This no cook tomato sauce comes together in just five minutes using only a handful of ingredients!

What do I want to cook once tomatoes start filling up our garden and farmer’s market? This no cook tomato sauce! It’s made like a pesto right in the food processor with cherry tomatoes, basil and toasted almonds and is heavenly over pasta with a load of shaved Pecorino Romano (it’s even more heavenly when paired with a chilly glass of white wine!). I’m keeping things short and sweet today so have bulleted out all the reasons why you should make it below, or you can go straight to the recipe!

Build a Bowl Cover

As you might have noticed, I’ve been a bit absent lately, but things have been busy around here! I’m so freaking excited to announce that my book is currently at the printer and can be in your hands soon!!! You can now pre-order Build-a-Bowl, which will ship out in early September! The book features 77 vibrant and fresh one-bowl meals, following this formula: whole grain + vegetable + protein + sauce = superpower meal! It’s truly my third child (I can’t wait to push this baby out!). If you order it now you’ll be the first to receive it, and it will really help me out (apparently pre-orders are important for store placements and all that stuff). PLUS, as a thank you I will send you a FREE ebook featuring 3 bonus recipes which you can make now! Click here for more information, and thank you so much for your support!!

No cook tomato sauce with pasta and shaved Pecorino in bowl

Don’t cook your tomato sauce! Why you should make this no cook sauce instead.

  • This tomato sauce comes together in 5 minutes and is perfect for quick weeknight meals!
  • It’s an adaptation of a Sicilian pesto and uses grape tomatoes, which are sweet and not too watery, as well as lots of fresh basil.
  • The sauce gets made right in the food processor, just like a regular pesto.
  • Toasted almonds lend a wonderful nutty flavor (almost like a romesco sauce), and they give the sauce body. Toast the almonds in a 350-degree oven or toaster oven for 3-5 minutes, until they’re fragrant and light golden, stirring occasionally. You can also use toasted hazelnuts for a different flavor profile.
  • Be sure to season the pasta and the sauce with plenty of salt and pepper. It’s imperative for flavor (you might need more than you need).
  • I love this sauce with Italian Pecorino Romano, which is a salty, sharp sheep’s milk cheese that pairs brilliantly with the sweetness from the sauce. You could also use Parmigiano Reggiano, which is a milder and sweeter. I prefer to shave the cheese instead of grating it, because you get a pop of flavor and texture with each bite (when you grate cheese, the flavor and texture gets lost).
  • You can omit the cheese for a vegan version!

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Get the recipe!

No-Cook Tomato Sauce with Toasted Almonds

This flavor-packed fresh tomato sauce comes together in just 5 minutes in the food processor, making it perfect for weeknights! I love shaving plenty of salty pecorino romano over top (Parmigiano is also delicious), but feel free to omit the cheese for a vegan version.
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Total Time20 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Author: Nicki Sizemore


  • 1 garlic clove peeled
  • 1 pound grape tomatoes
  • ¾ cup lightly packed basil leaves, divided, plus more for serving
  • ½ cup sliced almonds, lightly toasted and cooled
  • 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
  • 1 pound tubular pasta, such as penne or rigatoni
  • 2 ounces Pecorino Romano cheese for shaving, plus more for serving


  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
  • In a food processor with the motor running, drop the garlic clove through the feed tube to chop. Add the tomatoes, ½ cup of the basil, almonds and red pepper flakes, and season with salt and pepper. Process to a coarse paste. With the motor running, slow drizzle the olive oil through the feed tube until incorporated. Season to taste, and transfer to a large bowl.
  • Season the boiling water generously with salt, and cook the pasta until al dente according to the package directions.
  • Transfer the pasta to the bowl with the sauce, and season it with salt and pepper. Toss to coat. Using a vegetable peeler, shave the cheese over the pasta. Thinly slice the remaining basil, and add it as well. Toss gently. Serve the pasta warm or at room temperature with another sprinkle of basil. Pass additional cheese at the table.

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