Pesto Penne with Burst Cherry Tomatoes, a simple plant-based penne pasta recipe with burst cherry tomatoes, crispy garlic, and pesto sauce. Great served warm or cold!
Love pesto pasta? This simple pesto penne with cherry tomatoes and garlic uses all plant-based ingredients, comes together in only 20 minutes, and is great warm or as a cold pasta salad.
👉 Ready to learn how to make penne with pesto sauce? Let’s do it!
🎥 Recipe video
Watch me make this simple penne pesto recipe!
- Penne pasta: regular, whole wheat, gluten free, or even a protein-packed chickpea or bean pasta
- Cherry tomatoes: cooked until bursting for a boost of flavor
- Garlic: sliced thin and cooked until crispy
- Pesto sauce: any pesto sauce works well with this recipe (try our Carrot Top Pesto Sauce or Pumpkin Seed Pesto Sauce)
- Olive oil: a touch of oil to cook the vegetables
- Salt: to salt the water for flavorful pasta
- Recommended tools: pot, pan, knife, cutting board
🥣 How to make (step-by-step photos)
1️⃣ Step One: Cook penne pasta
The first step to making pesto penne is to…cook the penne!
Check your pasta package instructions, but typically this means:
- Bring a pot of water to a boil and adding salt to salt the water.
- Add pasta, then cook until al dente, about 7-8 minutes.
- Drain and set aside.
👉 Pasta pro tip: Try whole wheat pasta for more fiber, gluten free pasta if avoiding gluten, or a chickpea or bean-based pasta for a boost of protein.
2️⃣ Step Two: Cook cherry tomatoes and garlic
While the pasta is cooking, it’s time to make the cherry tomatoes.
Do this by heating olive oil in a pan over medium heat and add cherry tomatoes, cooking until they burst and release their liquids, about 5 minutes.
Add garlic and cook until it begins to brown and become aromatic, about 1-2 minutes. Remove pan from heat to avoid overcooking the garlic.
3️⃣ Step Three: Combine pasta ingredients
When pasta is done, add the drained pasta to the pan and top with pesto sauce. Stir to mix ingredients, then serve!
👉 To serve it cold: If you’d like to serve this pasta cold as a pasta salad, simply let it cool on the countertop before storing in the refrigerator for at least an hour. It’s great as an easy cold pasta lunch!
💡 Ideas for serving
- As a main course. Great as it’s own main course, this recipe is perfect for a plant-based pasta dinner.
- As a cold pasta salad. Store it in the fridge as serve cold as a pasta salad.
- As a simple side dish. Make it on the side with a protein and a vegetable.
- Mix in greens for extra veggies. Add a handful of spinach or arugula to make this into a salad.
🧊 How to store and reheat
- Refrigerator storage: Store leftover penne pasta in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4-5 days.
- Freezer storage: Store in the freezer in a freezer-friendly bag or container up to one month. To thaw, remove to refrigerator 24 hours before serving.
- To reheat: Reheat in a pan over medium heat for 5 minutes or in the microwave for 1 minute.
🌱 More plant-based pasta recipes
Pesto Penne with Burst Cherry Tomatoes
- 1 pot
- 1 pan
- 8 ounces penne pasta about 2 cups
- 2 tablespoons salt for pasta water
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes
- 2 cloves garlic sliced
- 8 fluid ounces pesto sauce about 1 cup
- Cook penne pasta: Cook 8 ounces penne pasta according to package instructions. Typically this means bringing a pot of water to a boil and adding 2 tablespoons salt to salt the water. Add pasta, then cook until al dente, about 7-8 minutes. Drain and set aside.
- Cook cherry tomatoes and garlic: Meanwhile, heat 2 teaspoons olive oil in a pan over medium heat and add 2 cups cherry tomatoes, cooking until they begin to brown and release their liquids, about 5 minutes. Add 2 cloves garlic and cook until it begins to brown and become aromatic, about 1-2 minutes. Remove pan from heat to avoid overcooking the garlic.
- Combine pasta ingredients: When pasta is done, add the drained pasta to the pan and top with 8 fluid ounces pesto sauce. Stir to mix ingredients, then serve.