Tomato Basil Cream Sauce with Summer Squash Noodles

Two summers ago, I tried one of Alice Waters’ recipe for raw tomato sauce. I had a love/hate relationship with it. Deconstructed fresh tomatoes were something to celebrate and abhor, as if it were altogether too many seeds and pulp and skin to discover in a mouthful.


I’ve never been the kind of girl who will pluck a tomato from the vine and eat it on the spot without wincing from the acerbic affront to my taste buds. It’s not that I don’t appreciate the unadulterated fruit, it’s just that alone—it’s too complicated and edgy, kind of like a Francis Bacon painting.

garden heirloom tomatoes

To round out the raw tomato affect from Waters’ recipe, I doubled the amount of  basil, decreased the olive oil to a splash, then added a nut cream base with cashews and pine nuts. Instead of leaving the chunky sauce to marinate for an hour, I put all the ingredients in a blender until it turned into a sultry cream. All I can say is Oh, my. Welcome to Tomato-ville, baby—there’s no turning back now. Who wants to anyway.


On a scorching hot summer day, serve the sauce with raw summer squash noodles. No stove, just a box grater, cutting board, and a knife. Simple enough.

Tomato Basil Cream Sauce
Yield about 1 1/4 quarts or 5 cups

2 1/2 pounds ripe tomatoes
1/2 cup packed fresh basil leaves
3/4 cup raw cashews
1/4 cup raw pine nuts
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
sea salt (to taste)

Wash and cut the whole tomatoes into large chunks (the skins, seeds, and core go in the sauce). Add the tomatoes, basil, cashews, pine nuts, olive oil, and a few pinches of salt to the blender (or Vita-Mix). Blend until silky smooth. Taste and adjust salt, if necessary. Store in a glass jar in the refrigerator.

(This sauce is inspired by Alice Waters’ ‘Raw Tomato Sauce’ found in her cookbook, The Art of Simple Foods and Lauren Ulm’s “Super Quick Tomato Basil Cream Pasta” found on her website Vegan Yum Yum).

Summer Squash Noodles
Yield about 4 servings

1 zucchini
1 yellow squash

To make raw summer squash noodles, all you’ll need is a box grater and a sharp knife—that’s it.

Using the wide blade on the side of a box grater, carefully slide the long-edge of the squash (from bottom to top) along the blade. Make wide strips on one side of the squash just until the seeds appear, then rotate the squash to the opposite side and repeat. Do the same on the remaining two sides then repeat with the other squash. Once all the squash is cut into wide strips, stack a few of the strips and with a sharp knife, carefully cut the squash into 1/4-inch-long fettuccine-style noodle strips. Repeat with the remaining squash.

Tomato Basil Cream Sauce with Squash Noodles
Prepare 1 batch of each:

Tomato Basil Cream Sauce
Summer Squash Noodles

To assemble the dish: For each serving, combine about a cup of zucchini noodles and with a few spoonfuls of raw tomato basil cream sauce, enough to thoroughly coat the noodles. Garnish with fresh cherry tomatoes, chopped basil, and pine nuts.


  1. says

    What a great way to enjoy some of the best ingredients of summer. I adore pinenuts, but have never combined them with tomato – usually only just basil. I am looking forward to trying this before the season is over. Thanks :)

  2. says

    tonight for dinner i made smoked apple sausage w/ sauteed mushrooms, fennel, and garlic. long grain rice w/ ginger. blanched asparagus w/ olive oil and sea salt. and sliced yellow boy tomatoes w/ salt and fresh basil.

    and after reading your recipe, i’m hungry again. darn it.

  3. says

    Oh YUM! The sauce looks so thick and luscious and I never thought of turning summer squash into pasta! This sounds just perfect, I’m making it for dinner tomorrow.

    • ArtandLemons says

      Marie, The sauce is also terrific tossed with cooked pasta along with the chopped basil and cherry tomatoes…

    • ArtandLemons says

      Thanks, Viviane. Oh, basil. As I wrote, I garnish the dish with extra basil and I, too, can’t get enough.

  4. says

    I always feel guilty cooking those lovely heirloom tomatoes from the market, but at the same time, there’s only so many caprese salads and tomato sandwiches a gal can eat before she can’t stand to look at another raw tomato… so this uncooked sauce and “pasta” sounds just perfect to me.
    (Then again, I’m one of those people who can and does eat tomatoes right off the vine… there’s nothing quite like a fresh-picked tomato, all juicy and mildly acidic and still warm from the summer sun)

    • ArtandLemons says

      Isabelle-Yep, I’m with you. Even the part about eating them off the vine (in theory for me of course). Tons of caprese salads and tomato sandwiches around here as well. Hope this sauce helps…

  5. says

    This sounds great! I am not the grab a tomato and eat it type myself. I have to say that normally I wouldn’t use nuts in a pasta dish cause I’m just not big on nuts but something about this one is very appealing. I LOVE the “noodles”. Ingenious!

    • ArtandLemons says

      Thanks, Janet. About the nuts. They offer a rich cream-like texture and their flavors are more of a distant note. So don’t let their presence dissuade you from trying it. Up front, it’s all tomato and basil.

  6. Catherine says

    I made this tonight and it was totally amazing. The sauce was perfect with the summer squash, and totally satisfying. thank you!

    • ArtandLemons says

      Catherine, Thanks for your comment and for letting me know how the recipe turned out. I’m glad you liked the squash noodles and sauce, it’s light yet tastes indulgent!

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