Flavorful Vegan Puttanesca Recipe- Satisfying And Comforting!

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Let’s whip up some bold and flavorful Vegan Puttanesca Recipe! Start by sautéing garlic, capers, and olives in olive oil until fragrant. Add canned tomatoes, red pepper flakes, and dried oregano, then simmer until thickened. Toss in cooked pasta and fresh parsley, then serve hot. With each bite, you’ll experience a burst of Mediterranean flavors that are both satisfying and comforting!


  • Pantry essentials, such as canned tomatoes and olives, make this dish quick and accessible.
  • Seaweed steps in for anchovies, providing a similar umami without animal products.
  • Capers and garlic infuse it with bursts of flavor, ensuring a rich and aromatic experience.
  • This recipe is a gateway to gourmet vegan cuisine, proving no compromise is needed for depth and taste.
  • Perfect for a hearty meal, it’s satisfying yet entirely plant-based, aligning with healthful eating goals.

Don’t have time to read the full blog post? JUMP TO THE RECIPE HERE!

Finding a vegan recipe that doesn’t skimp on flavor can feel like a culinary quest, especially when craving something rich and comforting. Enter the Vegan Puttanesca Recipe, a dish that promises to delight your taste buds while adhering to plant-based principles.

I remember the skepticism I felt when I first embarked on this vegan journey, wondering if I’d ever enjoy the depth of traditional Italian cuisine again. This recipe, however, changed my perspective. It’s a concoction that transforms simple,

wholesome ingredients into a bold and savory meal, proving that you don’t need to compromise on taste for a vegan lifestyle. Let’s dive into how this dish can resolve the dilemma of finding a satisfying, flavor-packed vegan meal.

vegan puttanesca recipe

What Is Vegan Puttanesca?

Vegan Puttanesca is a plant-based rendition of the traditional Italian pasta dish known for its robust and tangy flavor profile. This version swaps out anchovies for ingredients like seaweed or capers to mimic the dish’s characteristic briny depth, ensuring it remains entirely animal product-free.

It incorporates a tangy tomato sauce enriched with olives, garlic, and chili flakes, offering a perfect balance of spice and zest. Tossed with your choice of pasta, Vegan Puttanesca is a testament to how vegan cooking can celebrate bold flavors while honoring ethical and health-conscious eating preferences.

Quick Fact: Vegan Puttanesca showcases the versatility of plant-based ingredients. It ingeniously uses seaweed as a substitute for anchovies to replicate the traditional dish’s savory depth without animal products.

vegan puttanesca

Recipe Directions

  • Cook Pasta: Begin by boiling water in a large pot. Add your choice of pasta and cook according to the package directions until al dente. Once cooked, drain the pasta, reserving a cup of the pasta water for later use.
  • Sauté Garlic and Pepper: Heat olive oil over medium heat while the pasta cooks. Add minced garlic and red pepper flakes to the saucepan. Toss them in the oil until the garlic turns lightly golden, for about 1-2 minutes, and be careful not to burn the garlic.
  • Add Seaweed: Stir in powdered seaweed, mixing it well with the garlic and red pepper for another minute. The seaweed adds an umami depth, mimicking the anchovy flavor traditionally found in puttanesca.
  • Combine Tomatoes and Seasonings: Add chopped tomatoes, sliced olives, dried oregano, chopped parsley, and capers to the saucepan. Cook the mixture over medium heat. Allow the tomatoes to release their juices and the sauce to start thickening, stirring occasionally. If using canned tomatoes, let the sauce simmer for about 15 minutes or until it turns red.
  • Season: Mix in tamari sauce to add a rich, salty depth. Taste and add more salt if needed, then season with freshly ground black pepper.
  • Combine Pasta and Sauce: Add the cooked pasta directly to the saucepan with the puttanesca sauce. Toss everything together to coat the pasta evenly. If the sauce is too thick, add some reserved pasta water to reach your desired consistency.
  • Garnish and Serve: Turn off the heat. Optionally, garnish the pasta with additional chopped parsley. Serve hot, inviting everyone to delve into your vegan puttanesca’s bold and aromatic flavors.

Recipe Directions

Variations, Add-Ons, And Toppings


  • Gluten-Free: Use gluten-free pasta to make the dish suitable for those with gluten sensitivities.
  • Spicier Version: Increase the amount of red pepper flakes for a hotter dish, or add fresh chili peppers while sautéing the garlic.
  • Protein Boost: Incorporate chickpeas, lentils, or vegan sausage pieces for added protein, making the dish more filling and nutritious.


  • Vegetables: Add spinach, kale, or Swiss chard to boost the nutritional value. Stir them in at the end to wilt slightly.
  • Mushrooms: Sautéed mushrooms can be added for a meaty texture and earthy flavor.
  • Artichokes: Marinated artichoke hearts can add a tangy flavor and interesting texture.

Variations, Add-Ons, And Toppings


  • Nutritional Yeast: Sprinkle nutritional yeast on top before serving for a cheesy flavor and vitamin B12 boost.
  • Fresh Herbs: Garnish with fresh basil, parsley, or oregano for freshness and color.
  • Vegan Cheese: Top with vegan parmesan cheese for added creaminess and depth.
  • Toasted Breadcrumbs: For a crunchy texture, sprinkle over some toasted breadcrumbs right before serving.

Variations, Add-Ons, And Toppings

Vegetable Substitutions

  • Zucchini Ribbons: They absorb the sauce well and are a lighter, gluten-free alternative to pasta.
  • Mushrooms: Shiitake or portobello mushrooms can add a meaty texture and rich flavor.
  • Spinach: Offers a mild, earthy flavor and wilts perfectly into the sauce, adding iron and vitamins.
  • Artichoke Hearts: Their tangy taste complements the salty capers and olives, enhancing the Mediterranean flair.
  • Eggplant: When diced and sautéed, eggplant adds a spongy texture that soaks up the sauce beautifully.
  • Bell Peppers: Sliced thinly, they introduce a sweet crunch and vibrant color.
  • Broccoli Florets: Blanched briefly before being added, they bring a hearty, crunchy element and nutritional boost.
  • Cauliflower: Roasted cauliflower florets offer a nutty flavor and satisfying bite, a fantastic way to incorporate more vegetables.

Quick Tip- For an umami boost in Vegan Puttanesca, finely chop a few sun-dried tomatoes and add them to the sauce. They’ll lend a concentrated burst of flavor.

Vegetable Substitutions

Best Side Dishes

  1. Garlic Bread Vegan garlic bread, toasted until golden, complements the robust flavors of the Puttanesca.
  2. Roasted Vegetables A mix of roasted Mediterranean vegetables, such as zucchini, bell peppers, and eggplants, adds color and variety.
  3. Green Salad A crisp green salad with a balsamic vinaigrette offers a fresh contrast to the pasta’s tangy sauce.
  4. Steamed Broccoli or Asparagus Lightly steamed, these greens provide a crunchy, nutritious side that balances the dish’s richness.
  5. Polenta Creamy polenta is a comforting, hearty base, ideal for soaking up the Puttanesca sauce.
  6. Quinoa Salad A quinoa salad with lemon dressing and fresh herbs is a light, protein-rich option that complements the pasta’s flavors.
  7. Caponata This Sicilian eggplant dish, rich in tomatoes and olives, echoes the flavors of Puttanesca and adds a delightful complexity.
  8. Bruschetta Topped with tomato, basil, and a drizzle of balsamic, bruschetta offers a crunchy, refreshing start to the meal.

Best Side Dishes

How To Serve?

  • Choose the Right Bowl: Serve in a deep pasta bowl or a wide, shallow dish to showcase the sauce and ingredients.
  • Garnish Wisely: Sprinkle chopped parsley or basil on top for a burst of color and freshness.
  • Add Texture: A light dusting of toasted breadcrumbs or nutritional yeast adds texture and a subtle cheesy flavor.
  • Serve with Lemon Wedges: Offering lemon wedges on the side allows guests to add a bright zest to their dish according to taste.
  • Accompany with Side Dishes: For a balanced meal, serve alongside a simple green salad, vegan garlic bread, or steamed vegetables.
  • Offer Extra Seasonings: Guests can customize their servings with chili flakes, extra virgin olive oil, and vegan parmesan.
  • Perfect Pairing: To complement the dish’s flavors, suggest a wine pairing, such as a crisp white wine or a light-bodied red.
  • Serve Warm: Ensure the Puttanesca is served warm, enhancing its aromas and flavors for an inviting meal.

Quick Tip- To prevent pasta from sticking together, stir it occasionally while cooking and add olive oil to the boiling water.

How To Serve

Storage & Make Ahead

  • Refrigeration: Cool the sauce quickly and store it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.
  • Freezing: The sauce can be frozen in a well-sealed container for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
  • Reheating: Gently reheat the sauce on the stove over low heat, adding a little water or vegetable broth to adjust consistency.
  • Make Ahead: The sauce can be made ahead of time, enhancing the flavors as they meld together when stored. Simply cook your pasta fresh when ready to serve.
  • Pasta: If making pasta ahead, slightly undercook it, rinse under cold water, and mix with olive oil before storing. This prevents sticking and maintains texture upon reheating.

Fact- The name “Puttanesca” intriguingly translates to “in the style of the prostitute,” rumored to have originated from Italian brothels as a quick, easily prepared meal.

vegan puttanesca recipe

Time-Saving Tips

  1. Pre-chop Ingredients: Prep garlic, olives, and capers beforehand. Store them in the fridge for easy access.
  2. Use Canned Tomatoes: Opt for high-quality canned tomatoes to save time on peeling and chopping.
  3. Pre-measured Spices: Measure out your spices and seasonings in advance. Keeping them ready can speed up the cooking process.
  4. Pasta Water Hack: Reserve some pasta water before draining to adjust the sauce’s consistency, adding richness and helping the sauce cling to the pasta.
  5. One-Pot Method: Consider cooking the pasta directly in the sauce by adding an appropriate amount of water or vegetable broth. This method infuses the pasta with flavor and saves on cleanup.
  6. Batch Cooking: Make a double batch of the sauce when you have time. Freeze half for a future meal, effectively halving your preparation time.
  7. Quick Soak Seaweed: If using seaweed for that umami depth, opt for a quick-soak variety or pre-soak it and store it in the fridge until ready.
Flavorful Vegan Puttanesca Recipe- Satisfying And Comforting!

Flavorful Vegan Puttanesca Recipe- Satisfying And Comforting!

Recipe by Julia

Vegan Puttanesca is a bold, plant-based take on the classic Italian pasta dish. It features a savory sauce made with tomatoes, olives, capers, and garlic, infused with the unique addition of seaweed for umami depth. This version maintains the traditional flavors while being completely animal product-free, offering a delightful and ethical culinary experience.

Course: Main Meals
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Ingredients List

  • 1 Pound 1 Whole-wheat or regular spaghetti or fettuccine

  • 2 Tbsp 2 Powdered seaweed

  • 1 Tbsp 1 Tamari (or soy sauce)

  • 1 28-oz can or 10 fresh 1 Plum or San Marzano tomatoes, crushed or fresh tomatoes, diced, with all juices

  • 1 Cup 1 Pitted, oil-cured olives, roughly chopped

  • 2 Tbsp 2 Extra virgin olive oil

  • 3 Cloves 3 Garlic, minced

  • 1 Tsp 1 Dried oregano

  • ½ Cup ½ Chopped parsley

  • 1 Tsp 1 Red pepper flakes

  • 3 Tbsp 3 Capers

  • to taste to taste Salt and ground black pepper

Step-By-Step Directions

  • Cook Pasta: Start by cooking the pasta according to the package instructions until it reaches an al dente texture. Once done, drain the pasta and set aside, reserving a cup of pasta water for later adjustments to the sauce if needed.
    vegan puttanesca recipe 1
  • Sauté Garlic and Pepper: While the pasta is cooking, heat the extra virgin olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the minced garlic and red pepper flakes to the saucepan, tossing them for 1-2 minutes until the garlic turns lightly golden. Be careful not to let the garlic burn.
  • Add Powdered Seaweed: Stir the powdered seaweed into the saucepan and stir for another minute. The seaweed adds a unique umami flavor that mimics the anchovy taste found in traditional puttanesca.
  • Incorporate Tomatoes and Other Ingredients: Add the crushed tomatoes (or fresh tomatoes with all their juices), roughly chopped oil-cured olives, dried oregano, chopped parsley, and capers to the saucepan. Cooking the mixture over medium heat allows the tomatoes to release their juices. The sauce will start to thicken as it cooks. Using canned tomatoes, allow the sauce to simmer for about 15 minutes or until it turns red.
    vegan puttanesca recipe 2
  • Season the Sauce: Incorporate the Tamari sauce into the puttanesca sauce for an added depth of flavor. Season the sauce with more salt (if needed) and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
    vegan puttanesca recipe 3
  • Combine Pasta and Sauce: Add the cooked pasta directly into the saucepan with the puttanesca sauce. Toss everything together to ensure the pasta is well-coated with the sauce. If the sauce appears too thick, use the reserved pasta water to adjust to your desired consistency.
    vegan puttanesca recipe 4
  • Garnish and Serve: Finally, turn off the heat. Optionally, you can garnish the pasta with additional chopped parsley for a fresh touch. Serve the Vegan Puttanesca hot, allowing everyone to enjoy this classic dish’s rich and robust flavors with a vegan twist.
  • Equipment List
  • Large pot
  • Colander
  • Saucepan
  • Wooden spoon
  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Chef’s knife
  • Cutting board
  • Garlic press (optional)


  • Pasta Choice: Whole-wheat pasta adds fiber, but traditional or gluten-free varieties work well.
  • Seaweed Substitute: If powdered seaweed isn’t available, try kelp granules for umami flavor.
  • Tomato Tip: Fresh tomatoes offer a brighter flavor in summer; canned are more convenient and consistent year-round.
  • Olives: Opt for oil-cured for depth or kalamata for a fruitier note.
  • Adjusting Heat: Red pepper flakes can be modified to suit your spice preference.
  • Sauce Thickness: Use reserved pasta water to thin the sauce if it thickens too much.
  • Serving Suggestion: Pair with a simple side salad or steamed green vegetables for a balanced meal.

vegan puttanesca recipe

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Make Vegan Puttanesca Gluten-Free?

Yes, you can easily make Vegan Puttanesca gluten-free by using gluten-free pasta options available in the market, such as those made from rice, quinoa, or lentils. To avoid cross-contamination, ensure that other ingredients like tamari (used instead of soy sauce) are certified gluten-free.

Is It Possible To Make The Dish Without Capers Or Olives If I Don’t Like Them?

Certainly, while capers and olives contribute significantly to the traditional Puttanesca flavor profile, you can omit them if they’re not to your taste. Add herbs like basil or a pinch of seaweed powder to maintain the dish’s robust flavor. Remember, the beauty of cooking at home is adjusting recipes to suit your palate.

vegan puttanesca recipe

How Can I Add Protein To Vegan Puttanesca?

To add protein to Vegan Puttanesca, consider including plant-based protein sources such as chickpeas, lentils, or tofu. These can be added to the sauce as it cooks, absorbing its flavors. Another option is to serve the Puttanesca over a bed of quinoa instead of pasta, providing a complete protein source alongside the delicious sauce.

What’s The Best Way To Store Leftovers, And How Long Will They Last?

Leftover Vegan Puttanesca can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Ensure the dish is cooled to room temperature before storing it to prevent condensation and maintain the quality of the pasta and sauce. It’s best consumed within 2-3 months if you freeze it.

Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and reheat gently on the stove, adding a little water or vegetable broth to adjust consistency if necessary.

Can I Prepare Vegan Puttanesca Ahead Of Time For A Dinner Party?

Yes, vegan puttanesca is an excellent dish to prepare ahead of time. The sauce can be made in advance and benefits from sitting a while as the flavors meld together beautifully. Prepare the sauce up to two days ahead, refrigerate it, and simply reheat it when ready to serve.

Cook the pasta fresh for the best texture, and toss it with the reheated sauce just before serving. This method ensures a stress-free dinner party preparation and a flavorful, aromatic dish that guests will love.

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Greetings from the heart of Vie De La Vegan, where each dish we share is a chapter in a larger story of discovery, wellness, and the transformative power of a plant-based diet. My name is Julia, and I am thrilled to be your guide on this delightful culinary adventure.

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