Recipes

pasta salad with roasted tomatoes

For someone who is patently terrified of all the offerings in the deli case pasta salad universe — the tri-colore, mayo-slicked, sugar-sweetened, canned tuna-flecked, curry powder-ed, and dotted with green peppers, raisins or ohgodboth — I sure spend a spectacular amount of each summer trying to come up with cold pasta preparations I’d find agreeable. I know that there’s one out there I could love and could love me back, but although a few attempts have gotten me closer, and even temporarily sated, my perfect picnic pasta salad eluded me.


getting ready to slow roast
from the oven, half-dried

Late last summer, I began forming an idea of how to make this, a pasta salad that would be loud, punchy and full of texture where others are mellow and limp. My notes are adamant about a well-toasted crunch, such as pine nuts, a good salty crumbled cheese, like ricotta salata or feta, chopped black olives, such as those oil-cured ones I was slowly developing an affection for, and pasta taken off the stove when it’s an aggressive al dente, even two minutes before tender “doneness” instead of one, so that no matter how long it soaks in dressing, it does not collapse. But I got stuck on the last ingredient, because what I really wanted in there was not those “sun-dried” tomatoes you find in dry-packs and jars, but these wondrously slow-baked oven tomatoes, all chewy, tart and intense.

what you'll need
a loud oregano dressing
assembly

Alas, I knew they’d be a deal-breaker because they take hours to dry out in the oven, and that’s just the tiny ones. Nobody is going to spend hours preparing the single ingredient of a pasta salad. Nobody. I get it. But I did, and I regret nothing. In my defense, I cooked them in less than half the time by bumping up the temperature and keeping them a little juicier than the classic, but not compromising any tomato intensity. A handful of fresh chopped basil and a gentler version of this oregano vinaigrette we fell in love with last year (my husband’s brilliant suggestion for this) make this everything those pasta salads of my nightmares are not — fresh and bright, balanced and light — and the only thing I want to eat on all of the summer days ahead.

roasted tomato pasta salad

One year ago: Carrot Salad with Tahini and Crisped Chickpeas
Two years ago: Two Classic Sangrias
Three years ago: Tzatziki Potato Salad
Four years ago: Strawberry Summer Cake
Five years ago: Scrambled Egg Toast
Six years ago: Slaw Tartare
Seven years ago: 30 Ways To Be A Good Guest
Eight years ago: Coconut Pinkcherry Yogurt

And for the other side of the world:
Six Months Ago: Cranberry Pie with Thick Pecan Crumble
1.5 Years Ago: Cauliflower with Brown Butter Crumbs
2.5 Years Ago: Sweet Potato and Marshmallow Biscuits
3.5 Years Ago: Spinach Salad with Warm Bacon Vinaigrette

Pasta Salad with Roasted Tomatoes

As with most pasta salads, the ingredients here are flexible. I’ve outlined what I used, but should you not be into olives, or salty cheese, or pine nuts, no reason not to skip them or swap them with something you like better. Yes, you’ll need 90 minutes for the tomatoes, but I promise, you will not regret the time you waited for them, because this long, low roasting time turns even grocery store grape tomatoes into something intense, tart and magical, and the ones from your garden into their highest calling. You can make them the day before, too, or make double what you need, planning ahead for future pasta salads. They keep well in the fridge up to five days, drizzled with additional olive oil. For the pasta, promise that you’ll only cook it to 1 to 2 minutes before full doneness. Mine had quite an al dente bite, harder than I’d want it in a hot dish when I drained it, but held up beautifully even after it soaked up the dressing for a couple hours. Limp pasta makes me sad.

Serves 8

Roasted tomatoes
4 cups (about 680 grams) grape tomatoes
Olive oil
Salt

Oregano dressing
1 big clove or 2 small cloves garlic
1 1/2 tablespoons dried oregano (if you can find it, Sicilian is my favorite)
1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more to taste
Freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons lemon juice
3 tablespoons red or white wine vinegar
1/3 cup olive oil

Assembly
1 pound (455 grams) dried pasta, a bite-sized shape of your choosing (I used reginetti), cooked until 1 to 2 minutes before doneness and drained
6 ounces (170 grams) crumbled salty cheese, such as ricotta salata, feta, queso fresco (I used this posh, delicious stuff)
1/2 cup (70 grams) pine nuts, well-toasted and cooled
1/2 cup (70 grams) pitted and rough-chopped olives of your choice (I used gaeta here, but like them even more when oil-cured)
Salt and pepper
Handful fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped

Roast tomatoes: Heat oven to 300°F (150°C). Cover 1 to 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat. Cut each small tomato in half lengthwise and arrange cut side up in a single layer on prepared sheets. Drizzle lightly with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Bake in oven for approximately 90 minutes, until somewhat shriveled and dry to the touch, but not fully dehydrated. Set aside until needed, letting them cool. [Note, if you pine nuts are not yet toasted, you can place them in the oven for the last 10 minutes, shaking them once or twice for even coloring. Let cool as well before using.]

Make dressing: Roughly chop the garlic on a cutting board, then add oregano, salt and a few grinds of black pepper. Mince the mixture with your knife until it’s a grainy herb paste. Transfer to a small bowl, whisk in lemon juice and vinegar, then slowly drizzle in oil, whisking the whole time. Taste and adjust as needed; you might need more salt or vinegar. You want a strongly flavored dressing that won’t get lost in that big bowl of ingredients.

Assemble salad: In a giant bowl, place drained pasta, roasted tomatoes, cheese, pine nuts and olives and toss gently to combine. Add dressing to taste, along with any extra salt and pepper needed. Finish with basil. Salad can be eaten right away, but will keep in the fridge up to 3 days. This is also perfect for picnics and potlucks, as it can handle being out in the sun without going south.

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164 comments on pasta salad with roasted tomatoes

  1. Ah, I was just thinking about this last night. You beat me to a brilliant, bloggable pasta salad! Now I know what I’m doing with my leftover grape ‘maters and beautifully growing fire escape basil. Yes, please, and thank you.

  2. Erika

    Ooo, now this looks like a great pasta salad. One question: I’m not a big fan of olives (gosh I’ve tried to be but I’m just not). Would you just leave them out or a suggestion for a substitution? Thanks for all the fab recipes!

    1. deb

      Erika — I mentioned in the recipe notes that if you’re not into an ingredient, you can just skip it. For olives, it depends on whether you just don’t like the taste of olives (in which case I might try capers, even salt-packed and rinsed, but then only a couple tablespoons) or you just don’t like briny/salty ingredients, in which case, skip it all together.

  3. Natalie

    So I’m also pregnant and due next week (!) and this looks like a perfect thing to make ahead for when we come home with the wee one. Mayo-based deli case pasta salads freak me out to no end.

  4. My husband is part Hawaiian, therefore a love for the ubiquitous “mac salad” is in his DNA.
    I would gladly eat a bowl full of this instead. Slow roasted tomatoes are one of the best things on earth.

  5. When I saw the image of the sliced tomatoes, I thought “no way am I going to that much trouble.” Then I read your description of how delicious those tomatoes taste, and I instantly changed my mind. You are the best.

  6. Gia

    Deb, I’m in a household of tomato (and eggplant) haters. Any suggestions on tomato-alternatives that I can try? The answer may be just make this for myself and don’t share since tomatoes seem so clutch to this recipe. :) Thanks!

  7. beh72

    This looks awesome and has tons of potential as a base recipe for adding/substituting ingredients as well. I always get confused about subbing in fresh herbs for dried. Can you please make a measurement recommendation if one wanted to use fresh oregano (which my garden is loaded with right now) in the dressing instead of dried? Thanks!

  8. Andrea

    Do you think sunflower seeds would sub well for pine nuts? I’d hate to just drop a crunch component but we are but free die to allergy

  9. celine

    Aa tip I learned to make the tomatoes easier is that you sandwich as many as fit between 2 deli container lids (or even small shallow plates) and then hold the top down and run a knife between, parallel to the counter. Slices them all at once.

    There’s also a Nigella recipe that makes these tomatoes overnight, I think by blasting them for a short time then shutting the oven off and letting them coast.

  10. Mina

    Looks so good and probably tastes it too . I will be making this for dinner today! Though I’m not really keen or roasted tomatoes. Would normal tomatoes do just as fine ? x

  11. Emily

    Looks delicious! I still have some oven dried tomatoes in my freezer left from last summer’s garden bounty, too, so this is perfect!

    I find that those oven roasted tomatoes freeze very well–that’s how I preserved a good amount of mine last summer. After I take them out of the oven, I just stick the baking sheet in the freezer for awhile, then when the tomatoes are frozen, scoop them into a freezer bag so I can use them as needed. They thaw very quickly after you take them out of the freezer.

  12. Susan

    A few weeks ago I got desperately sad that the store tomatoes were watery and tasteless for sandwiches, so I decided to try slicing and roasting them. They were spectacular, especially drizzled with a fresh herb and garlic pistou and topped with feta. And now you have translated that to pasta and I am thrilled to try it. Thanks!

  13. This doesn’t just look delicious, it is really pretty as well! I love olives but my husband doesn’t so I am thinking that maybe marinated artichokes would make a nice substitution.

  14. MJ

    I just made your slow-roasted tomatoes recipe last night so I think it’s fate that I must try to make this pasta salad tonight!

  15. Erin

    The vinaigrette calls for dried oregano but could one substitute fresh? If so, how much do you recommend? I know that fresh can be very pungent. Thanks, can’t wait to try this recipe at the beach!

  16. Megan

    Martha Rose in the Times did slow-roasted tomatoes a few years ago, but she put them on baking racks, which were awful to clean up after–parchment is a great idea! I always make several batches at the height of summer and freeze them for mid-winter pasta sauce. Entirely worth the effort.

  17. Nancy in Vancouver

    I never put my finger on why I didn’t like pasta salad, but this nails it!

    Can’t wait to try this rendition!

    (I will likely sub barley for the pasta and add spinach, if I’m feeling virtuous- or find the most fun shaped pasta possible, which your’s seems to be! I am continually in awe of all the shapes of pasta- it reminds me that one humble starting point (the same dough!) can be used diversely, without a hint of boring or repetitive. Just recast it in a new shape!)

  18. TriciaJ

    Perhaps the very, very best part? This method of cooking tomatoes makes crappy tomatoes taste like summer tomatoes, and summer tomatoes like heaven. Win, win! (Almost typed “wine, wine!” and I stand by that.)

  19. deb

    Weights — Now added.

    Judy — Great idea.

    Erin, beh, re: fresh oregano — I’d start with 1 teaspoon fresh leaves; usually 1/4 to 1/3 is a good place to start. Here, I call for dry because there’s a very specific flavor that comes with it, that’s reminiscent (a good memory, for me at least) of those Good Seasons Italian dressing packets. But I understand the desire to use fresh oregano if your plants are, say, bigger than the microgreen stage mine are at right now.

    Mina — To use fresh tomatoes, I’d salt them a little and let them drain. The moisture won’t be great in the salad.

    Gia — I like the marinated artichoke suggestion above. Different flavor, not as sweet, but would still work well in a pasta salad. If you want something more fresh, I always like pasta salads with segments of firm-cooked green beans in them.

    Andrea — Pine nuts are actually a seed, but with all processed products, the risk is cross-contamination. Regardless, I love toasted salted sunflower seeds in salads, and think they’d be good here.

    Katelyn — A little different from this, but if you like farro and tomatoes, you might like this. And I totally forgot about this couscous salad with roasted tomatoes from the very early days of this site that might be a good starting point, too.

    Re, Jacob — I can’t help it. I am BEAMING with pride. #suchamom

  20. “loud, punchy and full of texture”

    I am so NOT a pasta salad person, but you make me want to be one ;) That oregano dressing sounds perfect!

    AND I have a potluck to attend tonight. This might be just the thing.

  21. Julie

    This looks amazing! I’m in love with all things pasta salad (yes, even store bought, what?) I will be making this for a cookout soon (and then probably again and again)!! I recently made an oregano dressing that was used on some chicken.. oregano, cilantro, lime juice, cumin, garlic, oh god, it was amazing. It was from cook’s country.

  22. Kate

    I always get sucked into the deli counter’s pasta salad offerings, only to find that they never ever taste as good as they look. (They’re just never good, period.) And they’re always so expensive. Clearly, this is the way forward :D

    Sidenote: I just moved to a new apartment with a lovely, bright, little kitchen after dealing with a dark, claustrophobia-enduing kitchen for three years. I’m so excited to try so many of these recipes now!

  23. deb

    Anna — Definitely, but I would do it at the end, and not let them sit in the dressing too long. Well, maybe sturdy kale would be good wilted, but most salad greens are not.

    Audrey — I don’t see why not, but you’d want to keep the heat low, and give it a lot of time. Could get delicious flavor, too.

    Oregano dressing — Btw, I should have clarified this better because I could imagine the idea of an oregano dressing sounding strange or too unusual, but what it actually tastes like is an “Italian” bottled dressing but 1000x better. So, it’s basically perfect here. (Not to oversell or anything, heh.)

  24. Slow-roasted tomatoes – dealbreaker? Are you kidding? I force my family to eat them with practically everything throughout the summer and always throw a tray into oven when its on to cook something else to have some of these flavour bombs on stand-by. Can’t wait for the next lot and surely will make this intriguing oregano dressing, thanks Alex.
    Nicole

  25. Lisa

    You can make roasted tomatoes overnight in the oven and then you don’t have to wait. Just prep the night before with olive oil, balsamic, garlic, sugar, salt and oregano, place on a baking sheet, heat over to 400, put the tomatoes in and turn off the over. In the morning, perfect roasted tomatoes. Every time.

  26. Linda

    Okay, so this is a bit off topic, but I like the grocery-store tabbouleh/ready-made salads (yes, the stuff with a list of ingredients I am unable to prononce) better than what I make myself………and actually it’s cheaper……
    (*shudder* translation: fake lemon juice, parts of chicken un-sellable, couscous…recycled from a nearby campus cafeteria?!)

    Wonder why that is…(no, seriously)
    this, however, just might change my mind…

  27. Crem

    Looks delicious. I want to say that I roast tomatoes at their peak in the summer and freeze them, just cooled and dumped into a container. The oil makes them just malleable enough that you can slough off a few at a time if you don’t want to defrost the entire batch. I recently made Ottolenghi’s grilled asparagus salad with my 20 year old son who was visiting. Not only did he learn about blanching (asparagus) but he couldn’t get over the tomatoes. When did you have time to roast the tomatoes, what, last summer? Lightly warmed they were a heavenly bit of August In May, and although yes it does feel that way temperature-wise at the moment, the tomatoes are nowhere in sight- yet.

  28. Eve-Lyne

    Funny. This is almost exactly my magical picnic pasta salad (down to my favorite type of pasta to make it). I add aragula though. And for the dressing, I use my classic olive oil-balsamic-garlic-maple syrup recipe.

  29. Karen

    Ok, NOW I’m hungry! I will try this recipe & take it to a “potluck”
    60th wedding anniversary! (Yes, you read that right!)Btw, 1st time
    commenting, but I’ve long loved your site & have your book.
    Dear Deb:Is there a special code for “All Things Jacob?”
    I almost missed that sweet video link, until I saw other comments,
    & rescrolled to figure out where it was. Love your sharing about your
    family! Thanks!! (What a sweet dad your Alex makes.)

  30. This pasta salad looks incredible! You are so right about the deli case – I fear those too because the pasta salads in them are usually just as you described. This looks like it has the perfect balance of sweetness, saltiness, and I love that you cook the pasta just until its almost ready so that it doesn’t get mushy later when it’s tossed with the rest of the ingredients. Beautiful job, Deb!

  31. Dana

    I actually found oven roasted tomatoes in the fresh deli section at whole foods the other day! There’s hope!

    Great looking recipe, thanks!

  32. Lauren

    Could that bike rider be ANY cuter? Perfect timing too, as it is one more “Big Boy” accomplishment for his arsenal. He will NEED this yummy salad- “carb-loading” for marathon bike rides.I guess you and Alex will be toning up also as you try to race after him.Your “baby-weight” will be non-existent! Happy summer to all.

  33. Helen in CA

    Ah…the problem of tomatoes: they are in the store year-round & they are locally harvested in August & Sept. Does that mean I only eat tomatoes in August/Sept unless they are dried or canned? Or?????

    I mean, I appreciate the choices that trucks & airplanes give us. But there’s the lack of ties to season & local + the food just isn’t the same. And the carbon cost.

    Le sigh.

  34. Randi

    1.) I LOVE pasta salad! Even terrible pasta salad.
    2.) The sundried tomatoes in the zipper bag at Trader Joe’s are really good. Tender and tangy and cheap!
    3.) Yay for your kid! How exciting on his bike! I had to watch it a couple times :)

  35. monica

    Pine nuts are but a lovely memory for me. Several years ago, both of my regular sources quit carrying them when they went north of $25/lb because “no one buys ’em anymore at these prices.” A couple of weeks ago, I saw them at a local (independent, lovely, organic, so on) store for $69.99/lb. I didn’t know whether to poop or go blind, as they say. Yikes! Are prices different in NYC?

  36. JP

    I would like to know if slow roasting the tomatoes in a convection oven would cut down on that 90 minutes? I bet it would, and certainly worth a try.
    Further, I feel I should mention that local pine nuts are probably the ultra expensive ones and are, unfortunately, the best and safest. There are pine nuts imported from China (much cheaper) that apparently can give one “pine mouth”, a taste disturbance, that I first read about in Cook’s Illustrated. While rare, these pine nuts can cause a metallic taste that lasts from days to weeks. Very strange, I know, but apparently documented. I think I would go with sunflower seeds too. I like this lightened version of pasta salad and if we could just get some really warm weather here in northern CA I will put it on the menu.

  37. Susan

    The colors in this salad look like it’d be perfect to serve at Christmas, too! So pretty. Love the biking video!

  38. Hi Deb,

    Thanks for this post! I love the picture of the fresh tomatoes in the oven dish, they look like I painting, a nice one. I also love are living in summer :) I still have the spring feeling, but can’t wait for summer to kick in. I was never a fan of pasta salads, but yours looks delicious, you’ve inspired me to give pasta salad a second chance.

    Greetings from Madrid!

    Anneke

  39. Audrey

    I put the dressing on the pasta after it is drained so it absorbs all the flavour, then add the other ingredients when it has cooled.

  40. Sandra Lea

    This is my kind of pasta salad. I don’t know how I missed your previous post about the oregano vinaigrette, it’s one of my favorite things. Can’t wait to try this although not thrilled about turning on the oven in the hot weather.

  41. Tim

    morning all, pasta salad just “reeks” Spring Time” to me. We had our first batch a couple of nights ago. Most of our herbs are up and the chives are about to bloom (sorry I live in Manitoba – we have a frost warning out for Friday night) and when I walk past the kitchen garden in Spring the FIRST thing I think about is pasta salad. Other ingredients to consider adding in: chick peas (a good sub for olives, perhaps, Erika) shallots or fine diced red onion, fresh thyme, french tarragon, and the ubiquitous aforementioned chives. We also make a new potato salad with almost exactly the same dressing. I find that Deb’s idea for capers fits very well with either.

  42. vanessa

    My go-to pasta salad, which is very similar in flavor to this, is the Epicurious recipe for “orzo with everything.” http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/orzo-with-everything-5608

    I basically follow the recipe, minus the parmesan, which I don’t think is necessary which goes to show you that this thing is full of flavor (added bonus that it’s vegan, if you have friends of that persuasion). And I use the Trader Joe’s slivered sundried tomatoes packed in olive oil, so I reduce the oil called for in the recipe.

  43. Adrienne

    Not recipe-related, but in the video link, are you in NYC? I swear I hear someone telling their kid it’s time to go to the bathroom in French :)

  44. Jetagain

    I make two addictive pasta salads. The first is rotini with homemade pesto (pesto recipe in Marcella Hazan’s “Classic Italian Cook Book). I add halved grape tomatoes, sauteed crimini mushrooms, shavings of good quality ham and. perhaps, olives. The second recipe can be found on the Epicurious website or old Gourmet or Bon Appetite mags (I forget which). It’s called “orzo salad Niçoise”. People talk about it years after I bring it to potlucks.

  45. I chuckled at your links in the first paragraph. “a” leads to one pasta salad, “few” to another, etc. Hee-Hee. I’m so making this this weekend. I’ve got half a box of pasta that I don’t know what to do with. This is perfect.

  46. Ginger Smith

    This pasta salad is very similar to one I make with fresh grape tomatoes, not roasted. I am sure the roasted tomatoes add a nice bit of sweetness to the salad. Your photographs always have such a nice exposure to them. Very crisp and clear. I have been struggling with proper exposure with my food photos to no end.

  47. I fell in love with these magic morsels two years ago when you first posted the slow roast method. Last summer I canned 12 pints of sauce made with these beauties, having thrown in garlic cloves and tons of herbs from my garden with the ‘maters as they roasted and enjoyed it through the winter on everything from spaghetti squash to turkey meatballs and spicy sausage. Thank you!

  48. Lizzie Crowl

    To keep the tomato harvest for the whole year I grow and roast my tomatoes. Enjoy them in season and all year long by freezing them. Lots of options including the pasta salad here as well as cooked pasta sauces later whenever we want.

  49. Sara

    Omg, I agree with ALL of the words. Especially the deli case salad fear. I wouldn’t change a thing about this recipe.

    One thing I would suggest from past experience and basil love – if there is any chance there will be leftovers, put the fresh basil on the side. Chopped basil oxidizes pretty quickly, even if cut chiffonade-style. I have a very unfortunate memory of making an awesome pasta salad full of tomatoes and (expensive) fresh mozzarella the day before and I blithely tossed in a bunch of fresh chopped basil. The next day the entire salad was terribly bitter. So sad.

  50. Yum! This looks and sounds delicious! It reminds of a Lidia Bastianich’s Pasta with Roasted Tomatoes, you should take a look at that, you would probably like it a lot!

  51. deb

    Lane — See my suggestions to Gia in Comment #28.

    Helen — I’m surprised you say on August and September. Even around here, where we have a very short, late harvest, I see grape tomatoes early in the summer (although likely greenhouse, but still from local farms) and the field tomatoes are usually out by late June.

    Crem — Nope, I used grocery store tomatoes. That’s the beauty of this method; it even makes the most of average ones.

    Adrienne — Ah, but we were in the Upper East Side, which is like little Paris in places. :) [Note: French parents sitting on the bench, us American parents hovering over our child, although, I mean, he did need help at that point. We look forward to resuming our bench-sitting ways soon.]

    Ginger — Thank you. This kitchen has much better light than my old one, which has helped immensely.

    Lisa — Love the overnight idea! I will try this soon.

  52. Oda

    I’ll make this sometime next week, but I’ll chop the tomatoes in half without bothering to slice them perfectly down the middle (it really saves me so much time) and I wonder if I won’t also just toss them onto the pan without bothering to balance them cut side up. I’m lazy like that.

  53. I made your “Nancy’s Chopped Salad” sans lettuce, plus pasta last summer and — just surmising here — I THINK you could get on board.

    That said, wouldn’t kick this one out of bed either.

  54. So glad that you didn’t make this with buttermilk (I’m lactose intolerant) or mayo (I love it but it’s not great on pasta and has been overdone.) I can avoid the lactose problem by using goat cheese feta, and so this recipe will be on my summer menu list. Thanks!

  55. Krithika

    This looks wonderful! But I’m wary of making the full serving size (I live alone) and the recipe doesn’t seem to halve easily. Could I roast the tomatoes and makes the dressing and store them separately for a while?

  56. Amelia

    This looks delicious- and I’m excited for the oregano dressing! I want to try it over a warm Mediterranean salad with lots of wilted greens. On an aside though- I’ve been following your wonderful blog for six years, and it’s been a truly delicious six years. When looking for recipes, I reference your site first to see what you have- which is how I surprisingly found that a search for Beets turned up nothing! So, to poke, have beets just not come up, or do you have a dislike of them?

  57. Debbie (yep – me too!)

    I can’t wait to try this because like the other commenters, I feel the same way you do about pasta salad. I have a thought about the tomatoes that may make things easier. I use a (maybe Nigella?) recipe for roasted cherry tomatoes that I love and that makes this salad even easier. You cut the tomatoes and put them on a jelly roll pan and cover them liberally with olive oil, a tsp of sugar, salt to taste and thyme though feel free to substitute balsamic for sugar or another herb for thyme. You then heat your oven to 400, stick the tomatoes in and turn off the oven and leave the tomatoes overnight. Now I do this whenever I am going to have the oven up high for something and then I stick the tomatoes in when I take out the rest. In the morning the tomatoes are shriveled and wonderful and the olive oil makes a great dressing base. Just don’t forget you left the tomatoes in there!

  58. Angela

    This salad looks inspired! and this post (like all of your other posts) is so very well-written–it’s delightful to read well-crafted musings on a subject so near and dear… ah, food. Thank you for sharing your voice with us for all these years.

  59. Sandy

    Aw, your little guy riding his bike! Very sweet! :) My boy is 3 and 3/4 – sweetest little creatures on earth. Best of luck to you for your second arrival.

  60. AM

    I’ve had a similar struggle with pasta salad. This one looks yummy. My favorite – and Deb, you should try it – is the Alyssa Torey one from her At Home with Magnolia cookbook. It uses roasted sun dried tomato pesto (in addition to the mayo), roasted corn, cherry tomatoes, parsley, parm, and pecans. No matter how much I make, I’ve never had leftovers! Similar principles – crunch, salt, tang, and a little sweet courtesy of the corn. The whole cookbook is actually pretty great – very, VERY underrated.

  61. Earlene

    In my comment the other day, I said smoked chicken was a big hit. I meant to add in this pasta salad as the “hub” had smoked some thighs the other day. It added just something extra!

  62. Julie

    I made this for a work treat day lunch this week and it was a huge hit. Many recipe requests! I had scanned the recipe quickly, headed off to acquire ingredients, then started to make it on Thursday night and saw the 90 min. cook time for the tomatoes. On a hot night. Some swearing ensued but I continued on and it was definitely worth it. Will go into my salad rotation for sure. I had to forego the pine nuts because of allergy concerns so I look forward to trying the salad with them next. I did end up adding more vinegar and lemon juice but that’s about it. Wow! Those tomatoes! I’m in love.

  63. Liz

    I so love this pasta salad it isn’t even funny. It’s easy enough to do in stages when I come home late from work. The tomatoes alone are worth the price of admission- the sad underripe marbles from the grocery store became these shriveled, smoky, juicy things. I made this with cheap cavatelli and feta crumbles, and subbed extra lemon and some sherry vinegar for the red/white. It is compulsively good.

  64. IndianaLiz

    Now THIS is a pasta salad worth tasting! In general, pasta salads are something I pass up in favor of anything else. Made it yesterday afternoon and am totally hooked. The extra bite in the pasta makes a huge difference for me, and the dressing is flavorful enough to grab the attention of every taste bud on my tongue. Thank you, Deb, for sharing this bold and savory creation.

  65. Becca

    This was delicious. Full disclosure, I did double the toppings (tomato, olives, cheese etc.) just to have maximum flavour per bite. My husband and I kept saying to each other while we were eating: this is so good! It’s nice warm too.

  66. StephanieR

    Oh my gosh, this is SO good! Like Liz said, the tomatoes alone are so magnificently worth it. I had the saddest little grocery store tomatoes and they completely transformed in the oven. I used feta cheese and kalamata olives and couldn’t be happier with the way this turned out. Thank you so much Deb!

  67. Stacy

    I just made a batch of this – a big delicious bowl of Mediterranean flavor – perfect! Undercooking the pasta is a brilliant idea.

  68. Patty

    Made the tomatoes only last night for a ricotta, pine nut, and tomato bruschetta. You are a genius. Can’t wait to make the pasta salad itself but I can see finding a reason to add these tomatoes to everything.
    Question – how long do you think they keep?

  69. Natasha

    This salad is amazing and will definitely become part of my summer rotation. I was skeptical about investing 90 minutes in roasting tomatoes, but it definitely transforms otherwise bland store bought tomatoes. Thanks for sharing!

  70. Jordan

    Just made this for my work lunches this week. It’s delicious! It’s at risk of being eaten out of the bowl, leaving nothing for lunch and ruining my dinner. I especially like the dressing, great flavor!

  71. marcia

    I don’t like cold pasta, so I decided to try this hot. I tossed the hot pasta with the vinaigrette and the basil, since those are the only components everyone in my family likes. I put all the other things out in separate bowls so people could add what they like. We all loved it! Thank you for another delicious recipe!

  72. CLAIRE M

    DEB! this was fabulous! I made this on saturday to rave reviews. This tasted great hot, cold, next day… the dressing was wonderful and didn’t mellow out to nothingness as per my usual pasta salad dressings ! BTW, your dressing measurements were spot on…this dressing is very similar to the Nancy chopped salad dressing recipe which we absolutely love. Thank you for another success – and my pasta salad actually looked like your pic too – which is always a sign of a success :)

  73. RILnyc

    Oh boy. I made this yesterday and it is now my (a) new favorite thing, and (b) go-to pasta salad. The tomatoes are fab. Thanks, Smitten Kitchen.

  74. NancyR

    Krithika – I halved the recipe, knowing my two kids wouldn’t touch it. it was great, and made four good servings. just use one pint of tomatoes, half a pound pasta, and half the dressing ingredients. The dressing recipe is a great one, not so persnickety that you have to worry about EXACTLY how much is half of 1/3 cup of olive oil – just eyeball it to half in the measuring cup.
    Thanks, Deb, for another Fabulous recipe!

  75. KelBer

    We bought all the ingredients for this dish without fully reading the recipe (oops), and due to time constraints my husband roasted the tomatoes and toasted the pine nuts the night before we made the dish and put the tomatoes in the fridge. We did everything else as specified. This recipe is a little more involved than we typically have time for, so we were both really hoping that it wouldn’t be worth the effort. Darn it, Deb. This was amazing. Seriously the best pasta salad we’ve ever eaten, homemade or not. I wouldn’t change a thing about it. I am already dreaming of the leftovers (which will be promptly consumed tomorrow night). Thank you!

  76. KelBer

    Oh yeah and a tip: For the dressing step, we found it easier to use a mortar and pestle to make the garlic herb paste.

  77. Made this tonight, and it was great!!! I used powdered oregano (didn’t know it was like that until i dumped it into the tablespoon) and minced garlic (forgot to read those steps and just combined), but the dressing was delicious anyway!

    I didn’t have pine nuts and somehow don’t live near a grocery store that sells them (what?!), so my roasted pistachios did the trick anyway.

    A delicious recipe that is perfect for warm summer days. I’m glad this is a big portion so I have much more to eat tomorrow!

  78. Kathie Muench

    I grow lots of cherry and roma tomatoes in my garden each summer, and oven roast many of them as they ripen. I store them in quart bags in the freezer and use them for salads and with cream cheese on crackers for a snack all winter long. I have had success with sprinkling them lightly with garlic powder, dried oregano and basil before roasting too. I’ve also partially dried them in my dehydrator and stored them in freezer bags to be used the same way as the oven roasted ones. Either method results in delicious tomatoes that are also good eaten plain for a snack.

  79. Rina

    My !9 Yr Old ate the whole thing in 2 days. No kidding! It’s a keeper and I did add spinach, fresh. Perfect! Thanks !!

  80. Diana

    Wonderful salad! My husband and I are both looking forward to having it again. For the dressing, I used 3T fresh oregano, and one tsp dried. Delicious!

  81. Devorah

    Darling Deb!!!!! This is heavenly!!!! I made it for the third Shabbat meal tomorrow and am so enthralled with it!!!!! These tomatoes!!!
    You angel!!!!!
    First Shabbat meal: mustard milanese from your cookbook.

  82. Rachel

    Delicious! Made this for my family tonight and it was a hit with my husband and me both. We usually have very divergent tastes, so finding a recipe we can equally enjoy is gold to me. Thanks for sharing!

  83. Tammy V

    Made this salad this afternoon. Perfect NorCal weather for it. I did do the Moonbeam tomatoes, and used Orrechiete, as I couldn’t find the pasta you recommended. Toasted the pine nuts in a pan on the stove top and added a bit of lemon zest to the dressing, along with some Kalamata olives, as I couldn’t really afford the oil cured ones available at the market. Used some Cotija cheese I had in the fridge, and so far, we’ve been eating little bites out of the salad bowl, because it’s not quite dinner time ;-)

    Love this recipe, thank you so much for sharing.

  84. Bonnie

    I made the tomatoes last night with small, plump grocery store tomatoes. They came out great. I ate most of them as they cooled. They’re definitely better than the expensive ones in jars, which I had been quite happy with until these!

    I have to say that this is not the kind of recipe I usually try, but I was seduced by your photograph of all those tomato halves in such neat rows.

  85. Jennie

    This was really delicious-I put in plain black olives (kids) but it was a lunch everyone loved. I put in some non-roasted tomatoes too. We ate it kind of warm (no time to chill it) and it was great. It will be a vehicle for all kinds of leftovers. Amanda Hesser makes a salad like this in Cooking for Mr Latte called Arborio Rice salad- I make it with leftover grilled lamb and veggie kabobs.

  86. This is wonderful. I used rotini, subbed scallions for the basil (just what I had), and used walnuts instead of pine nuts (I’m sure pine nuts would be better, but they are too expensive). I reduced the oregano by almost half, and I wouldn’t have wanted any more. It was a great picnic dinner on its own. The roasted tomatoes make it. Thanks!

  87. Janice

    I’ve made this several times already. I subbed toasted pumpkin seeds for the pine muts and thought they added a nice extra bite. Also when I was out of olives i used chopped marinated artichokes and I’m pretty sure I’ll never go back (for those of you in Canada, the PC Black Label artichokes at whatever version of Loblaws you have are seriously delicious, both here and straight from the jar!).

  88. Tina

    I’ve made this pasta salad twice in one week! The BF and I gobbled up the first batch (with a little help from my coworkers). I made it again for a family picnic this past weekend.

    The first time I made this, I used ~2 tablespoons of lemon juice and the second time I used the full 3 tbsps as written. I actually prefer it with 2 tbsps since I found 3 to be just a *tad* too tart. I made this with feta and used extra olives. This recipe is a keeper.

  89. Deepa

    Made this twice this weekend! I used walnuts instead of pine nuts because of my pine mouth paranoia. Can’t wait to (continue to) be the most popular guest at every summer gathering!

  90. Emily

    I’ve now made this three times to bring to parties. Every time it turns out great. I did start adding chopped steamed asparagus or fresh arugula just before serving to add some extra greens. My most recent attempt was made 2 days in advance and the pasta salad did dry out a bit, but some extra olive oil and fresh basil brought it back.

  91. Mae

    This is a great idea. I love tomatoes and probably I’ll love to cook it soon, just wondering if it would be great if I’ll add some Parsley?

  92. Krystal

    I made this with fresh garden tomatoes (though will roast another time) and subbed in capers, sunflower seeds, and fresh oregano instead of olives, pine nuts, and dried oregano. So good!!!

  93. ive made this salad twice now as prescribed and i just want to thank you for telling us all about it. its wonderful and both times im so glad i have made it :) you continue to be one of my favorite food bloggers and wow me with your recipes.

  94. Kim

    I just made this today to take to an Independence Day cookout. I used “American flag” bowtie pasta (made in Italy, ha!, dyed with beet juice and Curaçao) for fun. I must say the time it took to slice and cook all those tomatoes was time well spent–and the $20/lb pine nuts were worth the cost of admission. My cute red, white and blue striped pasta tinged the white cheese a little, but what the heck, it’s still festive. It’s a delicious salad, but the tomatoes are the best part – I am already dreaming up ways to use them in other dishes! Thanks for a great recipe.

  95. MarryM

    Delicious! I halved the recipe, added other veggies, lemon basil marinated chicken and Parmesan. I’m happy I had time to make the tomatoes, so much better than sundried in oil. Thank you.

  96. TerryB

    I made this for the 4th along with your triple berry buttermilk bunt cake. As my Nonna use to say: “The Americans, they think it is so good they eat the plates!” (sounds better in Italian). A word about ingredients, You do not need to spend $30 to make this. I bought everything from a basic grocery store including the cheese: feta from the dairy case, I used pumpkin seeds instead of pine nuts. It was still delicious.

  97. Thanks for sharing! I made this tonight! This is the perfect recipe to anyone who also has more cherry tomatoes in their garden than they know what to do with! The oven baked cherry tomatoes were awesome! If anyone’s curious, it’s basically a more fresh tasting version of pre packaged sun dried tomatoes. The dressing was great too! I used a garlic press and chopped fresh oregano. (Eh, I forgot to mix those ingredients into a paste, but it was still fantastic!) I used linguine noodles and toasted walnuts instead of pine nuts + served warm. Whole family loved it. Thanks again!

  98. Tamar

    Just finished making this. The end result is delicious but I partially burned the tomatoes, I think 150C for 90 minutes is too hot or too long, or both. I’ve made your oven-roasted cherry tomatoes before and the lower temp seems to be a better fit. However, I salvaged the ones I could, and added in a little extra of the other ingredients (olives, cheese) to compensate. Thanks for the recipe, and congrats on another adorable baby!

  99. deb

    Update on the overnight tomatoes from Nigella that a few commenters recommended — Woke up to basically raw tomatoes. Did I miss something? So many glowing reviews. Well, back to the drawing board.

  100. First of all, thanks for sharing great blog. I made this recipe tonight. This is one of the best recipes to anyone. The oven baked cherry tomatoes were awesome. I used garlic and chopped tomato to make the best salads.

  101. Wow! Looks pretty darn delicious! I made this recipe for dinner yesterday evening and it was delicious! However, I love tomato in particular and their recipes as well. Thanks for sharing pasta salad with roasted tomato recipes with us.

  102. i have made this salad so many times now. it is divine. everyone who tries it rolls their eyes in glory. run, dont walk, and make this recipe.!:)

  103. Al

    Hi Deb, Do you think it would be okay to use some apple cider vinegar in the dressing instead? I don’t have red or white wine on hand.

  104. stephanie

    realized last night that i neglected to make a side for dinner when a craving for pasta salad hit. i have to admit i only used the dressing recipe (time was a factor, it was already 5pm, heh) but it was great. all the other recipes i looked at online called for bottled dressing – which i’m not opposed to or above, but i didn’t have any in my fridge. i recalled the smashed oregano dressing from the nancy’s chopped salad recipe (which is awesome) and sure enough, this was fab too.

    the salad was casarecce, yellow sunburst tomatoes, finely chopped scallions, thinly sliced cucumber, and some marinated mozz i made for a hot pasta dish that never happened. i did add a couple tablespoons of mayo because i like a little creaminess (without gloopiness!) in my pasta salad, but otherwise followed the dressing recipe exactly. really good and even better the next day. next time i’m definitely trying the roasted tomatoes!

  105. elisssabeth

    This. Was. Delicious. Husband keeps asking me to make it again. Used medium shell pasta, feta cheese, and 1/2 toasted pine nuts, 1/2 roasted chopped macadamia nuts. 1/2 oil-cured olives, half giant pitted black olives from the can. It was nice to have the 2 different olive flavors in there. THANK YOU!

  106. Carolyn

    This was easy and delicious! And saved me from wasting ridiculous amount of tomatoes that were going to turn on me! Thank you!

  107. Susan

    I just made this and it turned out wonderful even though I made some changes. My husband forgot to get basil and I had some leftover pesto that needed to be used so I replaced the dressing with the pesto. Roasting the tomatoes is really the key to this being an elevated pasta salad! Thank you!!

  108. Diane

    Made this salad, exactly as per the recipe, and it is wonderful, well worth the time taken to cut and roast the tomatoes. Served it at a BBQ, eleven adults, five kids (and two babies), to a family used to eating well – we are Montrealers, we cook. Preceded by smoked salmon rillettes (you’re too young to have the July 1989 issue of Gourmet) and crudités, followed by beef brochettes, using Gourmet’s four ingredient marinade (the one with maple syrup), and chicken brochettes in a citrus marinade ; for dessert vanilla-yogurt cake with strawberries.
    I will be making your pasta salad again next week for dinner with friends. BTW, I regularly make your blondies, and my daughter is urging me to try your great lime tart. Keep up the good work !

  109. chiefflare

    So this was part of dinner tonight- oh mah Lawd! So much yum! I did end up cutting the tomato roasting time, but i kept an eye on them in about the last 1/2 hour and when they were starting to really all darken I pulled them. I didn’t want burned maters.

  110. Alice

    This was good. LOVE the roasted tomatoes! I added some diced sweet pepper and scallions. Next time I’d not do the entire 16oz of pasta because I like my pasta salads lighter on the pasta and heavier on the veggies and other goodies. I was afraid the dressing might be too heavy on oregano, but it was perfect. Lots of flavor.

  111. daphne huffman

    I roast cherub tomatoes for 1 hr 15 min in a 275 degree oven. I do it after our evening meal. Then turn the oven off and leave the tomatoes in the oven til morning.
    Line a jelly roll pan with parchment paper. Spray it with cooking spray. Cut tomatoes in half and arrange cut side up on parchment paper. Salt the tomatoes and pop the in oven.

  112. lizette

    I just made this (minus olives and pine nuts) for my 3-year-old’s birthday party. I made a triple batch and there wasn’t a single noodle left. This was a HUGE hit. Really, really tasty. I think this will be my go-to pasta salad from now on.

  113. Merris

    This has become a go-to in our house, and my kids inhale it. It’s really forgiving to accommodate whatever we have on-hand (especially when we need to use the CSA bounty!). The roasted tomatoes and olives are key (non-oil cured works well). We typically use feta and the addition of julienned hard salami gives a nice boost. My kids especially love the salad when the pasta is warm and hasn’t totally absorbed all of the dressing. It’s a winner!

  114. Deborah

    I just made this today and it came out deliciously. The roasted tomatoes were truly amazing! Even my mother-in-law was impressed! I did make some modifications: I halved the amount of pasta while keeping the other ingredient amounts the same (per someone else’s comments), I replaced olives with half the amount of capers, I roasted the tomatoes for 75 mins, and I used farfalle pasta because I couldn’t find reginetti. I’m serving the rest tomorrow and so I saved some of the dressing to use to revive the pasta tomorrow. Excited to have this pasta again soon!

  115. Pamela

    When I read your opening comments about your fear of pasta salads from the deli counter I was yelling, yes! yes! I’ve been on a quest for great pasta salads forEVER! I specifically searched for “Pasta Salad with Roasted Tomatoes” because that combo of pasta with roasted tomatoes is the best taste in the world, really! I make a yummy pasta (or Israeli couscous) with roasted tomatoes, sauteed mushrooms, garlic, etc. and serve as a side dish often. I was asked to bring a “pasta salad” to a BBQ tomorrow and I refuse to bring a traditional salad, so hence, I’m trying this one. Thanks for sharing this!

  116. sparkgrrl658

    soo….as i mentioned previously (both here and on instagram), the dressing for this pasta salad is outstanding and frankly it’s the only one i use now. i just use whatever pasta, veggies, and cheese i have on hand. i could share it but honestly i’d rather eat it all myself for a week straight.

    anyhow, today i thought i’d use up the last of a container of yellow cherry tomatoes and try the roasting step. (normally i’d just add tomatoes uncooked.) unfortunately, this did not work out for me. a little over an hour after i put them in the oven, i smelled burnt sugar. and…yep, a tray of burnt black tomatoes. i have a thermometer in my oven so i know the temp was 300. (and i’ve been here over three years and cook every night so while the oven is old i’m used to it.) i guess it’s my fault for not checking them earlier but now i’ve got no tomatoes to add to my pasta salad. /sad trombone

    i could try this again and cook them for less time or at a lower temp but i think i’ll just stick to adding them in uncooked. the really dumb thing is i almost bought a second crate of tomatoes at whole foods yesterday but i didn’t because i already had ‘so many’ to use up. not funny, universe! XD

  117. Emma

    I halved the recipe without thinking it was probably side salad size. The original recipe would serve 4 main meals, 8 sides. Just made it for week lunches so wasn’t an issue. It is delicious though! This is going to become a regular meal!