This Vegan Spaghetti alla Puttanesca recipe is a hearty and flavorful plant-based version of the classic Italian pasta. It is tomato-rich, herb-infused, and is bursting with umami flavor – without using anchovies! Whip it all together for a delicious dinner for two in just 15 minutes.
Quick, Easy, and Delicious Vegan Pasta Puttanesca
I am a huge fan of easy-to-make recipes but taste like it took hours to cook with complex techniques due to their intricate flavors and utter deliciousness. This recipe is one of those dishes! It’s amazing how behind this dish’s bold yet comforting flavors, is an easy preparation and use of familiar pantry ingredients. All you need is a pot to cook the pasta with, and a pan to make a scrumptious and aromatic tomato sauce. It’s a perfect dish to serve with a glass of wine and a slice of bread for a cozy dinner after a long day.
A Classic Dish Veganized
The traditional Pasta Puttanesca, or also called Spaghetti ala Puttanesca is primarily made with tomatoes, olives, capers, and garlic. By adding anchovies to the sauce, it became known for its signature deep, briny, and umami flavor. This veganized version omits the anchovies but doesn’t skimp on the sea flavor when adding nori flakes.
I love how the combination of olives, capers and nori provides not only that salty snap but also that deep-sea umami taste. It adds the same flavor as you find in traditional recipes but is not as overpowering. It lets the cheeky tanginess of the balsamic vinegar, the earthy taste of oregano, mild fieriness of the chili powder, and freshness of tomatoes shine through! And let’s not forget the texture coming from the Kalamata olives and capers. No one will be complaining, for sure!
Tips when Making Vegan Pasta Puttanesca
- Toss in a little of the pasta water with the sauce. The salty, starchy water seasons and thickens it while also preventing it from drying out. You may keep adding until the desired consistency.
- The olives and caper have that pickled and salty taste. The intensity depends on the brand you use. Taste the pasta sauce first before seasoning it with more salt to make sure it does not turn out too briny.
- Undercook your pasta for 1-2 minutes. This ensures that it will remain ‘al dente’ after being mixed in the sauce.
Ingredients for the Pasta Sauce
How to make Pasta Puttanesca – This recipe is so easy!
As always, I recommend checking out this step-by-step instruction first. Then you’ll find the full recipe with exact measurements in the recipe card below!
Step 1: Cook the pasta and sauce
First, add the pasta to a pot of boiling water so it’ll be ready when the puttanesca sauce is done. For the sauce, first sauté the onions in a little olive oil. Then add the garlic and sauté for another minute. Now stir in the tomato paste, balsamic vinegar, oregano, chili and capers and sauté for a minute. Then add the fresh tomatoes and simmer the sauce over low heat, covered, for about 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally. If the sauce gets too thick, you can add a bit of the pasta cooking water.
Step 2: Mix everything together and serve!
Now drain the pasta and add it to the sauce along with the olives. Taste again and season with salt and pepper if needed (you don’t need much salt, as the olives are already quite salty). If you like, you can add some nori flakes for a fishy flavor. Finally, garnish your spaghetti alla puttanesca with vegan parmesan and fresh basil – Et voila – your amazing pasta dish is done!
How to make it gluten-free?
All the ingredients used for the Puttanesca sauce are gluten-free. For the pasta, you can use zucchini noodles, brown rice pasta, or any of your favorite gluten-free pasta brands.
What type of pasta should I use?
Typically, spaghetti pasta is used for this recipe. But feel free to use any other type of pasta you have. You can use linguine, capellini, Bucatini, fettuccine or homemade vegan pasta.
Storing leftovers & Meal Prep Tips
I suggest storing the vegan pasta puttanesca sauce separately in a tightly sealed container. It can last up to four days in the fridge, ready to reheat and stir through freshly cooked pasta. The sauce is also freezer-friendly so you can also divide this to individual portions and freeze for future meals!
This Vegan Pasta alla Puttanesca Recipe is:
- Savory and tangy
- Flavorful and rich
- Gluten-free possible
- As delicious as the classic
- Super quick and easy to make!
More Vegan Pasta Recipes to try
- Vegan Creamed Spinach Pasta
- Creamy Vegan Lemon Pasta
- Roasted Red Pepper Pasta Sauce
- Vegan Broccoli Mac and Cheese
- Cauliflower Alfredo Pasta
- Spinach and Mushroom Pasta
- Creamy Pumpkin Alfredo Pasta
- Sweet Potato Pasta Sauce
- Vegan Carbonara with Spaghetti
- Lentil Zucchini Lasagna
- Vegan Lentil Bolognese
- Tomato Cream Pasta alla Vodka
If you try this vegan Spaghetti alla Puttanesca recipe, feel free to leave me a comment and a star rating in the comment section below! And if you take a picture of your Italian pasta dish and share it on Instagram, please tag me @biancazapatka and use the hashtag #biancazapatka because I love seeing your remakes! Happy cooking! 🙂
Vegan Spaghetti Puttanesca (Italian Pasta)Author:
- 8.8 oz (250 g) spaghetti or other (gluten-free) pasta of choice
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion diced
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 tsp dried oregano or other Italian herbs
- ⅓ tsp chili powder or chili flakes or fresh chopped peppers to taste
- 2 tbsp jarred capers drained
- ⅓ cup (70 g) kalamata olives pitted
- 1x14 oz can (400 g) chopped tomatoes or passata
- ⅔ cup (100 g) cherry tomatoes halved
- salt and pepper to taste
- ½ sheet of nori optional, chopped into flakes
To garnish (optional)
- Vegan parmesan
- fresh basil
*Note: Check out the recipe video + step-by-step photos above!
- In a pot of salted water, cook the pasta according to the package instructions until 'al dente'.
- Heat the olive oil in a large pan. Add the onions and cook for about 2-3 minutes until translucent and lightly browned. Then add the garlic and cook for another minute, stirring occasionally, until fragrant.
- Stir in the tomato paste, balsamic vinegar, oregano, chili, and capers and cook for a minute. Then add the tomatoes and simmer, covered, over low heat for 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally (if it becomes too thick, add a bit of the pasta boiling water).
- Drain the pasta, add to the sauce along with the olives and stir with tongs until combined.
- Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed (you may not need much salt since the olives are already quite salty). Optionally add some nori flakes for fishy flavor.
- Garnish your pasta with vegan parmesan, and fresh basil. Enjoy!
- You can also make Homemade Vegan Pasta if you like.
- Read the blog post above for more information on this recipe such as meal prep and storing tips!
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