Grilled Marinara Pasta Recipe

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We’ve been making grill packets all summer so when I was thinking of how I could put a twist on a classic tomato sauce, they were the first thing to come to mind. Packets of potatoes, onions, peppers and summer squash work on the grill, so why wouldn’t tomatoes, right?

I have to admit when I got all the grilled veggies pureed and took a taste, I was disappointed. The flavor I wanted just wasn’t there. But then I added salt. The next bite popped in my mouth! The salt brought out the smoky flavor from the grill which is exactly what I was hoping for.

A few packets of tomato may not be enough for heating up a large grill, but this marinara is the perfect thing to make when you have the grill up and running for other things. (We grilled ours while making a chicken this weekend.) Then you can quickly throw the sauce together and freeze it for another day if it doesn’t fit on your current menu.

This ends up being a basic marinara for any type of pasta. I am a huge fan of homemade, but I went for a quick meal this weekend and used a whole wheat penne. The veggies only need to be roughly chopped for the grill packets. They’ll be going straight to the blender to puree so there is no reason to spend a lot of time on the prep.

I’ll be doing this with our tomatoes for the rest of the season! The flavor is so much more interesting than when I roast the veggies in the oven.

Grilled Marinara Pasta Recipe

1 medium onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, peeled
~2.75 lbs tomatoes, cored and chopped
1 red or green bell pepper, cored and chopped
~15 leaves fresh basil
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp salt
1 lb pasta, cooked

Preheat the grill to 325 degrees F.

You will need 3 large pieces of aluminum foil, about 14 to 16 in long. You want the veggies wrapped well, so be generous.

Divide the onion, garlic cloves, tomatoes, bell pepper and basil evenly on each of the three pieces of foil. Drizzle a little of the olive oil on each packet and move the veggies around a bit to coat them.

You can use any packet making techniques because I’m no expert, but I fold the long sides in first. Then I pull the two ends together in the center to meet and roll them down, smashing things together as I go. As long as you have a sealed packet, you’ll be fine. Need help? Here’s a post with instructions.

Place the packets on the grill, and cook for 30 to 40 minutes, until the veggies are tender. Remove them from the grill and transport them into the kitchen.

Once they are cool enough to touch, place the veggies in the blender in batches. Puree until smooth and pour the puree in a soup pot on the stove. Turn on low heat, and add the balsamic vinegar and the salt. Stir occasionally. You are only warming the sauce again until you are ready to eat it. If you plan to freeze it, you can skip the heating, mix in the vinegar and salt and portion it for freezing.

Pour the sauce over pasta and garnish with basil and parmesan cheese. Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Come share in the tomato love at the Tomato Love Recipe Exchange, hosted by Gimme Some Oven & Bake Your Day, sponsored this week by Pappardelle’s Also visit Recipe for Change to learn more about how to support tomato farmers.

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  1. says

    yup – grilling tomatoes is definitely unique and i love it! :) what a fun way to use up all the extra tomatoes in the garden this year – though i didn’t plant any. stupid, moving across the country. haha. but i will pick some extra ones up at the farmer’s market and try this out.

    if you feel up for it, i’m co-hosting a linky party called The Wednesday Fresh Foods Blog Hop – you’re more than welcome to stop by this Wednesday and link up this incredible seasonal, real food recipe :) hope to see you there!

  2. says

    Taste HongKong – Thanks! I do like oven tomatoes as well. A great option when there is no grill around.

    Cassie – Thanks! Glad I squeezed in some participation this week!

    Susan – Thanks so much! Our overload definitely inspired this recipe. It has been a big year for tomatoes!

    Kristy Lynn – Hope the move went well, and thanks for the invite!

  3. says

    Delicious! I can only imagine the complexity that grilling adds. And I was just thinking about boiling some pasta for dinner tonight. Thank you for sharing!