Sun Dried Tomato Pasta

June 4, 2023

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Creamy Sun Dried Tomato Pasta – It’s a comforting dish made with tender pasta, sun-dried tomatoes, fresh spinach, herbaceous flavor, and plenty of cheese. Ready in just over 30 minutes, it’s practically guaranteed to become a family favorite! 

Sun dried tomato pasta with spinach and basil.

Creamy Sun Dried Tomato Pasta 

This tomato pasta recipe is one of my go-to options for busy weeknights. Made with just one pot and a saucepan, it’s ready in just a little over 30 minutes. You really can’t go wrong. 

If you’ve never had sun-dried tomatoes in pasta, prepare to be amazed. They’re one of my favorite ways to spruce up a simple dish with a pop of color and a rich, savory, slightly smokey flavor. 

I love to include them in recipes like my sun dried tomato basil and Parmesan orzo with chicken and this spaghetti with sun dried tomatoes and spinach. However, this tomato pasta might be my favorite sun-dried tomato recipe yet. 

Made with al dente pasta tossed in a vibrant tomato sauce, it’s rich, creamy, and unbelievably satisfying. Plus, it features fresh spinach for a boost of nutrients and fiber. 

Basically, this sun dried tomato pasta has everything you could want in a homemade dinner and more. Quick to make, it’s easy enough for weeknights yet elegant enough for special occasions. It’s sure to have all of your guests coming back for more!  

Ingredients needed to make sun dried tomato pasta.

Sundried Tomato Pasta Ingredients 

  • Pasta – I like to use regular-sized or mini penne pasta. 
  • Spinach – I recommend using baby spinach as it tends to be more tender and sweeter in flavor. 
  • Minced garlic – Whole, fresh cloves will have the best flavor, but pre-minced varieties taste great as well. 
  • Tomato paste – This rich tomato concentrate adds a boost of flavor to the base of the sauce and helps create a thicker texture. 
  • Sun dried tomatoes – Use both the tomatoes and the oil for a punchy, smokey, slightly sweet taste throughout the entire dish. 
  • Herbs and spices – Italian seasoning, crushed red pepper flakes, fresh basil, and paprika add a savory element with just a hint of heat. 
  • Heavy cream – This creates a creamy, saucy consistency. 
  • Parmesan cheese – For the best flavor, I recommend using imported Parmigiano Reggiano and grating it yourself. 
  • Lemon juice – This is optional but helps enhance the rest of the ingredients and adds notes of citrus that lighten the heaviness of some of the fats. 

Making sun dried tomato pasta in saucepan. Pasta being tossed with sun dried tomato sauce and spinach.

How to Make Creamy Tomato Pasta with Sun-Dried Tomatoes

  1. Boil pasta: Cook the pasta according to the package instructions. (I season the water with a good amount of salt and cook just to al dente.) Reserve 1 cup of the pasta water, and drain the rest. 
  2. Sauté: While the pasta cooks, heat the oil from the sun-dried tomatoes over medium-low heat. Add the garlic, and sauté just until it begins to become fragrant and deepen in color. Add the tomato paste, and continue to cook, stirring consistently for another few seconds.  
  3. Combine and simmer: Pour in the heavy cream, tomatoes, Italian seasoning, and red pepper flakes. Increase the heat, and bring the mixture to a simmer. 
  4. Stir: Reduce the heat back down to low, and stir in the Parmesan cheese. 
  5. Cook: Pour the tomato sauce into the pot used to cook the pasta, add the pasta, spinach, and ½ the reserved pasta water. Stir to combine, and cook the ingredients just until the spinach begins to wilt. 
  6. Season: Add salt and pepper to taste. Then, remove the pot from the heat. Stir in the remaining ingredients. Add pasta water as needed until the sauce is glossy and smooth. 

Sun Dried Tomato Pasta with creamy sauce shown in a white ceramic bowl over a green cloth.

Possible Variations 

  • Protein: To make this sun dried tomato pasta even more filling, try including cooked ground beef, grilled chicken, shrimp, or sausage. 
  • Veggies: For extra nutrients, feel free to include any vegetables you have on hand. For instance, sautéed asparagus, zucchini, mushrooms, yellow squash, or broccolini all make excellent additions. 
  • Pasta: Other types of pasta that work well here are Campanelle and standard or mini-sized bow-tie. Whole wheat pasta is also a good option.

Serving Suggestions 

I love to serve this creamy tomato pasta as a main course with sides like Caesar salad, salad with homemade Italian dressing, garlic bread, and roasted Brussels sprouts

Don’t forget dessert, too! Finish off the meal with white chocolate chip blondies or a serving of banana pudding to satisfy your sweet tooth. 

Sun dried tomato pasta shown from side angle.

How to Store and Reheat

  • Store leftover pasta in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. 
  • I do not recommend freezing this recipe. 
  • To reheat, add the pasta back to a saucepan over medium heat. Or, warm it in the microwave. 
  • Add a splash of broth or cream to freshen your leftovers back up if they have become a bit dry. 

What are sun-dried tomatoes? 

Sun-dried tomatoes are tomatoes that have been dehydrated in the sun, oven, or a dehydrator. As a result, they lose up to 90% of their weight, becoming small, tangy, slightly sweet, and chewy. 

Once dehydrated, they are often packed in oil to help preserve them longer and make them shelf-stable for months. 

Are they healthy? 

Yes, sun-dried tomatoes are extremely nutritious and provide a variety of vitamins and nutrients along with a good dose of fiber. They’re particularly rich in vitamin A, vitamin C, iron, and lycopene

Do sun-dried tomatoes need to be soaked? 

No, because this recipe uses sun dried tomatoes packed in oil, they do not need to be soaked or rehydrated. 

Sun Dried Tomato Pasta shown close up overhead.

More Tasty Stovetop Pasta Recipes to Try 

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Sun dried tomato pasta with spinach and basil.
5 from 5 votes

Sun Dried Tomato Pasta

A comforting dish made with tender pasta, sun-dried tomatoes, fresh spinach, herbaceous flavor, and plenty of cheese. Ready in just over 30 minutes, it’s practically guaranteed to become a family favorite! 
Servings: 6
Prep20 minutes
Cook12 minutes
Ready in: 32 minutes


  • 12 oz. penne pasta, mini size or regular*
  • 10 cups hot water
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 8 oz. baby spinach (8 cups packed), chopped
  • 2 Tbsp oil from jar of sun dried tomatoes
  • 4 tsp minced garlic (4 cloves)
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup (slightly packed) sun dried tomato halves in oil, well drained, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (or 1/2 tsp for slightly spicier)
  • 1 cup reserved pasta water
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup (2 oz) finely shredded parmesan cheese
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh basil
  • 1 1/2 tsp fresh lemon juice (optional)
  • 3/4 tsp paprika (optional)


  • In a large pot bring 10 cups water to a boil. Season with a fair amount of salt. Cook pasta just to al dente according to directions on package, before draining reserve 1 cup pasta water.
  • While the pasta cooks, in a saucepan heat sun dried tomato oil over medium-low heat. Add garlic and saute 20 seconds or just barely deepening in color. Add tomato paste and cook and stir 30 seconds.
  • Carefully pour in heavy cream, then add sun dried tomatoes, Italian seasoning and red pepper flakes. Bring mixture to a simmer.
  • Reduce heat to low, add parmesan and stir until melted.
  • Pour sun dried tomato sauce into now empty pot that was used to cook pasta. Return drained pasta to pot with the sauce along with the spinach and 1/2 cup pasta water.
  • Cook over medium-low heat until spinach just wilts. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Off heat stir in basil, and if using lemon and paprika. Thin with up to an additional 1/2 cup pasta water as needed.


*Campanelle pasta works well here too, you could also try bowtie pasta (mini or standard size).
Nutrition Facts
Sun Dried Tomato Pasta
Amount Per Serving
Calories 487 Calories from Fat 225
% Daily Value*
Fat 25g38%
Saturated Fat 12g75%
Trans Fat 0.02g
Polyunsaturated Fat 3g
Monounsaturated Fat 9g
Cholesterol 51mg17%
Sodium 314mg14%
Potassium 779mg22%
Carbohydrates 53g18%
Fiber 4g17%
Sugar 4g4%
Protein 15g30%
Vitamin A 4742IU95%
Vitamin C 34mg41%
Calcium 231mg23%
Iron 3mg17%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Nutrition values are estimates only. See full disclaimer here.