Pasta with Tomatoes and Tangerines, Fennel, Currants and Olives (Vegan)

by Dorothy Reinhold on April 18, 2021

Print This Post Print This Post Pasta with Fresh Tomatoes and Tangerines, Fennel, Currants and Olives is a sweet and tart pasta dish with a no-cook, chunky, chopped sauce served at room temperature.

Pasta with Tomatoes and Tangerines, Fennel, Currants and Olives is a sweet and tart pasta dish with a no-cook, chunky, chopped sauce served at room temperature.

My favorite meal of the spring, summer and fall is this pasta topped with fresh tomato-tangerine sauce. It’s simply a chopped, chunky collection of the most delicious fruits and vegetables, in season.

The tangy juice from the fresh tomatoes and tangerines marries the olive oil, and then the garlic, ginger and chives come to play as aromatics. Fresh fennel adds an intriguing crunch and faint anise, and the whole thing is salted by the olives.

There are 2 stars of the show here — fresh tomatoes, and tangerines. You can find beautiful heirloom tomatoes now, and my favorite tangerine has just come into season. It is Pixie tangerines, from Ojai, California. They’re a late-season tangerine (March to late May or early June), seedless, super sweet and easy to peel. After you make it now, bookmark it for again later in the summer when tomatoes start coming in to your backyard vegetable garden.

Pasta with Tomatoes and Tangerines vegan meal in a shallow white bowl on a marble counterIf tomatoes and tangerines are the stars, there are plenty of supporting players. Fennel plays well with oranges and tangerines, so that goes in, along with currants for a pop of sweetness, olives for a salty counterpoint, and garlic and fresh ginger. You’ll see…this is the most flavor you can pack into a dinner bowl, I promise.

How to make Pasta with Tomatoes and Tangerines, Fennel, Currants and Olives

Ingredients for Pasta with Fresh Tomatoes and Tangerines on a marble counterFirst, assemble all your ingredients, so you know you have everything. I forgot to put the pasta box in the photo above. Oops. 

Currants will soak in tangerine juice in a measuring cup on a white marble counter Get your currants soaking in tangerine juice.

Heirloom tomatoes on a white cutting board with a knifeThis recipe is mostly about chopping things, so let’s get chopping! I’m using heirloom tomatoes in this recipe, for fresh taste. (I show baby heirloom tomatoes in the ingredients photo above, and you could certainly use those and chop them up. Suit yourself.)

Yellow heirloom tomato on a white cutting board with a knifeCut the tomato at the equator, then scoop out the seeds with your finger and discard them. I do this standing over the trash. Cut them in a large dice.

Cut ginger into coins on a white cutting boardYou want to chop the garlic and ginger very finely. Start on the ginger by slicing coins.

Peel the ginger skin off and finely mince it with a knife on a white cutting boardThen peel them and finely mince. 

Cut fennel into rounds with a knife on a white cutting boardTrim the fronds and root end off the fennel bulb, and then slice bulb into coins.

Dice the fennel on a white cutting boardChop into a dice. Alternately, you could slice it into longer slices, like you might an onion. Suit yourself; it won’t matter to this recipe.

Snip chives with a kitchen shears. Chives are in a white pot.I snip chives with a scissors. I start by grabbing a clump of them, cutting near the bottom, and then snip snip snip the clump into my mixing bowl.

Peel, segment and cut the tangerines on a white cutting boardPeel the tangerines and separate them into segments, cutting each segment in 2 or 3 pieces (depending on size).

Toss the vegetables and fruits for Pasta with Tomatoes and Tangerines into a white mixing bowlIt all ends up in a big mixing bowl.

Pour in olive oil over the vegetables in a white bowlPour in the olive oil, season with salt and pepper to your taste.

Stir the Tomato and Tangerine pasta sauce in a white cutting bowlMix gently.

Toasted pine nuts in a grey skilletWhile the sauce is resting and flavors are marrying, toast your pine nuts in a hot, dry skillet. Don’t walk away, they can burn quickly. Toss the pan frequently or use a spatula and move them around so they toast evenly. Toasted pine nuts are the best garnish!

What can you substitute in this recipe?

What we’ve learned very well during the last year is “the perfect is the enemy of the good enough.” Don’t let the lack of a specific ingredient get in the way of you making this. So it is important to be able to use what you have in your pantry. If you need to substitute, here are some ideas for you. All of these are my best guesses.

Raisins instead of currants
Orange juice instead of tangerine juice
Garlic powder and ground ginger instead of fresh (it will taste different with the ground versions, but if it means you get to make this, then do it. 
–I think you could omit the chives and use a finely chopped shallot
–An orange instead of the tangerine segments
Castelvetrano olives instead of Kalamata or other varieties. Basically, you want something more pungent and flavorful than a typical canned ripe black olive
Whatever shape pasta you have. You could cook a long pasta like linguine, but I really prefer a shorter pasta for this recipe. Suit yourself! Do you have elbows, bowties, gemelli, rotini? Use what you like.
Whatever greens you like! You could also wilt some spinach or chard and use that as the base of this dish.
–If pine nuts are not available or too pricey, try toasted slivered almonds or hazelnuts, or whatever you have around.

Closeup of Pasta with Tomatoes and Tangerines on ShockinglyDelicious.comNow, who’s ready for Pasta with Fresh Tomatoes and Tangerines, Fennel, Currants and Olives? How pretty is this close-up!

Let’s go!

Pasta with Fresh Tomatoes, Tangerines, Fennel, Currants and Olives

Prep Time: 1 hour

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Yield: Serves 4

Pasta with Fresh Tomatoes, Tangerines, Fennel, Currants and Olives

Pasta with Fresh Tomatoes, Tangerines, Fennel, Currants and Olives is a sweet and tart pasta dish with a no-cook chunky chopped sauce served at room temperature.


  • 1/4 cup currants
  • 1/2 cup tangerine juice
  • 4 ripe heirloom tomatoes, seeds and stem discarded, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, grated or finely minced
  • 1 teaspoon grated or finely minced fresh ginger
  • 1 fennel bulb, trimmed and cut into small dice
  • 2 tablespoon snipped chives
  • 2/3 cup olives, pitted (you can use oil-cured, salt-cured or Kalamata), sliced in half or quarters
  • 2 -3 tangerines, peeled, separated into sections
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Kosher salt
  • 8 to 12 ounces pasta (I like a short shape, like orecchiette)
  • Radicchio or other greens
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted


  1. Put the currants in a small bowl or cup, and cover with the tangerine juice. Let them rest for 30 minutes.
  2. Make the sauce: In a large bowl, add the tomatoes, garlic, ginger, fennel, chives and olives. Cut tangerine segments in half or thirds, and add to the bowl. Pour in olive oil, grind some black pepper over everything, and toss gently. Allow to rest until the currants are done soaking.
  3. When currants are done, pour in the currants and the tangerine soaking juice. Toss gently again, and taste a bit. Season with a pinch of kosher salt if it needs a spark. (The amount of salt needed may depend on the type of olives you use, since some olives are saltier than others.) Let the sauce sit for about an hour at room temperature.
  4. About 40 minutes before you want to serve, bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Boil the pasta according to package directions and timing. Drain, and put the pasta back into the pot, tossing it with a little squirt of olive oil so it doesn't stick together. (You can cook the pasta ahead of time and keep it at room temperature; be sure to toss with enough olive oil that it doesn't clump together.)
  5. Set out 4 wide, shallow bowls, and line with spring mix, spinach, mixed baby lettuces or radicchio. Add pasta to each bowl, and then top with the sauce and divide the pine nuts among the bowls.
  6. Serves 4.


Recipe slightly adapted from "The Good Cook's Book of Tomatoes," by Michele Anna Jordan. (Addison-Wesley Publishing Company, 1995.)

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Pasta with Tomatoes and Tangerines Sauce in a white bowl on

Thanks to Melissa’s Produce for the tomatoes, currants, Pixie tangerines, garlic, ginger, fennel, pine nuts and radicchio to make this recipe.

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{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Kevin May 13, 2021 at 6:53 am

This is a great lunch or side dish! Looks delicious!


Radha May 7, 2021 at 6:29 pm

This is a great summer meal. I have never tried tomatoes and tangerines. Am going to try it soon.


Dorothy Reinhold May 9, 2021 at 9:27 pm

They are both fruits…I hope you like it!


Amy (Savory Moments) May 2, 2021 at 10:03 am

I love all the colors, flavors, and textures you have going on here – looks fabulous!


Catalina April 21, 2021 at 1:42 am

wow! So many vegetables and healthy ingredients! A must make it for sure!


Beti | easyweeknightrecipes April 20, 2021 at 12:04 pm

WOW! This was absolutely delicious! We loved every bite!


Dorothy Reinhold April 20, 2021 at 12:08 pm

I am delighted! So glad you liked it!


katerina @ April 20, 2021 at 12:03 pm

I love, LOVE the flavors in this pasta!! I am gonna make this over and over!! SO YUMMY!!


Jen April 20, 2021 at 6:13 am

Wow! Talk about a dish waking up your tastebuds!! This was so delicious.


Alex April 20, 2021 at 3:56 am

I love all the different flavors in here! I’ve never had tangerines + tomatoes together. Yum!


Erin | Dinners,Dishes and Dessert April 19, 2021 at 11:25 pm

These Pasta with Tomatoes and Tangerines would disappear in our house!


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