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One-Pot Barely Cooked Tomato Sauce with Pasta

Summer's ripe tomatoes shine in this one-pot meal. Cook pasta in the same pot with chopped, raw tomatoes. The noodles will absorb just enough tomato juice liquid to create a fresh, bright sauce that's not runny.

This recipe is super thrifty even with perfect tomatoes,  because it uses the skins, seeds, and juice unlike many other sauce recipes. What a waste of taste, nutrition, time, energy, and money! Make it even thriftier by using discounted "canning tomatoes" — ones that are not pretty but are still delicious.

barely cooked tomato sauce with pasta cooked directly in with raw tomatoes topped with unshelled hemp seeds and fresh basil

Recipe for One-Pot Barely Cooked Tomato Sauce with Noodles

Active time: 10 minutes. Total time: 25 minutes 4 servings. Oil free, vegan.


  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped green onions
  • 1/4 teaspoon chipotle
  • 2 pounds ripe tomatoes
  • 2 teaspoons fresh oregano or 1 teaspoon dried, crushed orgango
  • 1 1/4 cup whole-wheat rotini or other short noodles
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves
  • optional topping: 1/2 cup Nutiva organic shelled hemp seeds or nutritional yeast (nooch)


  1. Chop garlic and set aside. Spread olive oil in a medium pot and turn heat on medium low. Add chopped green onions to the pot, stirring occasionally to prevent burning.

    chopped ripe tomatoes

  2. Chop tomatoes, making sure to cut tomato skin into pieces an inch across or less. Add garlic and chipotle to pot, stir once, and then add chopped tomatoes, oregano, and rotini. Stir to mix, then use a ladle to push noodles down into the tomato mixture. At this point, the noodles will stick up above the tomatoes. Cover the pot and bring tomato mixture to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to medium low, so sauce barely boils.

    cooking tomatoes and pasta together for a one pot meal

  3. Simmer pasta about twelve minutes until tender. It will take two or three minutes longer to cook in the tomato juice than in does in water. Every few minutes, stir the noodles and sauce, then push the noodles down into the liquid. As the tomatoes release their juice, the noodles will increasingly be submerged. Toward the end of the cooking time, bite a noodle every minute or so until your test shows that they are firm but cooked through.
  4. Ladle pasta and sauce into bowls and top with basil ribbons and either nutritional yeast or hemp seeds for extra flavor, protein and nutrition. Any extra will keep for about four days refrigerated. The image below shows a bowl full of summer goodness before any toppings are added.

    a bowl of noodles cooked in heirloom tomatoes with green onion garlic and oregano

Reader Comments (7)

I like this idea of cooking everything in one pot as I live alone and it is healthy and easy! Right now farm stand tomatoes are so sweet here on LI that they almost taste like fruit! Now I know pasta is limited on weight watchers! I remember putting about 7 rotinini noodles in a cup to make the portion they allow.. This looks so good it will be difficult to eat just 7 noodles.....

I have a question about chipolte as I went on a chipolte hunt....Believe it or not I have not used it in cooking and alot of the supermarkets here don't carry it. I was wondering if you use powdered chipolte as that is what I finally was able to find in "Whole Foods" thanks to the help of a hispanic worker who had a big smile on his face and told me there are many kinds of chipolte?

Aug 1, 2012 | Registered Commenterfrann

Frann, I love the image of you talking chipolte with the smiling Whole Foods team member! He steered you in the right direction. When I say "chipolte," I mean the dried ground smoked jalapeño peppers. I buy Frontier brand organic chipolte at Whole Foods. My thrifty shopping list uses a conventionally grown version, such as Spice Island's chipolte. Spice Island offers this useful bit:

On the Scoville scale, used to compare the hotness of chiles, chipotle chiles range from 17,000–37,000 heat units. While habanero peppers, for instance, can be up to 250,000 heat units.

You could also buy the whole, dried, smoked jalapeños (or morita) at a Hispanic store and grind them yourself in a food processor or coffee mill (clean well to avoid a fiery cup of Jose the next morning!).

You could also start with fresh peppers and smoke them yourself, but it's a lot of work. Organic fresh jalapeños are often 10 to 20 cents each this time of year at the farmers' market and are one of the easiest vegetables for home gardeners to grow. Here's how to smoke jalapeños in a smoker or Weber-style grill and here's how to smoke them in a biochar trench.

Aug 2, 2012 | Registered CommenterLinda Watson

Looks delicious and green! I've never skipped rinsing/ draining pasta; does the sauce get starchy?

Aug 2, 2012 | Registered CommenterB-Snax

Bsnax, the starch from the pasta thickens the sauce a little, but pleasantly so. I think it was Harold McGee who wrote that restaurant chefs have told him that they'd like to bottle the water from their pasta pots at the end of the night because it is so delicious. I usually drain pasta but never rinse it. A little starch helps the sauce cling.

Hope you give it a try and let us know what you think.

Aug 2, 2012 | Registered CommenterLinda Watson

Linda, I tried it tonight, using a lot of CSA items (tomatoes, garlic, basil, etc) and a few extra yellow peppers in need of a home. I also used whole-wheat fusili, and added the hemp seeds. I lacked green onions but that's fine-- it was delicious! I am a convert. Such a tasty and easy recipe. I also appreciate such easy clean-up! Thanks for a great idea.

Aug 16, 2012 | Registered CommenterB-Snax

This was wonderful with red cherry tomatos and yellow pear tomatos. Also added a yellow pepper from the garden. I used quinoa spiral noodles. Lovely early fall dinner alongside falafel.

Sep 30, 2013 | Registered Commenterwearyma

Had so many tomatoes that I didn't know what to do - found this recipe and it was easy and delicious! My family loved it! Thanks!

Jul 20, 2014 | Registered Commenterkanem11
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