14 No-Cook Pasta Sauces to Make This Summer
Want to beat the heat but still get a satisfying dinner on the table? Make one of our quick and easy no-cook pasta sauces. They're all made with the freshest ingredients, and you'll only need to turn on the stove to boil the noodles. We think they're the ultimate summer dinner for those days when you don't feel like grilling.
How we make dinner during the summer is a little different than the rest of the year. Notice we say "make dinner" because sometimes it just feels too hot to cook. Grilling helps—it gets us out of the kitchen and supplements all those crisp salads made with gorgeous seasonal produce. But there's no denying the draw of pasta, and at least once a week we like to enjoy a pasta dinner; that's when these no-cook sauce recipes come in handy. We're talking no-cook tomato sauce, as well as classic and out-of-the-box pestos. Then there's our no-cook puttanesca sauce, which is shown here, that's made with ripe juicy tomatoes, green olives, capers, and garlic, then finished with Pecorino Romano. And there's lots more where those came from.
Maybe you make pesto on the regular while your basil plant flourishes in the heat or the bunches of herbs at the farmers' market seduce you every time? It's one of the best no-cook sauces around, but take that herb-nut-cheese idea and expand it by trying Silician Pesto which swaps in bell pepper, tomatoes, anchovies, capers, and raisins for the basil and creates a vibrant orange sweet-and-sour sauce for spaghetti.
One of our favorite no-cook sauces for pasta is hardly a sauce at all. Instead, turn the beloved caprese salad into a pasta by tossing your choice of noodles with olive oil, garlic, tomatoes, chunks of burrata or mozzarella cheese, and fresh basil. It couldn't be easier, and it tastes so good.
We're sure you'll be making these no-cook pasta sauces all summer long.
No-Cook Tomato-Tuna Sauce with Spaghetti
To make this easy sauce, simply combine chopped tomatoes, olive oil, garlic, vinegar, and basil in a big bowl on the counter, and let it sit until the flavors meld and the ingredients break down a bit. Add tuna and plenty of grated Parmesan when you toss the sauce with just-cooked noodles.
Raw carrots, toasted hazelnuts, garlic, pecorino cheese, and olive oil make a vibrant orange sauce that's as flavorful as it is colorful. Top with more hazelnuts for the perfect amount of crunch.
Transforming Caprese salad into a pasta dish is astoundingly easy. Just toss your favorite noodle with olive oil, garlic, tomatoes, chunks of burrata or mozzarella cheese, and fresh basil.
Creamy Smoked Salmon Sauce
We've turned our favorite bagel toppings into a spectacular vehicle for bow-tie pasta. Simply combine hot farfalle with red onion, cream cheese, fresh dill, and smoked salmon.
Fresh Tomato Sauce
Ripe plum tomatoes, fresh basil and parsley, chopped garlic, and olive oil come together in a delicious raw sauce for spaghetti. Finish with Parmesan cheese for a truly delightful dish.
Goat Cheese Sauce
Combine goat cheese with pasta water for a light, creamy sauce that's perfect for coating spaghetti. Baby spinach, fresh parsley and cilantro, lemon zest and juice, and toasted walnuts complete the dish.
Not familiar with pesto that isn’t green? This Sicilian version is a riot of flavor and texture, thanks to the combination of red bell pepper, tomatoes, anchovies, capers, raisins, almonds, and Parmesan cheese.
Penne Rigate with Arugula-Almond Pesto
Upend your pesto routine with the winning flavor combination of arugula, almonds, garlic, lemon, and Parmesan.
Walnut Cream Sauce
Toasted walnuts, garlic, and heavy cream form a rich, buttery sauce for spinach linguine. Toss with more walnuts and plenty of Parmesan cheese and fresh parsley before serving.
Tomato-Bell Pepper Sauce
Marinate colorful cherry tomatoes and bell peppers in a mixture of oil, red-wine vinegar, and garlic for just 20 minutes, and you'll be rewarded with a delectable sauce for shells. Top with fresh basil and creamy ricotta.
Pasta water is the secret ingredient in this super light no-cook sauce. Just mix it with Parmesan cheese, lemon zest and juice, fresh mint, olive oil, and red-pepper flakes.
Olive Tapenade Sauce
Bold flavors are at the heart of this scrumptious sauce—briny Kalamata olives, fresh parsley and thyme, bright lemon and orange zest, and fiery red-pepper flakes. It clings beautifully to ribbons of pappardelle.