roasted cherry tomato pasta salad with Kalamata olive dressing recipe

Since moving house, we've had two large boxes of picked tomatoes hanging around waiting for me to do something with them. See, when we left the old house we stripped our plants of all their tomatoes, even the green ones. Which have now been slowly ripening off the vine (and some, rotting sadly). What initially started out as a whole box of green, I've-still-got-time-up-my-sleeve-so-don't-need-to-panic-tomatoes, in this heat quickly turned into a boxful of I'm-ready-to-be-eaten/cooked-right-now-so-panic tomatoes!
So I got cooking. 
I made jars and jars of my Nana's famous tomato relish out of all the big tomatoes. I then thought briefly about making a wacky sweet tomato jam with the remaining cherry tomatoes, before realising that was a silly idea. Who would eat it after all? 
Finally, I decided that the best way to get through such a large amount of cherry tomatoes was to roast them, shrinking them down in size while intensifying their flavour and leaving them all ready to add a burst of rich tomato flavour and pop of bright summer colour to salads like this. 

To play off that natural sweetness of the tomato I paired it with a salty kalamata olive dressing, spiked with lemon and honey to freshen things up. I laid off the feta-kick I seem to have been on lately, but a little crumbling of that would also work wonders if that's your thing. With a scattering of freshly picked basil leaves from the garden, you have summer in a bowl!
Other ways to use up excess tomatoes:
~ simple rustic tomato sauce (for pizza, pasta etc)
~ freeze excess cherry tomatoes in bags, they are naturally free-flow so easy to add to stocks/soups/stews in the later months.
roasted cherry tomato pasta salad with kalamata olive dressing
I used mostly red cherry tomatoes with a few random yellow ones thrown in for good measure, but use what ever ones you have. Mini roma's would be lovely too! Use your favourite gluten-free pasta, mine is San Remo's
Serves 6-8 as a side

  • 500g cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • a few sprigs of thyme, torn roughly
  • 2-3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 250g gluten-free penne pasta
  • 350g (1 generous cupful) kalamata olives, pitted
  • the zest and juice 1 medium lemon
  • 2 teaspoons runny honey
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) extra virgin olive oil
  • fine sea salt, to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup loosely packed basil leaves
Preheat oven to 180C/350F. Arrange halved tomatoes in a single layer on a large oven tray or two smaller ones. Scatter over garlic and thyme, drizzle with olive oil and season well with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Roast in the oven for 45-50 minutes or until dried out a little and the outside ones are turning golden. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.
Cook pasta in plenty of boiling, salted water until al dente (cooked but firm to the bite). This can take anywhere from 8-12 minutes depending on which brand you are using. 
Meanwhile to make the olive dressing; finely chop the pitted olives and set aside. Place the lemon zest, juice and honey into a bowl, whisk to combine. While still whisking slowly drizzle in the olive oil to form a lovely emulsified dressing. Add the finely chopped olives and black pepper. Taste, adding more sea salt if desired.
When the pasta is cooked, drain well and transfer to a bowl. Stir through the dressing and set aside to allow the pasta to cool to room temperature. Stir through the roast tomatoes and basil, taste and season more if needed before serving.

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  • Reply
    January 16, 2012 at 9:18 am

    Ohhh, those tomatoes are so pretty! (What have I become, lol. But seriously, they are.) Such a nice way to use them up, I love the effect roasting has on the flavour of tomatoes.

    • Reply
      January 17, 2012 at 12:33 am

      I agree, they are pretty 🙂

  • Reply
    January 16, 2012 at 10:05 am

    Wow, boxes of tomatoes, what a treat. I would love to make roasted toms this year but wait for a glut in the shops. The salad sounds perfect.

    • Reply
      January 17, 2012 at 12:34 am

      Yeah the only down-side to boxfuls of them is they are all ready to eat at the same time!

  • Reply
    leaf (the indolent cook)
    January 16, 2012 at 12:51 pm

    Oh, such beautiful tomatoes! And the pasta looks so lovely and fresh.

  • Reply
    January 16, 2012 at 2:56 pm

    How beautiful!!I wish i could smell that gorgeus bowl of tomatoes.I think that is a smell that instantly brings a smile to my face.Will file away in my brain for my summer.You sure caught summer in your photos.

  • Reply
    Domestic Executive
    January 16, 2012 at 7:20 pm

    I remember taking all the light fittings and curtain poles when I moved house once but never been tempted to strip the tomatoes. I am in tomato misery right now as blight has set in. I'm hopeful for rescuing a few and the plants in the garden doing their thing. I hope.

    • Reply
      January 17, 2012 at 12:37 am

      Your comment made me laugh, light fittings and curtain poles?! After all the work we had put into our garden (that the owners didn't even want us to have in the first place) it seemed only logic to take all that we could! 😉
      Oh I feel for you with your blight, been there a few years ago. So sad to see them all go to waste. Hard to stop in when it's been raining lots though, like I hear it has been in NZ.

  • Reply
    The InTolerant Chef
    January 16, 2012 at 9:51 pm

    Ooh yummy! perfect for the warmer weather and perfect for using up all the little tomatoes that are just starting to go crazy in my veggie patch.
    San Remo pasta is definitely the best around, isn't it? Its the closest to 'real' pasta I've found.

    • Reply
      January 17, 2012 at 12:39 am

      Cherry toms grow mental don't they?! And yes I actually can't even tell the difference between San Remo pasta and the real deal any more. Maybe it's just been to many years since I've eaten wheat one, I don't know. But San Remo is great.

  • Reply
    January 17, 2012 at 1:35 am

    Dressing has ben bookmarked. Olive dressing sound heavenly. WHat a great way to spice up plain old pasta! And the roasted tomatoes look amazing.

  • Reply
    January 17, 2012 at 3:50 am

    Basil, olives and tomatoes. That's a ménage à trois made in heaven.

  • Reply
    January 17, 2012 at 4:06 am

    that looks great – I feel like were going to be in the same boat as you soon, as the owners of our house have just told us we have to move as well (but offered $1200 for us to move 3 months early!) so by the time we have to go, my toms will have just hit their straps! So into a box they'll go, like yours. I will remember this recipe as it looks great and our basil is growing beautifully so will be a perfect pair!

    • Reply
      January 17, 2012 at 12:37 pm

      Oh that's sad news 🙁 It's heart breaking having to leave a flourishing garden behind, especially when they are just about ready to pick (hence why we stripped our plants!). That's pretty good of the owners to offer you money to move out early though! We moved out 3 weeks after first being told of their plans, instead of the 60 days that is legally required. I think they should be pretty happy we found somewhere else so quickly. Good luck with your move, and when you pick your tomatoes, pick the whole bunch and leave them on the vine. They will keep better that way.

  • Reply
    January 17, 2012 at 8:49 am

    I'm so enthralled by your tomato bounty that I keep scrolling back up to look at them. My tomato plants managed to survive until the crazy gales we had over the weekend… they're looking pretty sad now and I'm not sure if I'm going to get more than the five or so tomatoes left on the branch.

    But! Luckily they're cheap in the shops – this looks like something I'll definitely be making sooner or later this summer 🙂

    • Reply
      January 17, 2012 at 12:40 pm

      Oh no! Wind and tomato plants don't mix so well do they? 🙁
      Si is the tomato guru in our house. He loves growing and looking after them and we always get millions. I might post a few of his tips later in the year when we plant some more.

  • Reply
    Mairi @ Toast
    February 6, 2012 at 3:43 am

    Beautiful tomatoes 🙂 And they are so sweet & tomatoey when roasted,,,,love them like that & perfect with those briny olives 🙂

  • Reply
    August 19, 2014 at 4:57 pm

    Just made this, was a lovely meal! Thank you for the recipe!

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