Harissa Roasted Cherry Tomatoes

These sweet, burst-in-your-mouth, roasted cherry tomatoes are so delicious and versatile. Serve them as a side dish, spoon them over sourdough toasts or use them for a roasted cherry tomato sauce with pasta.

I adore all tomato recipes – you can bribe me with a peak summer tomato salad any day. So, the fact that I’m obsessed with these harissa roasted cherry tomatoes should be no surprise.

The sweet cherry tomatoes, coated in spicy rose harissa marinade, burst with every bite. It is an incredibly versatile condiment, side dish or sauce. And just what I need in my fridge when inspiration – or time to cook – is lacking.

Not into spicy food? I suggest a few variations that will turn your ordinary slow-roasted cherry tomatoes into something special (and non-spicy).

Close-up of oven-roasted cherry tomatoes.

Harissa paste and tomatoes

Rose harissa is a spicy, fragrant and floral red pepper paste. And the tomato-harissa combination is a perfect pairing. It’s so good that I also use it in the pan-fried sweet and spicy tomato on labneh recipe.

Can’t find rose harissa in the grocery store and don’t have the energy to make your own? Use normal fragrant harissa and add a teaspoon of rose water to the marinade. Or try any of the harissa substitutes you may already have in your pantry.

Or skip the harissa altogether and try an alternative marinade.

The best tomatoes for roasting

These harissa roasted tomatoes are half sauce, half tomato, and a whole lot of delicious. I love using a mix of small tomatoes, but you can stick to cherry or grape tomatoes. You can even use large tomatoes, like Roma tomatoes.

If you can find tomatoes on the vine, keep them like that. Tomatoes with stems are less likely to burst during roasting, leaving you with tiny globes that pop with every bite.

Use your fingertips to gently twist and pull the small tomatoes from the vine after roasting – trying your best not to squash them. Or serve them on the vine for a beautiful tomato side dish to grilled veg, fish or meat.

Close-up of mixed red  tomatoes, some cherry tomatoes are on the vine.

Ingredients & substitutes

  • Rose harissa: I adore my homemade rose harissa paste, but you can use any shop-bought harissa paste. Or try one of the marinade variations. 
  • Olive oil: Use good quality extra-virgin olive oil for a luscious roasted tomato sauce.
  • Balsamic vinegar: Swap for red wine vinegar if you don’t have balsamic. Or add a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.
  • Maple syrup: It’s a great way to enhance the sweetness of baked cherry tomatoes. You can use your sweetener of choice. Or, if you have super sweet summer tomatoes, you can skip the extra sugar to keep things low-carb.
  • Salt: Use kosher salt, ground sea salt, or your favourite.
  • Garlic: Crush fresh garlic cloves with the flat side of a knife, then finely slice them (minced garlic). Or add a teaspoon of garlic powder if you don’t have fresh garlic. The garlic-roasted cherry tomatoes have a savoury roasted garlic flavour that is unbeatable!
  • Tomatoes: You can stick to only fresh cherry tomatoes. Or add some small grape tomatoes and pretty yellow tomatoes as I do. I also include roasting instructions for large tomatoes (like Roma tomatoes or plum tomatoes) in the next section – if that is what you have.
  • Thyme: You can skip the fresh thyme sprigs. Instead, use two teaspoons of dried thyme or Italian seasoning.

How to oven roast cherry tomatoes

Roast the cherry tomatoes in the top third of a preheated oven. They will take between 30 and 40 minutes to slow-roast at 370 °F (190 °C) in a conventional oven. Lower your oven temperature if you use a fan oven.

Keep an eye on your roasting tomatoes. They’re ready when the sauce gently bubbles and the sliced tomatoes start to fall apart. Some of the whole tomatoes will look wrinkly, and others may have burst.

The most important thing when roasting tomatoes is to use the correct size baking tray or dish. The tomatoes should fit snuggly in a single layer. If there is too much space between the tomatoes, the sauce will evaporate quickly and may start to burn.

I use a half-sheet pan (rimmed baking sheet) for 2 pounds (900 grams) of small tomatoes.

How to roast Roma tomatoes

Make the marinade as in the recipe card. But replace the cherry tomatoes with 2 pounds (900 grams) of Roma tomatoes – roughly ten tomatoes.

Dice half of the tomatoes and mix them into the harissa marinade. And half the rest of the tomatoes.

Spread the chopped tomato marinade evenly on the rimmed baking sheet. Then nestle the tomato halves into the sauce mixture with their cut side up.

Roast the tomatoes according to the recipe instructions for 45 minutes.

Alternative marinades

The sweet and spicy harissa marinade is absolutely delicious. But, maybe you’re in the mood for something else today? Don’t worry, you can swap the marinade to suit your preference:

Non-spicy tomato marinade:

  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 minced garlic cloves

Savoury Italian marinade:

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning (or dried thyme)
  • 4 minced garlic cloves
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • a generous grind of black pepper

Play around with the marinade to truly make this roasted cherry tomatoes recipe your own!

How to store harissa roasted tomatoes

Use the oven-roasted tomatoes straight away. Or spoon them into an airtight container and refrigerate. They will keep for up to five days.

You can also freeze the roasted cherry tomatoes for an emergency quick dinner sauce. 

Let the tomatoes come to room temperature before freezing. Always do this before placing hot sauces in the freezer to avoid raising the temperature of your freezer.

Serving suggestions

These oven-roasted cherry tomatoes are naturally gluten-free and vegan. They’re also super versatile:

  • Serve it as a pasta sauce with cooked linguine and fresh basil. Or add it to other pasta dishes and bakes, like lasagna.
  • Spoon the roasted tomatoes over labneh or whipped feta as I do in this labneh with sweet and spicy tomatoes recipe.
  • Or stir the baked cherry tomatoes through cooked grains like quinoa or barley for quick and easy side dishes. (See how to cook barley in the Instant Pot or on the stove.)
  • Use it as a bruschetta topping or spoon it over avocado toast.
  • Turn it into a salad dressing or sauce for roasted vegetables: Squash four tablespoons of saucy harissa roasted tomatoes in a bowl and mix with two tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, one tablespoon of balsamic vinegar and salt to taste.
  • Add it to a bread salad (panzanella) for a sweet twist.
  • Or use it in a Caprese salad instead of fresh tomatoes.
  • Stir it through tomato soup for a flavour boost. Or mix it with cooked red lentils for a delicious Morrocan-inspired lentil soup. (Try this harissa red lentil soup recipe and add harissa roasted tomatoes instead of canned tomatoes.)
  • Serve it with scrambled eggs on toast for a sweet and spicy breakfast twist.

This harissa roasted tomato sauce is a lifesaver when you are short on time. It’s the secret weapon you need in your fridge for delicious and quick weeknight dinners. Leave a comment to let me know how you plan to use it!

Top down view of a baking sheet with roasted cherry tomatoes in a harissa marinade.

Harissa Roasted Cherry Tomatoes

5 from 2 votes
Print Pin
These roasted cherry tomatoes are a versatile condiment, pasta sauce, salad dressing, bruschetta topping or side dish. It is delicious served hot or cold.
Recipe byAdri
Yield3 cups
Servings6
Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time40 minutes
Total Time45 minutes

Equipment

  • Baking sheet – Use a casserole dish or rimmed baking sheet that fits the tomatoes snuggly – no bigger than a half-sheet pan. If you have too much space between the tomatoes, the sauce will evaporate and burn.

Ingredients
 

Marinade

  • 3 tablespoons rose harissa
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced

Tomato mix

  • 1 pound mixed small tomatoes (or more cherry tomatoes), sliced in half (roughly 3 cups)
  • 1 pound cherry tomatoes, kept whole (roughly 3 cups)
  • 5 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, for roasting

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 360 °F.
  • Mix the marinade ingredients in a large bowl.
  • Add the sliced tomatoes to the marinade, along with the fresh thyme.
  • Spread the marinated tomato mix over the baking sheet. And top with the whole tomatoes. Drizzle over the last tablespoon of olive oil, and give the tray a shake to coat the tomatoes evenly.
  • Place the tray in the top third of the oven for 30 to 40 minutes. The tomatoes are ready when the sauce bubbles and the sliced tomatoes start to fall apart. Some of the whole tomatoes will be plump and glossy, some will look wrinkly, and others may have burst.
  • Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. Or freeze it for an emergency quick dinner sauce.

Notes

A note on cooking time:
  • Always keep in mind that ovens differ. If you have a fan oven, reduce the temperature. Also, the size of your tomatoes and baking sheet will affect the cooking time. Start checking at 30 minutes.
A note on tomatoes:
  • Use a mix of small tomatoes or stick to only cherry tomatoes. Slice approximately half of the cherry tomatoes in half for the sauce.
  • But you can also use standard-sized cooking tomatoes – such as Roma tomatoes. Dice the largest ones and mix them into the marinade. Then slice the rest in half. And nestle the tomatoes, cut side up, into the tomato-marinade mix. Roast for 40 – 45 minutes.
  • If you have tomatoes on the vine, you can leave them on the vine for roasting. For pasta sauce and dips, gently remove the tomatoes from the vine with a gentle twist and a pull. But if you serve the roasted cherry tomatoes as a side, leave them on the vine when plating. They look absolutely gorgeous like this!

Nutrition Information

Serving: 0.5 cup Calories: 132 kcal Carbohydrates: 11 g Protein: 2 g Fat: 10 g Saturated Fat: 1 g Polyunsaturated Fat: 1 g Monounsaturated Fat: 7 g Sodium: 506 mg Potassium: 381 mg Fiber: 1 g Sugar: 7 g Vitamin A: 830 IU Vitamin C: 38 mg Calcium: 30 mg Iron: 1 mg

7 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I made these and drizzled some premium olive oil on some toasted slices of a good Italian bread, then spread some fresh ricotta cheese on and topped it with the roasted tomatoes, a sprinkle of grated Parmesan and basil chiffonade . Sooo, sooooo good, and rave reviews from everyone who tasted it! An amazing recipe with so many wonderful ways to serve it.

  2. 5 stars
    I made these and drizzled some premium olive oil on some toasted slices of a good Italian bread, then spread some fresh ricotta cheese on and topped it with the roasted tomatoes, a sprinkle of grated Parmesan and basil chiffonade . Sooo, sooooo good, and rave reviews from everyone who tasted it! An amazing recipe with so many wonderful ways to serve it.

    1. They really are SO GOOD with eggs! A bit spicy, a bit sweet, and just delicious with creamy scrambled eggs. I am so happy you enjoyed them!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Add a recipe rating: