August 16, 2011

Spaghetti Pomodoro With Grilled Tempeh

by IsaChandra

Serves 2 to 4
Time: 30 minutes || Active time: 20 minutes

You might have noticed, I have a lot of tomatoes. Maybe you do, too? I want to treat them as respectfully, and of course, as deliciously, as possible. Sometimes it seems the most respectful thing you can do is just slice them up and eat them raw, maybe a sprinkle of salt, leaning against the kitchen counter.

I’m not yet ready to make sauce to can, but all the basil in my garden had me craving a light fresh, saucy pomodoro. Of course, that just means “tomato sauce”, but the difference, at least as I’ve always understood it in Brooklyn, is that a pomodoro sauce is from fresh tomatoes. As a teenager I was fired from enough waitressing jobs in Italian restaurants that I must be qualified as an Italian food expert, so let’s just say I’m right.

Keeping the tomatoes in chunks and then cooking them quickly with some olive oil and lots of garlic, preserves all that garden flavor, and then some. The tomatoes are cooked to release their juice, which reduces just enough to make a pretty orange sauce – the perfect segue to fall. Slurp up forkfuls of this spaghetti while leaning against the counter, for the most authentic experience.

I served this with Garlicky Thyme Tempeh. I would say it serves 4 if you’re including a big salad, but more like 2 if this is all you’re eating and you’ve got an appetite.

1/2 pound spaghetti

2 tablespoons olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 1/2 pounds tomatoes, roughly chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
Several dashes fresh black pepper
8 large basil leaves, torn into pieces (plus extra for garnish)

First bring water to a boil for the pasta. Prep everything while it’s boiling. Once boiling, cook your spaghetti.

Meanwhile, preheat a 4 quart pot over medium low heat. Saute garlic in the oil for about a minute, being careful not to burn.

Add the tomatoes, salt, black pepper and basil leaves and stir. Cover pot and turn the heat up to medium high. Let cook for about 15 minutes, stirring often.

The tomatoes should be broken down and saucy. Toss in the spaghetti and toss to coat. Turn off heat and let sit for 10 minutes or so, to let flavors meld. Serve topped with extra basil.

  • August 16, 2011 at 3:55 pm: Mel Portela

    OMFG!! It looks so tasty. Tempeh is the best food ever invented! I shouldn’t have seen this, ’cause it’s almost lunch time and my stomach is talking to me already.

  • August 16, 2011 at 4:15 pm: Basht

    Dinner this weekend. Thank you!

  • August 16, 2011 at 4:22 pm: Lori aka Kamala

    Perfect timing! A friend just gave me lots of tomatoes and Thai basil from his mom’s garden. Cilantro, too. Hmm…

  • August 16, 2011 at 4:40 pm: Kira

    I make mine similarly except I simmer 1/4 c. white wine with the tomatoes, basil, & garlic. Soooo good. Crushed red pepper in there gives it a yummy kick, too.

  • August 16, 2011 at 7:57 pm: Bianca- Vegan Crunk

    Yummy! And yes, the best way to enjoy a tomato is sliced, salted, and eaten over the kitchen counter….no need to even sit down.

  • August 16, 2011 at 9:00 pm: Marisa

    I’ll be adding this to my fast growing pile of things to do with the swiftly sprouting tomato plants in my garden.

    Oh, I love a good old tomato sammich: Veganaise, black pepper, crusty bread and a thickly sliced fresh ‘mater.

  • August 16, 2011 at 10:38 pm: jess

    This is the prettiest thing I’ve seen in weeks. Come cook me dinner!

  • August 17, 2011 at 2:46 am: Tammy @ The Sweet Tomato

    I heart tomatoes. I think Pomodoro sauce is truly the one of the finest ways to treat a fresh tomato. Well done! I am excited to get some fresh tomatoes from my garden this week to do exactly this with them!

  • August 17, 2011 at 10:57 am: myFudo

    Wow!! Look wonderful. So tasty and delicious. Am craving for spaghetti now. Love the photo

  • August 18, 2011 at 6:09 pm: Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar

    Any kind of spaghetti is good in my book!

  • August 20, 2011 at 3:59 am: Gary Loewenthal

    I only planted one cherry tomato plant this summer. The squirrels loved it! But I did manage to buy some beautiful local tomatoes at a market and WOW did they taste great in this scrumptious sauce. I didn’t have the tempeh side (though it looks delicious), but I did have a triangle-shaped piece of coconut-pineapple cake!

  • August 21, 2011 at 2:03 am: Brenda

    Just made this, it was amazing!

  • August 28, 2011 at 11:05 pm: Connie Fletcher

    Last year I froze all my tomatoes and will never, ever can another tomato. Freezing works so beautifully!! All I did was wash the tomaatoes, cut them up, and toss them in freezer bags….then into the freezer they went. They were absolutely delicious in all my fresh tomato recipes and tasted like they just came out of the garden…
    I’ll be doing that again soon.

  • August 30, 2011 at 1:14 am: Therese

    Made this spaghetti for dinner tonight with some tomatoes from our garden and some store-bought, with basil from our window sill… It was gorgeous!

  • September 5, 2011 at 3:30 am: Carol

    I made this tonight, it was really really really good. I’m going to experiment with it and add more garlic and maybe some asparagus or something. Any suggestions?

  • September 7, 2011 at 8:17 pm: Aj

    Ok I made this last night and this was soooo delicious. Thank you for the awesome recipe, it made for a really romantic dinner for my girlfriend and I. I also made the garlicky tempeh and it was wicked awesome!

  • September 13, 2011 at 10:24 am: Irene @ H.V.R.

    PASTA! I just love pasta. Thanks for another great spaghetti recipe that my kids would surely enjoy.

  • September 17, 2011 at 9:03 pm: Melissa

    I made this last week, and it just might be my most favorite tomato sauce recipe yet; DELICIOUS! I want to make it again this weekend (I love tomato season!) and might want to freeze it if we don’t eat it all in time. Thoughts on this?

  • September 17, 2011 at 11:52 pm: Melissa

    I meant just the sauce for freezing, of course. :)

  • February 25, 2012 at 11:39 pm: Ryan

    Just made this and I’m a bit upset at myself for never giving pomodoro a try before; it’s so simple and healthy to boot. I added a 1/4 cup of white wine, like one of the earlier commentors suggested, and it tastes awesome. I was eating some of cold leftovers that I’d stuck in my fridge for a day and I think it might taste even better than when it was right out of the pan. I have yet to prepare any recipe on this site that failed to be awesome.

  • September 4, 2012 at 11:37 pm: some person


  • December 7, 2012 at 10:24 pm: Ariel

    I just made this sauce and it was delicious! I only had canned tomatoes on hand and decided to add some chopped up carrots for some extra veg. I poured in on top of some leftover spaghetti squash (with earth balance, basil, salt, and olive oil mixed in) and it was amazing! I ate wayyyy too much.

  • January 9, 2013 at 8:05 pm: Caiti

    This was yummy and smelled great! I wish it had thickened up a bit more, mine was quite liquidy. Served with the tofu balls and whole wheat penne.

  • April 4, 2013 at 3:00 am: Kylie

    This was a huge hit with my boyfriend, I also added a little white wine (I would add booze to anything) as a previous reviewer recommended. Loved it! It was super quick and easy and I will definitely make this again.

  • September 9, 2013 at 4:14 am: Sferd

    This recipe is amazing. We have been overrun with tomatoes this summer and have made this twice in the past two weeks. We only minimally ‘tweaked’ the recipe by adding white wine (as suggested by others) and some red pepper flakes. Delicious!

  • January 9, 2014 at 4:51 pm: Ed

    Saw this recipe and it reminded me of my Grandmother. She cooked virtually this exact dish, only she mixed the sauteed tomatoes and garlic with fresh basil and cooked spaghetti, placed it in a casserole dish and baked it. It was served more as a side dish, but boy was it scrumptious. In the winter she used canned tomatoes. Can’t wait til summer to try it your way with fresh tomatoes from the garden.

  • August 17, 2016 at 2:08 am: Sarah

    This is SO good. Totally worth taking the time to chop up all those tomatoes! So simple but so delicious!!