Smoky Tomato Almond Pasta Sauce

Smoky Tomato Almond Pasta Sauce ⎮ happy hearted kitchenSmoky Tomato Almond Pasta Sauce ⎮ happy hearted kitchenSmoky Tomato Almond Pasta Sauce ⎮ happy hearted kitchenSmoky Tomato Almond Pasta Sauce ⎮ happy hearted kitchen

In northern Norway fruits and vegetables don’t come cheap and carrots are sold in kilogram bags. This did not go over well with me last summer as a hungry veggie loving traveler on a budget. The weight of our food bag would often be the cause of a few disagreements during our trip – I needed vegetables and I was sneaking in bags of carrots to get me through. It didn’t last long before Matt caught on, and since I was the one carrying the bag, it wasn’t really working out in my favor either.

We ate pasta twice a day almost all summer long. I’m not even exaggerating a little bit. I thought, after a week or two, that I would eventually get sick of it but the crazy thing is I never did. I would daydream about sandwiches and salads and anything else that wasn’t a plate of hot carbs, but when it started getting close to lunch time, a big bowl of pasta was the most satisfying thing I could think of (that and maybe a few carrot sticks). I kept olive oil and herbamare in my tiny portable pantry and a salty, oily pasta dish was what our hungry camper dreams were made of .

Pasta is probably the most well known comfort food out there, and for me there is nothing better than a simple bowl of salty spaghetti. It reminds me of moments under the rain sheltered by our tent, slurping up pasta with a spork, the steam fogging up my glasses but also warming my chilled fingers. Talk about finding ultimate comfort in good food.

When you find yourself back in a working kitchen with a stocked pantry, I guess you can allow yourself to get little more creative. This sauce is inspired by one of my favorites dips, craving it one night but finding nothing good worth dunking but a bag of spaghetti. The sauce is creamy and smoky and just a little spicy. The recipe makes a little more than enough for two, so you can really drown your pasta in it, or like me, eat the leftovers with a spoon. I love serving it with a big salad of shaved fennel, arugula and dukkah. But, if you’re in a pinch, carrot sticks will do just fine.

Smoky Tomato Almond Pasta Sauce ⎮ happy hearted kitchenSmoky Tomato Almond Pasta Sauce ⎮ happy hearted kitchenSmoky Tomato Almond Pasta Sauce ⎮ happy hearted kitchenSmoky Tomato Almond Pasta Sauce ⎮ happy hearted kitchen


I’m a spaghetti girl to the end, but feel free to use whatever pasta you want here. I usually opt for spelt or kamut spaghetti, but this brand does make a satisfying gluten free version as well. Smoked paprika will change your life in the kitchen, so if you can find some near you it’s definitely worth the search, if not regular paprika will do just fine. You can also use whole almonds instead of almond meal, but the sauce will be much more like a pesto than a creamy sauce, both are good options in my opinion.

Wine optional, fork + spoon mandatory. Twirl, slurp and enjoy x

Serves 2. Vegan + Gluten Free.


2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 small yellow onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 roasted red pepper, homemade or storebought – roughly chopped
1/2 cup ground almonds (almond meal)
3 tablespoons fresh parsley
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
Pinch of red chili flakes
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 398ml can fire roasted tomatoes
Pasta of choice for two


Heat olive oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add in onions and garlic and sauté until soft. Add roasted red pepper, ground almonds, parsley, paprika, chili and salt and stir to combine – the mixture will look like a paste.

Continue to cook over medium heat, stirring often, until the almonds are fragrant and toasty, about 5-6 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool. Add mixture to a blender with tomatoes and blend until smooth, adding a drizzle of olive oil if needed.

Return the now smooth sauce to a sauce pan and simmer until pasta is ready, taste and adjust seasoning if needed.

Cook pasta following package instructions. Add a bit of the starchy pasta water to thin out the sauce towards the end of cooking – if needed.

Serve with a little extra fresh parsley, ground almonds and a drizzle of olive oil.

Let me in on your kitchen creations – tag your photos #happyheartedkitchen and share the love!


  • Reply
    Warm Vanilla Sugar
    March 1, 2016 at 1:27 pm

    Such a delicious sounding pasta sauce! This looks wonderful!

  • Reply
    Shelley Ludman
    March 1, 2016 at 2:07 pm

    I know that Spring officially kicks off today, but not here in la belle province. So until the snow melts and the temperatures warm up, I’ll take this warm bowl of comfort food over rhubarb or pea tendrils ;) Oh, and considering I LOVE that dip, I am allllll over this pasta. YUM xx

    • Reply
      Jodi Kay
      March 3, 2016 at 6:32 pm

      Yes indeed – I think we still have a good month of comfort food ahead of us here! So until pea tendrils sprout, I guess it’s all pasta and pizzas ;) xx

  • Reply
    Tessa | Salted Plains
    March 1, 2016 at 3:29 pm

    This sounds (and looks!) fantastic. It’s funny how there are those meals that we can eat in repetition and never tire of, they just continue to bring comfort! Lovely, Jodi!

  • Reply
    Jessie Snyder | Faring Well
    March 4, 2016 at 3:02 pm

    That sauce Jodi! I’m not much of a pasta person, but I would devour this in a heartbeat with that creamy, red sauce coating it all. I love hearing about your stories from your big trip too. This picture of you two sitting inside a tent with it rainy outside while eating a big bowl of this. Perfection. Hugs, friend! xo

    • Reply
      Jodi Kay
      March 7, 2016 at 1:18 pm

      Thanks, Jessie! The sauce alone is so comforting – it would be perfect on top of some millet and roasting veggies too! Happy almost spring, friend! x

  • Reply
    Sophie | The Green Life
    March 8, 2016 at 2:35 am

    Ooh, I just want to dig right into that bowl of pasta! This sauce sounds so creamy and delicious. I’m totally saving the recipe for later. Beautiful Jodi, as always. <3

  • Reply
    genevieve @ gratitude and gree
    March 12, 2016 at 2:41 am

    I think this is one of the best phrases I have read in a while: “what our hungry camper dreams are made of”. I would totally be sneaking carrots along if I were you, too! I love pasta but I’m afraid that I do get tired of pasta after a while, haha. I am so loving the smokiness in this dish! <3

    • Reply
      Jodi Kay
      March 14, 2016 at 2:20 pm

      Me too – I just love that smoky flavor! Hope you’re well, Gen! x

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  • Reply
    December 22, 2016 at 2:36 pm This dish is the greatest! I’ve made it a few times now and it never disappoints!! Probably my favourite pasta recipe ever (and I eat a lot of pasta!) I roasted the peppers myself like you said, also added some dried Italian herbs as well as the fresh parsley and added a tablespoon of Philadelphia cheese at the end just to make it extra creamy ! Had it with wholegrain organic fusilli- such a dream. Thank you so much for this recipe :)

    • Reply
      Jodi Kay
      December 24, 2016 at 7:41 am

      Oh thank you so much, Rohini! I love your version of the recipe :) Happy holidays to you + yours x

  • Reply
    Raghav Agarwal
    November 1, 2017 at 1:57 pm

    Wow! I made this for dinner today, and I can’t believe it was so quick and easy! And it turned out to be so delicious! Saved some for tomorrow’s breakfast and I’m sure I’m going to be making this again and again! Thank you for the recipe! :D

    • Reply
      November 2, 2017 at 10:31 pm

      Oh thank you so much! I’m so pleased you enjoyed it :)

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