The viral Tik Tok pasta made with mozzarella instead of feta! This is a simple and easygoing dinner that is bursting with summer flavors. Juicy tomatoes, basil, and fresh, stringy mozzarella combine to make a delicious and refreshing dinner the whole family will love! If you like the idea of Tik Tok pasta but wanted to make it without feta, this is a great alternative to try.
👩🍳 Christine’s Notes: Why I’m making Tik Tok pasta with mozzarella instead of feta
For anyone with social media, it would have been hard to miss the big Tik Tok feta pasta recipe that did the rounds last year. It’s easy to see why this was so popular! Minimal dishes, minimal ingredients, and a laid back method. I have long been a fan of simple oven dinners and the extra downtime they provide for for pottering around the kitchen while they cook. But feta isn’t everyone’s favorite, so the Tik Tok pasta recipe was just crying out for spin offs, and here is mine: a version that uses fresh mozzarella instead of feta.
OK, the result is very different. The feta version could be mixed into a fairly homogenous creamy pink sauce whereas this one has lots of texture. But I love it! Lots of juicy jammy tomatoes, lots of stringy mozzarella, and a light creamy sauce where the tomato juices and the liquid from the fresh mozzarella mix together.
Ingredients: What to Know
Budget friendly: This recipe is budget friendly within Europe, but the fresh mozzarella can be pricey elsewhere. All the ingredients can be sourced at Aldi or from supermarket’s own brand ranges and it’s OK not to have perfect tomatoes for this recipe – we are adding a lot of flavor to them while they roast.
- Cherry tomatoes: or baby plums (grape tomatoes) or baby heirlooms. I do recommend using all red tomatoes if you can, because visually the orange and yellow tomatoes kind of blend into the background in this dish.
- Balsamic vinegar and honey: I add these to enhance the flavor the tomatoes, which is especially important if your tomatoes aren’t super high quality.
- Garlic: You could definitely, definitely increase the garlic in this recipe. Never a bad thing.
- Mozzarella: The fresh balls of mozzarella which are stored in water. This kind of mozzarella will be soft and stringy through the pasta, and its moisture will help form a creamy base sauce.
- Pecorino or parmesan style cheese: I add a fair bit of this cheese to the pasta too. It helps to thicken the sauce a little, and it adds a lot of flavor. Bearing in mind that we’ve replaced salty feta with mild milky mozzarella- this helps bridge the flavor gap.
- Pasta: You can use any kind of pasta for this recipe though short pasta shapes are a little easier to work with when you’re mixing them into the casserole dish.
- Salt, pepper and mixed Italian herbs (not pictured) are always a good idea too.
Other Great Variations on Tik Tok Pasta:
- Swap the feta for boursin. This is a popular spin on the Tik Tok pasta recipe and one that I have enjoyed. Follow the exact method in this recipe – roasting the tomatoes for 30 minutes before adding the cheese – and just add boursin instead of mozzarella.
- I have a couple of recipes which have a very similar method but use roasted broccoli as a starting point rather than tomato. Try Roasted Broccoli & Blue Cheese Pasta or Roasted Broccoli Avocado Pasta.
Tik Tok Pasta with Mozzarella
- 10 oz (283.5 g) dried pasta
- 1.5 lb (680 g) cherry tomatoes, this is flexible – a little more or less is fine
- 3-4 cloves garlic
- 2-3 tsp balsamic vinegar
- 2-3 tsp honey
- 1 bunch basil
- 2 balls fresh mozzarella
- ½ cup (50 g) pecorino or parmesan style cheese
- salt, pepper, dried Italian herbs, to taste
- olive oil
- Preheat the oven to 180C / 360F.
- In a 9×12 casserole dish, add the tomatoes and drizzle with a generous glug of olive oil (enough to make sure they're all well coated and the bottom of the pan has a thin layer too), then drizzle with balsamic vinegar, honey, garlic, salt, pepper and herbs. Mix to ensure the tomatoes are well coated and then place in the oven for 30 minutes, or when the tomatoes have cooked down and started to char in places.
- Add the two balls of mozzarella to the pan, then spoon a little bit of the tomato juices over them and return to the oven.
- Set your pasta boiling. When it's complete, drain and return it to the pan, then remove your tomatoes and mozzarella from the oven. The mozzarella will have melted down and spread in the pan.
- Now add the cooked pasta, pecorino and basil to the pan and stir constantly until the basil wilts and a sauce has formed with strings of mozzarella running through. Serve immediately.