This is the perfect summer pasta with flavors that are both refreshing and cleansing! Only 9 ingredients and 20 minutes of your time are needed to make this tangy and sweet wafu style spaghetti. It’s one of my favorite summer dishes!
What is the one food or flavor profile that makes you drool whenever you find yourself thinking about it?
For me it’s the combination of rice vinegar, soy sauce, and sesame oil which is very Japanese. It brightens up a dish and gives it that wafu taste I’ve come to love so much.
So whenever I make a Japanese style pasta, I like to use that flavor profile as the base of my sauce and build upon it.
What is Wafu (和風)?
Wafu is a term used in Japan to express things that have a “Japanese style”.
It can be used for architecture, food, art, fashion, music, and other categories. For example, wafu pasta, which means Japanese style pasta, is used when comparing a pasta with a Japanese taste, to one from abroad. The syllable ‘wa’ represents Japan, its philosophy, and its culture.
Ingredients for Chilled Japanese Tomato Pasta
- Tomatoes: You can use regular tomatoes or roma tomatoes. If you happen to have some delicious homegrown tomatoes, you will definitely want to use those! The flavor of the sauce will be heavily influenced by the quality of tomatoes you are using. I chose roma tomatoes this time because they looked and smelled the best.
- Soy sauce: Soy sauce is one of the main ingredients for umami in Japanese cooking. Adding a little to this sauce will also add earthiness and a savory element.
- Rice vinegar: Plain rice vinegar is the magic ingredient that makes this dish so refreshing! The acidic taste has a strong presence and feels incredibly cleansing.
- Miso paste: I recommend using white miso paste or awase miso paste for this recipe. I often combine tomatoes and miso paste together because they go so well.
- Sugar: Since this sauce can be quite acidic and salty, a little sugar helps to balance out the sauce and tone it down.
- Dashi powder: Dashi powder impart such a lovely flavor to the sauce. Delicate yet very present, the smoky briny taste is unmistakable, making this dish truly Japanese.
- Sesame oil: Sesame oil adds nuttiness and also helps to tone down the acidity.
- Extra virgin olive oil: Use your best olive oil for this as it will be used as a flavor enhancer for the sauce.
- Shiso leaves: Shiso leaves add a lovely bright and herbaceous taste to the pasta, making it even more authentically Japanese.
- Pasta: You can technically use any type of pasta for this dish but I personally love thin spaghetti or vermicelli. The slurping action makes it so you fully enjoy the aroma of the sauce as it hits your tastebuds.
How to Make Japanese Tomato Pasta
- Gather all of your kitchen tools and ingredients.
- Fil a medium size pot with water and bring to a boil.
- Meanwhile, cut an X across the skin of each tomato, going from the bottom almost up to the stem.
- Add the tomatoes to the boiling water and boil for 10-20 seconds, until the skin starts to separate.
- Take the tomatoes out of the water and turn the heat off. Discard the water and let the tomatoes cool for a few minutes.
- Peel the tomatoes using your finger and remove the stem.
- Add the tomatoes, soy sauce, rice vinegar, miso paste, sugar, dashi powder, sesame oil, and olive oil to a blender, and blend until smooth.
- Transfer to a bowl and refrigerate.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to boil and add the pasta. Cook until al dente, according to the directions on the box.
- Drain and rinse under the pasta under cold water. Drain again, well.
- Divide the pasta among bowls and pour the sauce over. Top with shiso leaves. Enjoy!
What to Serve with Japanese Tomato Pasta
The sauce is so full of flavor that it’s best to stick to side dishes that are on the milder side. And because this is more of a summer dish, I like to keep the entire meal on the lighter side.
While Italian pasta pairs beautifully with a basket of warm bread, wafu pasta is better with salads and dishes that have Japanese roots.
Some of my favorites are:
- Japanese egg drop soup (kakitamajiru) – This is a really easy and quick to make soup that’s similar to Chinese egg drop soup, but uses dashi instead of chicken broth. It’s a very light and delicate soup.
- Japanese watercress salad (cresson salada) – This is a traditional Japanese watercress salad with nutty and sweet flavors.
- Miso soup – My mother’s recipe for miso soup is my favorite. While most miso soups in the US contain tofu and seaweed, this one is made with onions that have absorbed all the good flavors of the broth.
- Green salad with carrot ginger dressing – This is the classic Japanese steakhouse salad dressing you find everywhere across the country. It’s also one of the most popular recipes on the blog.
- Wafu style grilled bell peppers – Slightly charred and tender grilled bell peppers served with a sweet and savory sauce, and topped with bonito flakes. So delicious!
Did you like this Chilled Japanese Tomato Pasta? Are there changes you made that you would like to share? Share your tips and recommendations in the comments section below!Print
This is the perfect summer pasta with flavors that are both refreshing and cleansing!
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 3 1/2 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 2 teaspoons miso paste
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoon dashi granules
- 1 1/2 tablespoon sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 550gr tomatoes (about 3 roma tomatoes)
- Pinch of salt (optional)
- 1 pound dry spaghetti or angel hair spaghetti
- 4–6 shiso leaves, shredded
- Bring a small pot of water to boil.
- Cut an X across the skin of the tomatoes, starting from the top side opposite of the stem, all the way down to the stem.
- Add the tomatoes to the boiling water and leave for 20-30 seconds, until the skin begins to peel.
- Remove the tomatoes and place them on a flat surface. Let cool for a few minutes.
- Peel the skin using your fingers and remove the stem with a paring knife or a stem corer.
- Add the tomatoes and all of the remaining ingredients for the sauce in a blender, and blend until smooth.
- Transfer the sauce to a bowl and refrigerate.
- Bring a pot of salted water to boil and cook the spaghetti according to the directions on the package.
- Drain and rinse under cold water. Drain well.
- Divide the pasta into serving sizes and pour the sauce on top.
- Top with shiso leaves and serve.
Store the sauce separate from the pasta, in an airtight storage container. It will keep refrigerated for up to 1 week.
- Serving Size: About 1 cup cooked spaghetti with 1/4 cup sauce
- Calories: 285
- Sugar: 6.9g
- Sodium: 216.8mg
- Fat: 5.4g
- Saturated Fat: 0.8g
- Unsaturated Fat: 1.6g
- Trans Fat: 0g
- Carbohydrates: 50.2g
- Fiber: 2.8g
- Protein: 8.9g
- Cholesterol: 0mg
Keywords: main, wafu