Easy Tomato & Pasta Salad

This is the quintessential summer salad. It travels beautifully, and is perfect for any family-style get-together. Use a mix of the best tomatoes you can get your hands on. I love a mix of heirlooms, green zebras, and multi-colored cherry tomatoes cut into bite-sized bursts of summer. Bonus - you can make the dressing a day or two ahead of time. To make this gluten-free, use a gluten-free pasta


  • 1/4 pound kale, loosely chopped or baby kale
  • 8 ounces dried whole-grain short pasta
  • 1 teaspoon whole caraway seeds
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons harissa paste
  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup water or almond milk
  • 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 1 tablespoon tahini (optional)
  • 2 pounds of tomatoes, halved or quartered
  • lots of fresh basil, torn or thinly sliced
  • to serve, any or all of the following: herb flowers, thinly sliced makrut lime leaves, torn olives, chopped toasted almonds, cooked black or French lentils


  1. Arrange the kale in a large serving bowl. Cook the pasta in salted water per the package instructions, drain, and shake off any additional water.

Make the Dressing

  1. Make the dressing by toasting the caraway in a dry skillet just until fragrant - a minute or two, tossing regularly. Transfer to a mortar and pestle, and crush the seeds. Add the garlic, and the salt, and crush into a paste. Work in the harissa, followed by the lemon juice, and then the water, eventually the nutritional yeast, and tahini (if using). Taste and add more salt if needed (I sometimes add a bit of sweetness at this step too if the lemon is too assertive).

Toss and Assemble the Pasta Salad

  1. Just before serving pour 1/3 of the dressing over the kale and toss well. Add the pasta, another third of the dressing, and toss again. Arrange the tomatoes, and basil on top of the kale-pasta, and give the gentlest toss, being extra nice to the tomatoes. Drizzle with the remaining dressing, and top with any of the suggestion extra toppings. Enjoy!
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Serves 6