This ultra simple bucatini pomodoro pasta dish is done under 30 minutes and is SO delicious! Made using canned tomatoes with onion and lots of garlic, plus paired with thick and chewy bucatini noodles for a perfect combo. Great speedy weeknight dinner that everyone will enjoy! Vegan & dairy-free.
I have a bunch of tomato pasta sauces on the blog already, they are by far my favorite food!
I even have a pomodoro sauce made using fresh tomatoes, which is perfect to prepare at the end of the summer when the tomatoes are plump and sweet and everywhere.
But this time, I wanted to share a speedy and super easy recipe that I actually make all the time and all year around: a homemade pomodoro sauce made using canned tomatoes and served with bucatini noodles.
I recommend using San Marzano canned tomatoes for best flavor, which will give you a creamy, umami-filled and also a little sweet pomodoro sauce that's as delicious as the version made with fresh tomatoes. Also paired with aromatic garlic and caramelized onions for added flavor, this sauce is made with only a few ingredients, but truly is amazing!
Pomodoro sauce is served here with perfectly al dente bucatini noodles for such a fun and more unique meal. Bucatini noodles are a long and thick tubular pasta with a whole in the middle, which gives this meal such a nice chewy texture!
I love that this recipe is all done within 30 minutes and is SO simple anyone can make it! No complicated steps, loaded with flavors, super healthy and you can add so much to it, such as veggies, wine, spices, etc. Or, serve as is and garnish with fresh basil and a little sprinkle of vegan almond parmesan cheese to really enjoy the natural flavors from the cooked tomatoes and the pleasant mouth feel from the bucatini.
You can pair with homemade Italian focaccia for such an amazing meal and even make the sauce ahead, the flavor will intensify over time and make dinner-time later in the week even easier!
Perfect easy weeknight dinner recipe for busy days, but also impressive and luxurious enough for a nice weekend dinner.
Hope you like it! ❤️
What's a pomodoro sauce
Pomodoro is a light Italian tomato sauce that's very simple and made using fresh or canned tomatoes, olive oil, garlic and fresh basil.
There are a few variations to a classic pomodoro sauce, but it is usually meant to be a quicker and simpler recipe.
I have a pomodoro sauce that uses fresh tomatoes and takes more time to cook to allow the tomatoes to soften and develop a deeper flavor, but in this case, this is a fast all-purpose pomodoro sauce that you can make in no time!
What to love about this recipe
- Quick and easy with simple steps
- Versatile basic tomato recipe that can be used many different ways
- Very flavorful with a great texture from the bucatini noodles
- Almost as easy as opening a jar of marinara sauce, but with much better flavor!
- Healthier than store-bought with less added oils and salt
- 100% vegan, plant-based, dairy-free and the sauce is fully gluten-free
Ingredients you'll need
- Bucatini noodles: they can be a little trickier to find, so if you cannot find them, then use any long noodles, such as linguini or spaghetti. I found mine in our local grocery store, but some larger groceries have them too. You would definitely find them in an Italian grocery store if you have one close by.
- Canned whole peeled tomatoes: this is the best kind of canned tomatoes to make a speedy pomodoro sauce. They have better flavor with the right balance of acid vs sweet naturally.
- Yellow onion: helps build up more flavor to a super simple sauce by caramelizing them before adding the tomatoes. You can also use a small sweet onion.
- Fresh garlic: a ton of garlic is included in this recipe, which gives the sauce so much flavor (plus, garlic is SO good for you!). I used 5 large cloves, but I think you could even use more if you really love garlic.
- Olive oil: I mostly cook using a low amount of added oil, but a classic pomodoro sauce includes olive oil in the making. I used a small amount to cook the onion, but if you are not following a no-oil whole food plant based diet, then you might also want to add a drizzle some extra over your bowl at serving.
- Red pepper flakes: I only use a small amount because I wanted a non-spicy sauce that my kids would also enjoy, but if you want a little more heat, then add more!
- Fresh basil: technically optional, although amazing to add a fresh final touch to your dish. You can also include some more in the sauce while simmering.
How to make bucatini pomodoro
Cook the bucatini
Bring a large pot of water to boil and cook the bucatini al dente, about 10-12 minutes.
Reserve some of the cooking water before draining the noodles to use later in case you need to thin out the sauce. Set the pasta aside.
Cook the aromatics
Meanwhile, warm up the olive oil in a medium pot and then, add the onions with a little salt and cook for 5-7 minutes on medium-high heat stirring often.
Then, add the garlic and red pepper flakes. Stir well and cook for 1-2 minutes.
Add the canned tomatoes with all their juices to the pot.
Use a wooden spoon to break up the tomatoes and stir well. Then, cover and let the sauce simmer for 15-20 minutes stirring once in a while.
Then, remove the cover and keep cooking until the sauce gets thicker. Add more salt to taste and break the tomatoes more if needed.
Once the sauce is done, you can add the cooked pasta. If the sauce is too thick, then you can also add some cooking pasta water to the pot (1 tablespoon at the time). The starch from the pasta water can also help thicken the sauce and have it glue to the noodles better.
Then, serve the pomodoro pasta with some fresh basil, an extra drizzle of olive oil (optional) and some vegan parmesan cheese.
Watch how to make it
- Simmering the tomatoes should enhance their natural sweetness, but if you find the sauce still too acidic once done, then you can balance out the flavors by adding a little sugar or maple syrup to taste.
- Simmer with the pot covered for about 15 minutes, but then, remove the cover and keep cooking to allow the extra water to escape and the sauce to thicken.
- If the sauce becomes too thick and starts to stick to the bottom, then use the pasta cooking water to adjust consistency.
- Be sure to cook the bucatini noodles al dente (I usually put a timer!) since you will add them later to the sauce so they can finish up cooking.
I love this sauce on the chunkier side, but if you were looking for a smoother texture, then feel-free to blend the sauce to smooth. I think an immersion blender would work well in this case.
If you are in for a treat, then serve with a small spoonful of vegan butter on top of your bowl for more richness and creaminess to your dish.
Also, a pomodoro sauce is very simple in terms of ingredients, but you can easily use this recipe as a base to make a tomato sauce and then add more to it. Here are a few ideas:
- Red wine: once the onion and garlic are done cooking, then pour about ¼-1/2 cup of red wine to the pot and let the alcohol evaporate for about 1-2 minutes. Then keep going with the recipe. This would really boost the flavor of the red sauce!
- Herbs: feel-free to add a bunch of dried herbs to the sauce before simmering, such as oregano, basil, parsley or Italian mix.
- Protein: you can add crumbled tofu or cooked lentil to the sauce to make it more filling and higher in fiber + plant-based protein. Large white beans, such as butter beans, would pair well with the thick tomato sauce too (check out my butter bean stew for inspiration).
- Vegetables: add any vegetable you like! You can roast them apart first and add them once the sauce is done, such as broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini, etc. Some vegetables could be added to the sauce with the onions, such as celery, carrots or mushrooms. Once the sauce is done, you can also add a large handful of spinach or kale and let the leaves wilt into the bubbly sauce before serving.
If you have the extra time, make this vegan cashew ricotta and dollop some over you bowl. This will make the sauce creamy and rich and also add healthy fats and plant-based protein to your meal. You could also mix the sauce with a walnut pesto for such an amazing pairing in Italian flavors.
And next time you feel like a fun weekend project, then you can make your own butternut squash ravioli to serve with the pomodoro sauce with.
This sauce stores very well! You can make more and keep the extra in the fridge in an air-tight container for a few days (3-4 days). The sauce will store better if kept apart from the noodles.
This is such a versatile tomato sauce that you could serve one night with bucatini pasta and then the rest as a tomato dipping sauce, pizza sauce, lasagna filling, etc, the next night.
To reheat the sauce, simply use the microwave or the stove and add a splash of water as needed.
More tomato sauce pasta recipes you might like
- Vegan lentil lasagna
- TVP bolognese pasta
- Avocado and cherry tomato pasta
- Vegan tofu bolognese
- Vegan American goulash
- Penne pomodoro
- Vegan creamy tomato pasta
- Vegan baked ziti
- Hearty marinara sauce
- Creamy vegetable pasta sauce
- Vegan one-pot tomato pasta
I hope you like this bucatini pomodoro pasta recipe as much as we do! If you try it, please leave a comment below and rate the recipe to let me know how it was. Your feedback is so helpful!
- 1 small yellow onion - finely diced
- 1-3 tbsp olive oil - plus more for serving (optional)
- 5 cloves of garlic - crushed
- 28 oz San Marzano whole peeled tomatoes
- pinch of red pepper flakes - optional
- salt and black pepper - to taste
- handful of fresh basil - chopped, for serving
- 12 oz bucatini pasta
- Bring a large pot of water and cook the bucatini noodles until al dente (do not over cook, they will cook more in the sauce). Once done, keep some of the cooking water aside, drain the noodles and set them aside.
- Meanwhile, heat up a little olive oil in a medium pot (optional, can be made oil-free) and then, add the onion and a little salt. Cook on medium heat, stirring often, or until softened (about 5-7 minutes).
- Then, add the garlic and red pepper flakes (if using) and keep cooking for 1-2 minutes (watch so the garlic doesn’t burn).
- Pour the tomatoes and all their juices in the pot and roughly crush the tomatoes with a wooden spoon. Stir well, cover and cook on a low simmer for about 15 minutes.
- Remove the cover and stir/crush the tomatoes a little more as needed. Keep cooking the sauce stirring often for 5-10 more minutes uncovered to allow the excess of water to evaporate.
- Once the sauce is done, add the al dente bucatini noodles to the sauce, stir well to combine and adjust seasoning to your liking. You can also add a splash of pasta cooking water to the pot and help create a creamy sauce that sticks well to the noodles.
- Serve right away with fresh basil, red pepper flakes and some vegan parmesan cheese if desired. For a nice treat, you can also drizzle a small amount of olive oil (or even vegan butter for a creamy and rich sauce) over you bowl of pasta at serving.
- The pomodoro sauce stores well in an air-tight container for 3-4 days in the fridge. You can reheat using the microwave or the stove.
- I like this sauce on the chunkier side with nice big blobs of tomatoes, but if you prefer smooth sauces, then you can also use an immersion blender to smooth it out.
- There is so much you can add to the simple pomodoro sauce, such as diced carrots/celery, mushrooms, red wine, dried herbs, etc.
- For a pomodoro sauce using fresh Roma tomatoes, check out this penne pomodoro recipe!