29 December, 2012

Penne in Tomato Basil Sauce

I love pasta but I don't like pasta in red sauce (tomato sauce). Invariably, I always, always, had pasta in white sauce with extra cheese. Then one day boom, I turned Vegan, cheese loving me turned vegan and thus I stopped eating Pizzas and Pastas all together. I couldn't imagine having pasta without cheese until recently. 

I decided to finally use a packet of  whole wheat Penne; I had bought before turning vegan, with freshly harvested home grown tomatoes. If it was not for my allergy to raw tomatoes, I would have finished most of them before they reached the kitchen. I'm still not convinced that pasta in tomato sauce is better than white sauce but I do agree now that there was no reason for me to avoid it like a plague.

Though I took all accurate measurements to write the recipe, I would say it is a very flexible recipe that you could easily adjust to suit your palette and the ingredients available in your kitchen. Its simple, it's easy, its fresh, it's nutritious and its so yummmmyyy. Pasta can taste great without cheese... :)

Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes (using a pressure cooker)
Serves: 4-5

  • 2½ cup Whole Wheat Penne
  • 800 gms Tomatoes (peeled blanched and crushed)
  • 2tbsp Extra virgin Olive oil
  • 1 Onion (finely chopped)
  • 2tbsp crushed Garlic
  • ½ cup grated Carrots
  • ½ cup shredded Cabbage
  • ½ cup chopped Capsicum
  • ¾ cup chopped  Button Mushrooms
  •  2tbsp dried Basil 
  • Salt to taste

1. Cook the pasta according to the instructions on the packet. Make sure to add 1tsp salt for every 1litre of water. 

2. Heat Olive Oil in a large pan, add crushed garlic and chopped onion. Saute till the onions turn translucent.

3. Add chopped mushrooms, saute till they start to sweat.

4. Turn up the heat and add carrot, capsicum and cabbage. Keep stirring for a minute or two.

5. Add the crushed tomatoes, mix well and keep cooking till it almost dries up.

6. Mix in salt and basil. 

7. Serve warm or cold it tastes great both ways. 


1. Important to add salt to the water while cooking pasta because the pasta does not absorb much salt from the sauce. 

2. I recommend using fresh tomatoes, if you have time but if you want to do this faster, you could use tomato puree.
3. Better to use fresh Basil if available.
4. If u like to have your veggies crisp, add them after the tomato sauce has reduced a bit. I just do it this way so no one can actually pick out the vegetables they don't like. :)

Health and Nutrition

  • Tomatoes are excellent sources of antioxidants, dietary fiber, minerals, and vitamins. Because of their all-round qualities, dieticians and nutritionists often recommend them to be included in cholesterol controlling and weight reduction programs. They are good source of Vitamin E (Alpha Tocopherol), Thiamin, Niacin, Vitamin B6, Folate, Magnesium, Phosphorus and Copper, and a very good source of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Potassium and Manganese.
  • Added vegetables provide ample nutrition to make this a complete meal.


  1. OOH LA LA ; the platter has my undivided attention. am loving it :)

  2. Looks very flavorful, have never tried cabbage addition in pasta.. will give it a try..

    Happy New Year!

    Yum! Yum! Yum!

    1. Cabbage tastes great in pasta. I had a few Italian friends cook us pasta by sauteing shredding cabbage to substitute for onion and garlic to make it sattvic. It tasted really good.

  3. Amazing pics and looks so delicious and healthy all at the same time :)

  4. very delicious and tempting dish.

  5. first picture got me fairly salivating--yum-o!!

  6. oooo....mighty delicious!!!! Love the first pic!!!
    Prathima Rao
    Prats Corner

  7. pasta with tomatoes is great. if you top the pasta with some powdered cashews+salt, it does give a feel of parmesan... though exactly not the same.

    1. I've been wanting to make cashew cheese, but this suggestion would work. nce I mixed some garlic powder n salt with cashew paste, it tasted like cheese dip...I was sooo happy to feel that cheeesy flavour in a long time... :)

  8. Deliciously done pasta... Looks yum

  9. Feel like inviting myself to ur place, beautiful pasta.

  10. Wow- your photography is really getting good these days... that's a great sauce- I like the fact that it has lots of extra vegetables in it. (Good for kids as they're "hidden" !)a very happy, healthy and prosperous New Year to you and your family :)

    1. Thanks a ton Sarojini Didi.... means a lot coming from you... Hope you had a great New year... :)

  11. Hi Anisha,there's a well-deserved award waiting for you on Saturday at www.theyogivegetarian.blogspot.com x

    1. Thank you for the award... I guess I'm late but i will look for it... :)

  12. Just made some basil pasta sauce for a change... And planned to make penne (as that's the only available pasta in-house) :) Lovely that I came across your recipe just now!

    Have been here for the 1st time and now will be a regular visitor :) See ya sometime @ http://cookingwithsj.com!!!

  13. This comment has been removed by the author.

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