The BEST EVER Tomato Mac and Cheese you can make is ridiculously cheesy, rich with tomato flavours and has a crunchy breadcrumb topping.
Calling all mac and cheese lovers! This oven baked mac and cheese with tomato is your new delicious pasta bake.
For an easy family friendly recipe you will love, whip up a batch tonight.
Everyone loves a good ole mac and cheese recipe. Or even cheesier, a Blue Cheese Mac and Cheese. But sometimes it is good to mix it up a bit and those times call for tomato mac and cheese!
The ideas are the same but we are taking it up a notch by roasting our tomatoes, blitzing them then adding cheese to create a delicious crunchy topping.
This tomato mac and cheese is a delicious twist on a traditional mac and cheese with a toasted breadcrumb topping.
How do you make tomato mac and cheese
To make Tomato Mac and Cheese we start with simple ingredients.
The photo below shows you the ingredients for this recipe.
- fresh tomatoes
- mozzarella cheese
- onion flakes
- multigrain breadcrumbs
The other ingredient we need is our pasta. There are a few options here. Traditional macaroni works well as does curly noodle pasta (what I use for this recipe) and penne pasta. Pasta is versatile enough for there be multiple types that will work and create various textures in the dish!
These are ingredients which you have likely cooked with before and we just need to add a little love and attention to create a delicious mac and cheese.
For the tomatoes, I use roma tomatoes, you can use these or you can use traditional round tomatoes. Both will result in deliciously fragrant roasted tomatoes. Sometimes when I have had different types of tomatoes, I have used those also. The thing to keep in mind is that there is flexibility in this recipe for the tomatoes to be this, that or whatever you have.
The tomatoes take barely any time at all to prepare as is a simple matter of slicing and roasting them
When making tomato mac and cheese follow this method
Start by cutting your tomatoes, followed by your garlic.
Once that is done, add some oil to a non stick pan and place your tomatoes face down. There will be people who cook their tomatoes face up and sprinkle to season. You can also do that. The difference is if you place them face down the garlic and herbs will cook in the oil and get to that extra level of crunchy like caramelized state. If you place the face them up the seasoning mostly goes on top of and into the tomatoes and cooks but stays soft.
At the end of the cooking process in roasting the tomatoes, we are going to take all of the ingredients from our pan, scoop it into a jug and blend it to combine.
This is one recipe when I do recommend freshly sliced garlic. You can use minced if it is the only one you have though. I find the garlic cloves taste amazing after they have cooked during the time the tomatoes are roasting and the minced garlic doesn’t have the same texture to allow for caramelisation to take place.
The photo below shows you the steps to take to roast your tomatoes for the mac and cheese sauce.
How do you make tomato make and cheese
The next steps for this recipe are making our sauce from the roasted tomatoes.
After you have removed the tomatoes from the oven, let them cool for a bit.
You can see from the photos below that there are 4 easy steps to follow.
- scooping the roasted tomatoes and seasoning into a jug
- blending this mix using a stick blender
- adding cheese to the blitzed tomatoes
- stirring to combine
I find it really easy to use a small jug that is still large enough to fit the sauce without it splashing everywhere.
You can see in the photos I have a heatproof glass jug and this is a one litre variety. It is a very handy kitchen jug to have!
Old fashioned mac and cheese with tomatoes
Cook your pasta the old fashioned way. In a saucepan on the stovetop. Use a little oil or salt in the water if you like. Keep the pasta al dente as it can loose its structure if you overcook it. Al dente means cooked so still firm when bitten. Usually my macaroni takes about 6 mins to get to this point and 8 mins to fully cook.
As we are cooking the pasta on the stove and then again in the oven, it is better to have it be under rather than over cooked before it goes into the oven. I usually use a slotted spoon over the pan to take a piece and and test it as my preferred method to know when it is right to be removed from the stove.
Now that we have our mac cooked and our cheesy tomato sauce ready to go, we need to pour the sauce over the macaroni and stir it to combine.
The photo below shows you this process.
On the left is the sauce is being poured into the bowl of macaroni and on the right I am using a spoon to stir these together to get dreamy cheesy tomato mac and cheese!
Once you have stirred the sauce with the pasta we move on to getting it into the oven.
How long does it take to cook tomato mac and cheese
It takes about 30 mins all up to cook this recipe. 40 depending on your oven. 30 mins is for the initial roasting of the tomatoes and 10 for baking to allow the cheesy tomato sauce to melt and the breadcrumbs to toast.
If you have a look at the photo below, you will see the final steps needed to get this recipe into the oven.
We need to:
- scoop the mac and sauce into an oiled baking tray
- sprinkle with a little cheese
- add breadcrumbs
then pop it into the oven to bake.
I like to top it with fresh parsley for pops of colour and cracked pepper. YUMMO, am I right?
Can I freeze chicken tomato mac and cheese
You can freeze tomato mac and cheese.
The 2 methods are to make it and freeze it whilst in the baking dish before cooking it OR make it and freeze it after cooking it in the baking dish. It is also super easy to portion out into easily reheatable meals.
For an easy family friendly recipe that you can make on a weekend and reheat during the week, look no further than this tomato mac and cheese.
Being vegetarian it also ticks the Meatless Monday box, so it is perfect for prepare in advance on the Sunday.
Tomato mac and cheese reheats very well. It makes perfect lunches or an appetiser. Serve it to guests at parties or kids for a tasty, simple pasta dish.
Tomato Mac and Cheese questions answered:
About the recipe:
- this recipe uses fresh tomatoes
- dried onion provides flavour but saves time and tears!
- thyme is used to roast the tomatoes
- you can use any type of tomatoes
- traditional macaroni or curly pasta are best
Your quick questions answered:
- preheat your oven to make the final steps much quicker
- use cooking spray on your baking dish to save clean up time
- you can freeze this dish before or after cooking
- serve on its own or with a simple side salad
- use parsley and cracked pepper to garnish
- This is an EASY recipe
Serve the dish in a large baking tray or in small ramekins for individual servings!
For a family meal, it is nice to share a large dish between you. For guests, you might want to offer individual servings as shown in the ramekins above.
The breadcrumbs will toast nicely in the oven and make a great crunchy texture. This contrasts well with the smooth pasta and cheesy sauce.
For serving in the ramekins, you can either portion it out and cook it in them. Or cook the mac and cheese in your baking dish and then portion it into the ramekins.
The mac and cheese will transfer well as it is not squashed down in the baking tray initially so the pasta will hold its shape and be very easily scoopable.
Pasta recipes for dinner
If pasta bakes are your thing and this tomato mac and cheese makes you want to make them more often, here are some other recipe ideas:
- Beef Bean Pasta Bake (my all time favourite pasta bake)
- Fiesta Tuna Pasta Bake
- Blue Cheese Mac and Cheese (I seriously love this recipe!!)
You will find that you can experiment with the way you prepare this and if you want to make a large batch or smaller servings as shown in the picture above.
Or you might want to warm your belly with some comfort foods, in which case, check out the below dishes.
Winter Warming Recipe Ideas
- Chicken Thighs in Creamy Garlic Wine Sauce (one pot recipe)
- Blue Cheese Mac and Cheese (vegetarian recipe)
- Beef Bean Pasta Bake (family favorite)
- Minestrone Soup (packed with veggies)
- Meatball Tomato Soup (one of my favourites)
What goes well with tomato mac and cheese?
I love sprinkling cracked pepper all over my bowl of tomato mac and cheese before eating.
Using fresh parsley adds both taste and texture.
No need to add extra cheese, but hey, I won’t stop you if you want to!!!
If you make this recipe, tag @sweetcaramelsunday on Instagram and use hashtag #sweetcaramelsunday Or you can upload a photo (I would love to see) via the pin on my recipes board >> Sweet Caramel Sunday Recipes board >> Pinterest
Tomato Mac and Cheese
- Stick blender Note 1
- Baking dish Note 5
Tomato Mac and Cheese
- 1 kg tomatoes
- 2 cups macaroni Note 2
- 4 cloves garlic Note 4
- 1 tsp thyme dried
- 1 tbs dried onion Note 3
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp pepper
- 3/4 cup mozzarella cheese
- 1/4 cup parsley fresh if you can
Tomato Mac and Cheese Method
- Preheat oven to 200°c/400°F,gas 6
- Spray a baking tray with cooking oil Note 3
- Add a little olive oil to a medium size pan. Slice the tomatoes in half and the garlic into thin slices. Then lay the tomatoes face down in the pan. Add garlic, then sprinkle thyme, dried onion, salt and pepper into dish. Place in oven for 30 mins and turn the tomatoes side up after 15 mins. Note 4
- Once the tomatoes are done remove them from the oven and let them cool for a bit. Then transfer them into a mixing jug. Use a stick blender to blitz them.
- Add 1/2 of the cheese to the blitzed tomatoes.
- Stir the cheese through the tomatoes to finish making your sauce.
- Cook your pasta in a medium saucepan filled with hot water. Remove and drain from the water when it is al dente. Note 7
- Stir the tomato sauce through the pasta to combine.
- Scoop the tomato mac and cheese into your prepared baking tray
- Top with the remaining cheese
- Sprinkle your breadcrumbs on top and then place in the oven to bake. This will take approximately 10 mins. Remove when the breadcrumbs are toasted and a light golden brown.
- Note 1, stick, hand held and immersion blender are 3 different names for the same type of blender. Each will work fine, so you can use whichever one you prefer. I use my stick blender for this as the only washing up is the removable blender art and the jug used to hold the ingredients being blended.
- Note 2 this is 2 cups of dried macaroni. You can use traditional macaroni pasta or curly pasta (my preference).
- Note 3 this will be in the spices aisle at the supermarket. Usually in a packet. I love cooking with it as it saves me crying over an onion bowl, plus the flavour is really there. I also find it saves the unusual texture of cooked onions which is fine in some dishes but for this one I prefer smooth mac and cheese texture.
- Note 4 I prefer to use garlic cloves and slice them for this dish. Minced garlic doesn't work as well as it roast the same won't the slices cloves will. Use it if its the only option you have and it will save you a trip to the store but try the cloves the next time you make it and have a chance to grab this from the fruit and veg section at the shop.
- Note 5 I am being conservative in saying 6, it can stretch to feed 8 adults. I used 1 small baking dish, the size I used is: Small baker: 28 x 17.5 x 5 cm (shown in the photos) if you want to double the recipe to make a larger batch you can do that and either use 2 small or 1 large baking dish. My large baker that I do pasta bakes in is the following size: 33 x 22.5 x 5 cm. The ramekins are standard size ramekins.
- Note 6 use tongs to turn the tomatoes over as they will be very hot.
- Note 7 al dente means still hard when bitten, so keep in mind that undercooking the pasta in the early stages is better than overcooking it. We will cook it again in the oven, so it needs to be a little bit less cooked than if you were going to eat it straight away.
Definitely give this recipe a whirl, if you are a mac and cheese fan, the new flavour will suprise and delight you.
If you haven’t made mac and cheese, give it a go, it is comfort food fit for Kings and Queens!
Always shout out if you have questions, it might be something easy that I can’ quickly help you with, so don’t hesitate.
P.S. This mac and cheese with tomato is sure to be devoured quickly so make sure you cook a big batch of it!
If pasta recipes are your thing, then check out some more ideas in this selection of lunch recipes: