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Margherita Pasta (Dairy Free)

Margherita pasta is made with simple ingredients such as ripe juicy tomatoes, fresh herbs, olive oil, and dairy free mozzarella to yield the most delicious summer meal. This recipe is the pasta version of a classic Italian pizza yet is dairy-free, and can easily be made gluten-free.

Looking for more dairy free Italian recipes? Try my marry me chicken pasta (dairy free), spaghetti arrabbiata, or spaghetti alla nerano.

What You’ll Love About This Recipe

  • Fresh – This easy Margherita pasta recipe uses fresh ingredients for the best fresh flavor.
  • Crowd pleaser – A great pasta dish for a dinner party or Italian night as Margherita represents the colors of the Italian flag.
  • Flavorful – like traditional Margherita pizza, this pasta variation has tomato sauce, sweet basil, extra virgin olive oil, and dairy free mozzarella cheese.
  • No measurements needed – This is the perfect dish to exercise your intuitive cooking muscle. Measure the amount of sliced tomatoes, fresh basil, and mozzarella with your heart.

Ingredients

You only need a handful of ingredients for this easy recipe:

  • Pasta – for this recipe, I recommend using spaghetti noodles over short noodles such as farfalle or penne pasta.
  • Pasta sauce – you won’t use too much, so choose something with a lot of flavor.
  • Fresh basil leaves – add so much flavor to the dish. You must use fresh basil, not dried.
  • Fresh mozzarella cheese – for dairy-free, I highly recommend making my dairy free mozzarella cheese ahead of time.
  • Ripe tomatoes – for the best flavor, use in-season cherry tomatoes or sun gold tomatoes. If using Roma tomatoes, you’ll want to cut them into smaller pieces.
  • Extra virgin olive oil – for drizzling over the pasta.
  • Balsamic vinegar – a little bit of this goes a long way and enhances all the flavors.
  • Flakey salt and freshly cracked black pepper – to taste.

How to Make Margherita Pasta: Step By Step

Here are some quick visual instructions. The full instructions and ingredient list will be in the printable recipe card below!

1. Cook pasta. Cook the pasta in a large pot of salted boiling water until al dente according to package directions. Reserve 1/2 cup of pasta water before draining the noodles.

2. Add sauce. Add the cooked pasta back into the pot and pour in the pasta sauce. Toss together until the noodles are lightly coated. If your sauce is too thick, add 1-2 tablespoons of reserved pasta water at a time to thin the sauce as needed. Divide the noodles between four bowls.

3. Assemble. Freely top each bowl of pasta with torn mozzarella balls, sliced fresh tomatoes, and torn basil leaves. Drizzle extra virgin olive oil over the top and add a splash of balsamic vinegar. Season with flakey salt, and freshly ground black pepper, to taste.

Helpful Tips

  • Reserve pasta water – the pasta water is full of starchy goodness that you can use to thin out the pasta sauce if you want a more cohesive sauce.
  • Use your hands – sometimes using a knife to cut the basil can cause it to blacken. For a more rustic look, tear the fresh basil leaves and mozzarella with your hands.

Quick Tip: Make the dairy free mozzarella ahead of time. It needs a bit of time to chill for the best flavor and texture.

Storage

Store leftover pasta in an airtight container in the fridge and eat in the next day or two.

Make It Your Way: Substitutions & Variations

Please remember that recipes are just a starting point.

How can you make this spaghetti margherita using what you already have? Here are some ideas…

  • Make it gluten-free – use your favorite gluten-free pasta.
  • No mozzarella? – sub almond ricotta or dairy ricotta if not dairy-free.
  • Add-ins – fresh garlic, red pepper flakes for a little heat, or parmesan cheese (dairy free or traditional).
  • Make chicken Margherita pasta – add cooked skinless chicken breasts or a rotisserie chicken to make it even more filling.

More Pasta Recipes

I hope you love this Margherita Pasta! If you make it, be sure to leave a comment & a star rating so I know how you liked it!

Margherita Pasta (Dairy Free)

5 from 2 votes
Two bowls of margherita pasta with sliced cherry tomatoes, torn mozzarella, basil leaves, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar.
Margherita pasta is made with simple ingredients such as ripe juicy tomatoes, fresh herbs, olive oil, and dairy free mozzarella to yield the most delicious summer meal. This recipe is the pasta version of a classic Italian pizza yet is dairy-free, and can easily be made gluten-free.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Serving Size 4

Ingredients
 

Instructions

  • Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Reserve ½ cup of pasta water before draining the noodles.
  • Add the cooked pasta back into the pot and add the pasta sauce. Toss together until the noodles are lightly coated. If your sauce is too thick, add 1-2 tablespoons of reserved pasta water at a time to thin the sauce as needed.
  • Divide the noodles between four bowls and freely top each bowl of pasta with torn mozzarella, sliced fresh tomatoes, and torn basil leaves. Drizzle extra virgin olive oil over the top and add a splash of balsamic vinegar. Season with flakey salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste.

Notes

Measure the amount of sliced tomatoes, fresh basil, and mozzarella with your heart.
If using Roma tomatoes, cut them into smaller pieces.
Store leftover pasta in an airtight container in the fridge and eat in the next day or two.

Make It Your Way: Substitutions & Variations

Make it gluten-free – use your favorite gluten-free pasta.
No mozzarella? – sub almond ricotta or dairy ricotta if not dairy-free.
Add-ins – fresh garlic, red pepper flakes for a little heat, or parmesan cheese (dairy free or traditional).
Make chicken Margherita pasta – add cooked skinless chicken breasts or a rotisserie chicken to make it even more filling.

2 Comments

  1. Brooky Sherwood says:

    This pasta dish was as stellar as it was simple. Delicious and satisfying and so easy and enjoyable to make tomatoes and basil are overflowing from my garden right now, I used dairy mozzarella and a sprinkling of Parmesan on each plate. Will be making this frequently throughout August. Thanks Lindsey!!

    1. I’m so glad you loved it as much as we do!

5 from 2 votes (2 ratings without comment)

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