This bright and meatless sun-dried tomato pasta combines al dente rigatoni noodles, a rich and creamy sun dried tomato sauce, shredded parmesan cheese, and baby spinach. Make it in less than 30 minutes for a comforting midweek dinner!

A bowl of pasta with cheese, basil, and sun-dried tomato, served in a white bowl.
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While this sun dried tomato pasta dish may be easy to make, the rich flavors of this recipe will make your family or dinner guests believe that you’ve been slaving away in the kitchen with maximum effort – it’s that good!

Using the oil from the packaged sun dried tomatoes to make the base of the pasta sauce is the secret to intensifying that irresistible sun dried tomato flavor. Once you’ve tried this sauce, there’s no going back to store-bought versions.

Top each serving of sun dried tomato pasta with an extra sprinkling of shredded parmesan cheese and fresh basil. This vegetarian pasta dish can be enjoyed as a main meal or a side dish. It’s creamy, dreamy and everything you want out of a quick weeknight pasta recipe.

Creamy pasta tossed with spinach, sun-dried tomatoes, and garnished with basil and grated cheese.

Why We Think You’ll Love This Recipe

  • It’s a simple one-pan pasta dish that comes together in less than 30 minutes – perfect as a midweek family dinner.
  • This sun dried tomato pasta recipe is incredibly easy to adapt. Add in meat, extra veggies, use different pasta, or increase the heat!
  • It’s a vegetarian pasta but also hearty and comforting while offering a welcome break from meat in the meal rotation.

Ingredients For Sun Dried Tomato Pasta

  • Dried pasta – Use penne, rigatoni, or another type of pasta that is similar in shape. Short tubular pasta is best to help the sauce cling to it.
  • Oil – I use the oil from the sun-dried tomato jar which gives this dish even more incredible flavor. If you’re going to pay for the oil-packed tomatoes, you might as well use it!
  • Sun-dried tomatoes – Use the type that is packed in olive oil as the oil is also used in this recipe so it needs to be good quality.
  • Garlic cloves – Freshly minced. You can use store-bought pre-minced garlic in a pinch, but it won’t pack the same punch of garlicky flavor as fresh cloves do.
  • Butter – Salted or unsalted, depending on your preferences.
  • Flour – Used to thicken the sauce. All-purpose flour is commonly used for this purpose, but you could use gluten-free flour as an alternative.
  • Spices – This recipe calls for Italian seasoning, garlic powder, red pepper flakes, and salt and pepper. You could also use cayenne pepper or chili flakes or a kick of heat.
  • Basil – Dried basil to mix in with the spices and fresh basil for garnish.
  • Whole milk – Heavy cream or half-and-half can be used for a more luxurious and indulgent sauce.
  • Reserved pasta water – This adds flavor and the necessary starch to the pasta sauce to become super creamy.
  • Parmesan cheese – Use freshly grated Parmesan cheese for best flavor.
  • Lemon juice – Fresh lemon juice from half of a lemon.
  • Baby spinach – Only added at the end of the recipe.

How To Make Sun Dried Tomato Pasta

Cook the pasta according to the package instructions in a large pot of salted boiling water until al dente.

As the pasta cooks, heat the oil from the sun dried tomatoes package in a large skillet. Add the sun-dried tomatoes and minced garlic to the hot oil and cook for 1-2 minutes until fragrant. 

Push the tomatoes and garlic to the side, and add the butter to the skillet. Once the butter has melted, sprinkle the flour on top and whisk it until golden brown.  Add the spices and dried basil and mix to combine.

Slowly pour the milk, pasta water, and lemon juice into the skillet and whisk it into the flour roux for several minutes until the sauce thickens slightly. Stir in the parmesan cheese and spinach and cook until the spinach wilts.

Drain the pasta and then transfer it to the skillet to toss in the sauce until fully coated. Garnish your sun dried tomato pasta with fresh basil and extra parmesan cheese. Serve and enjoy!

My Pro Tips

Recipe Tips

  • To achieve al dente pasta, shave about 2 minutes off the time recommended by the package instructions.
  • The flour roux can burn easily if you don’t watch it carefully. If it burns, that flavor will carry through into the pasta sauce and ruin the entire dish!
  • This entire pasta dish comes together in flash which is why I’m not worried about leaving the cooked pasta in the pot of water while making the sauce. You can drain the pasta earlier on if it has cooked before the sauce is completed as a way to avoid overcooking the pasta. Just make sure to reserve pasta water before draining the pot of cooked pasta.
  • The al dente pasta will continue to cook slightly when added to the sauce in the skillet. Don’t boil the pasta noodles beyond al dente as they can turn mushy by the end of the cook.
  • Don’t forget to season the pasta water with salt. It not only adds flavor to the cooked pasta, but will also help to season the sauce.
A bowl of rigatoni pasta with parmesan cheese, basil, and wooden spoon.

Variations

  • Gluten-Free: Make this sun dried tomato pasta gluten-free by using gluten-free pasta and gluten-free flour. I don’t recommend using cornstarch for the flour roux as it isn’t a 1:1 substitution.
  • Pasta: This pasta recipe is best made with short tubular pasta, such as penne or rigatoni. Ziti and macaroni are also great options. Orechiette is a fun alternative shape too.
  • Meat: Add some meat to the mix for a heartier meal. Italian sausage, bacon, shrimp, or chicken all work well with the flavors of sun dried tomato pasta.
  • Veggies: Kale is a good substitute for baby spinach in this dish. You can also include other veggies into this pasta dish, such as sautéed asparagus, zucchini, yellow squash, bell pepper, roasted red pepper, or broccolini. If you have Brussels sprouts on hand, try this easy Brussels sprouts pasta instead.
  • Spicy level: If you enjoy an extra kick of spicy heat to your meals, simply increase the red pepper flakes added to the pasta sauce, or mix in some cayenne pepper.
  • Cheese: In addition to the parmesan cheese, consider mixing 2-3 balls of burrata cheese into the sun dried tomato pasta just before serving for extra decadence, it’ll be similar to my favorite summer-time pasta recipe, pasta checca.
Two bowls of sun-dried tomato pasta with parmesan and herbs on a kitchen counter.

Leftovers & Storage

Store leftover sun dried tomato pasta in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days. Reheat your leftovers in a pan or skillet over a low heat until warmed through. You may need to add a splash of liquid (jarred pasta sauce, vegetable broth, or cream) to loosen the mixture while reheating.

I don’t recommend freezing this sun dried tomato pasta as the freezing and thawing is likely to change the texture of the dish.

A bowl of creamy sun-dried tomato pasta garnished with herbs, being eaten with a fork.

More Pasta Recipes To Try

This lemon spinach feta pasta is another comforting but quick and easy pasta dish showcasing fresh juicy cherry tomatoes, zesty lemon and chunks of salty feta cheese. It’s a wonderful simple summer meal.

Keep your weeknight pasta dish light and easy by making this bucatini pasta with garlic shrimp. It’s perfect for enjoying the added protein boost of shrimp with the comforting vibes of a long-stranded pasta dish. Even better is the fact that it can be made in less than 30 minutes.

Red lentil pasta with lemon garlic greens is a nutritious and delicious vegan and gluten-free pasta recipe, made with red lentil pasta, garlicky lemon kale and a walnut cheese topping. It’s one of my favorite ways to enjoy a vegan dinner while still getting plenty of protein.

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5 from 16 votes

Creamy Sun-Dried Tomato Pasta

Servings: 4 servings
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes
Total: 25 minutes
Creamy pasta tossed with spinach, sun-dried tomatoes, and garnished with basil and grated cheese.
This creamy sun-dried tomato pasta recipe is a quick, delicious option for any night. With rich flavors and simple ingredients like parmesan and spinach, it's ready in under 30 minutes for a satisfying vegetarian meal.

Ingredients 

  • 8 ounces dried pasta, penne, rigatoni or other similar shape
  • 1 tablespoon oil from the sun-dried tomato jar
  • ½ cup sun-dried tomatoes packed in olive oil
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • ½ teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • ½ teaspoon dried basil
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • Salt & pepper
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 cup reserved pasta water
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 2 cups packed baby spinach
  • Fresh basil, for garnish

Instructions 

  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salt the water, add the pasta and cook according to package instructions until al dente.
  • While the pasta cooks, heat the oil from the sun-dried tomatoes to a large skillet. Once hot, add the sun-dried tomatoes and garlic. Cook for 1-2 minutes until fragrant.
  • Push the tomatoes and garlic to the side, add the butter to the skillet and sprinkle the flour on top once melted. Whisk until golden brown, careful not to burn then add the spices.
  • Slowly, pour the milk, pasta water and lemon juice into the skillet and whisk for several minutes until the sauce thickens slightly. Stir in the parmesan cheese and spinach and cook until the spinach wilts.
  • Drain the pasta then transfer to the skillet and toss to coat in the sauce. Garnish with fresh basil and extra parmesan cheese before serving.

Nutrition

Serving: 1SERVINGCalories: 487kcalCarbohydrates: 56gProtein: 19gFat: 21gSaturated Fat: 10gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0.2gCholesterol: 44mgSodium: 561mgPotassium: 594mgFiber: 3gSugar: 5gVitamin A: 2116IUVitamin C: 19mgCalcium: 344mgIron: 2mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Main Dishes
Cuisine: Italian
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Founder and Writer at Running to the Kitchen | About

Gina Matsoukas is an AP syndicated writer. She is the founder, photographer and recipe developer of Running to the Kitchen — a food website focused on providing healthy, wholesome recipes using fresh and seasonal ingredients. Her work has been featured in numerous media outlets both digital and print, including MSN, Huffington post, Buzzfeed, Women’s Health and Food Network.

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Recipe Rating




5 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I love this pasta is so creamy, cheesy, and packed with flavors! Quick to make, it’s was a perfect weeknight treat and everyone asked for seconds!

  2. 5 stars
    I love anything with sun-dried tomatoes and this one really had the flavors I was craving for. It was creamy and tangy but still refreshing and filling. Definitely one for the books. Thanks for sharing this recipe!

  3. 5 stars
    Delicious! It’s a fairly easy and quick recipe that never fails. Made this last night and it is going to be a regular. My hubby (who doesn’t like pasta) LOVED it!

  4. 5 stars
    My kids love a good easy weeknight meal and this one fits the bill. It was so easy to make and super delicious. I added some rotisserie chicken to get the protein!

  5. 5 stars
    So yummy! I made this last night and everyone enjoyed it. I ended up using linguine because that’s what I had, I just had to add more milk and water so the sauce would be enough for the noodles. But it was amazing!