spaghetti to be perfectly cooked which, depending on the pasta you use, may leave you with a more liquidy sauce.
Pro Tip: Stirring through chia seeds thickens the sauce while keeping your spaghetti perfectly cooked.
Olive oil. We use a goodly glug of olive oil here to prevent the pasta from sticking and to add depth so use the best quality you can.
Spinach. I use baby spinach most often but most leafy greens will work. Add finely sliced kale or chopped sorrel for something different.
How to Make This Super Easy Pasta
You'll find full instructions and measurements in the recipe card at the bottom of the post.
This vegan pasta is really simple. Basically there are only 2 steps.
Step 1. Add all the ingredients except the chia seeds, the hemp seeds and the spinach, to a large pan. You'll need a pan large enough for the pasta to fit lengthways. Pop the pan on the hob and add the boiling water.
Turn the heat up to high and, stirring regularly, bring it up the boil.
As soon as it is boiling, reduce the heat to medium. Cook for three minutes, stirring often to ensure the pasta doesn't stick and the flavours combine. Continue cooking for another 4-5 minutes or until the pasta is almost al dente. We want it slightly undercooked.
Step 2. Remove the spaghetti from the heat and stir in the chia seeds, the hemp seeds (optional) and the spinach. Pop a lid or cover on the pot and leave it to sit for a few minutes for the chia seeds to soften and the sauce to thicken.
If your sauce is already lovely and thick, you won't need to add the chia seeds.
And that's it. Your lip-smacking spaghetti with tomato sauce is ready for the table.
Sprinkle with vegan parmesan or nutritional yeast and some fresh herbs to serve.
1. Choosing spaghetti: Different brands may differ in cooking time. Cook until al dente, add the chia and hemp seeds and set the pot aside for a few minutes; the sauce will thicken as it cools.
I use an egg-free dried spaghetti for this recipe and the cooking time is eight minutes.
2. Don't wing it with the water: Measure out the boiling water to make sure you have enough to cook the pasta properly. Any excess liquid will be absorbed by the chia seeds to create a thick sauce.
3. If your sauce is already lovely and thick, you won't need to add the chia seeds. You can if you like, but you don't have to.
Yes! I've made this recipe with lentil penne and chickpea fussili and the cook time was about the same.
Stored in a sealed container, the pasta will keep for 2 to 3 days in the fridge. The dish is not as "saucy' after refrigeration as the noodles continue to absorb moisture but it's still good.
Need more fast and family-friendly meals? Try these tried and tested favourites.
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Spaghetti with Tomato Sauce + Olives
- large pot
- 500 grams dried spaghetti egg-free
- 80 ml olive oil
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes heaping
- 400 g passata or crushed canned tomatoes
- zest of two lemons
- 1 tablespoon miso paste red
- 2 garlic cloves peeled and crushed
- ½ cup kalamata olives pitted
- ½ - 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1200 ml boiling water 1200 ml
- 2-3 cups baby spinach finely sliced
- ¼ cup chia seeds
- 2 tablespoon hemp seeds optional
- ¼ cup vegan parmesan or nutritional yeast optional
- cracked pepper to serve
- handful fresh basil finely sliced
- Boil 1.2 L water in a kettle.
- Roughly chop the cherry tomatoes in half
- Put the pasta, laying flat, in a wide, shallow pan (wide enough for the spaghetti to lie flat)
- Throw in the tomatoes, olive oil, passata, lemon zest, miso, garlic, olives and sea salt
- Put the pan on the stove top on high heat and pour over the boiling water. Stir the ingredients together and bring the liquid up to a boil.
- As soon as it is boiling reduce the heat to medium. Cook for three minutes, stirring often to ensure the pasta doesn't stick and the flavours combine.
- Cook for another five minutes, stirring occassionally or until the pasta is just al dente. Taste and season with more salt if needed. The sauce will still be quite liquidy at this stage.
- Add the spinach, chia seeds, hemp seeds and vegan parmesan and stir through. Remove the pan from the heat, cover it with a lid and allow it to sit for 2 to 3 minutes. At the end of the 3 minutes remove the lid and give the pasta a good stir checking that the chia seeds are soft and have absorbed a good amount of the cooking liquid. If not, give it another minute.
- Stir in fresh basil and serve with a good crack of black pepper.