Grilled Marinara Pasta Recipe

August 12, 2012

This recipe is one of the most creative things we’ve made on the grill. Grilling tomatoes in packets and then turning those tomatoes into marinara results in a unforgettable smoky sauce.

Grilled Tomato Marinara Sauce | Fake Food Free
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.

Grill packets with tomatoes for marinara.

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 Tomato Marinara Sauce | Fake Food Free

Grilled Tomato Marinara Pasta Recipe
Makes: 4 to 6 servings
Write a review
  1. 1 medium onion, chopped
  2. 4 cloves garlic, peeled
  3. ~2.75 lbs. tomatoes, cored and chopped
  4. 1 red or green bell pepper, cored and chopped
  5. ~15 leaves fresh basil
  6. 1 tablespoon olive oil
  7. 1/2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  8. 1 teaspoon fine ground sea salt
  9. 1 lb. pasta, cooked
  10. Extra basil and shaved parmesan for serving
  1. Preheat the grill to 325 degrees F.
  2. You will need 3 large pieces of aluminum foil, about 14 to 16 inches long. You want the veggies wrapped well, so be generous.
  3. Divide the onion, garlic cloves, tomatoes, bell pepper and basil evenly on each of the three pieces of foil. Drizzle some of the olive oil over the vegetables in each packet and move the veggies around a bit to coat them.
  4. You can use any packet making techniques, 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.
  5. Place the packets on the grill, and close the lid. Let cook for 30 to 40 minutes, until the veggies are tender. Remove them from the grill and transport them into the kitchen.
  6. 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.)
  7. Place the pasta in a serving bowl. Pour the sauce over pasta, and garnish with basil and parmesan cheese.
Fake Food Free


Thanks for reading! All images and content are the property of Fake Food Free unless otherwise stated. Please do not republish full recipes and images without written permission. What is okay? Feel free to Pin images, share links to my posts or share the photo in a round up post with the title of this recipe and a link back to the post. If you want to use a photo or full recipe, just ask. Iā€™m sure we can work something out.

You Might Also Like

  • TasteHongKong August 13, 2012 at 12:09 am

    Cool idea, saving the task and time for pan-frying, I very much love having grilled tomatoes in sauces though I have to make them in oven.

  • Cassie/Bake Your Day August 13, 2012 at 6:12 am

    I love how unique this is Lori. I bet it has such a deep flavor. Thanks so much for sharing!

  • Susan August 13, 2012 at 11:17 am

    Wow, this look so delicious and unique! We are overloaded with tomatoes from our garden and I have been struggling to find ways to use all of them! Thanks so much for the recipe šŸ™‚

    Budget Earth – Kid Friendly Vegetarian Cookbooks

  • Kristy Lynn August 13, 2012 at 4:35 pm

    yup – grilling tomatoes is definitely unique and i love it! šŸ™‚ 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 šŸ™‚ hope to see you there!

  • Lori August 14, 2012 at 3:10 am

    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!

  • Joanne August 14, 2012 at 4:55 am

    The smoky flavor you’ve infused into that pasta sauce sounds amazing! Definitely makes me wish I had a grill.

  • Michelle @ Find Your Balance August 14, 2012 at 5:56 pm

    Ooh what a great idea! I can think of so many different veggie-type sauces that can be made like this…hmmm…grill it up and blend, I’m all over it!

  • August 15, 2012 at 8:40 am

    I can only imagine how delicious this pasta must be! Our tomatoes are starting to ripen and I can’t wait to give this a try! šŸ™‚

  • Monet August 15, 2012 at 3:31 pm

    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!