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Pasta Puttanesca - Vegan Recipe

Updated on March 28, 2018
Robie Benve profile image

Born and raised in Italy, Robie loves good, healthy food (even better if it's easy to cook). She cooks every day for her family and friends.

Vegan Pasta Puttanesca

5 stars from 1 rating of Vegetarian Pasta Puttanesca
Spaghetti with Puttanesca sauce
Spaghetti with Puttanesca sauce | Source

Cook Time

Prep time: 10 min
Cook time: 17 min
Ready in: 27 min
Yields: Serves five people


  • 1 lb Linguine
  • 2 1/2 cups (500 gr) Whole peeled tomatoes, Diced
  • 3.5 oz Black olives, Whole or sliced, your choice
  • 1/2 cup Extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 tbsp Capers, Drained
  • 4 Anchovies (optional)
  • 3 Cloves of garlic, Minced
  • 1 Tbsp Tomato paste
  • 1/3 cup Fresh parsley, Minced
  • As liked Black pepper, or red pepper
  • As needed Salt

This Very Tasty Dish Usually Includes Anchovies

The puttanesca sauce, typically used on spaghetti or linguine, is a traditional Italian red sauce, made with tomatoes, garlic, capers, black olives, and parsley.

Be aware that it is usually not vegan, it typically includes anchovies.

Instructions For Puttanesca Sauce

  1. In a large frying pan heat the olive oil with the garlic on medium heat.
  2. Before the garlic turns brown, add the tomatoes, chopped in small pieces and the tomato paste.
  3. Cook for ten minutes, then add the capers and olives, and cook for five more minutes.
  4. In the meanwhile cook the linguine according to the directions on the package, keeping them al dente.
  5. Rinse the anchovies, remove any bones, and cut them into smaller pieces. Complete the sauce adding the fresh parsley and the anchovies. Stir the sauce and taste to see if it needs any salt.
  6. When the pasta is cooked, drain it, making sure you keep some of the cooking water to add in case after you add the sauce the dish gets a little dry.
  7. Pour the linguine in the pan with the sauce and stir, over medium/high heat for two minutes.
  8. Transfer everything to a big serving dish or bowl, and enjoy while still hot.
A scoop of pasta puttanesca.
A scoop of pasta puttanesca.

What Are Capers?

Capers are the unopened flower buds of a bush, the Capparis Spinosa.

A common ingredient in Mediterranean cuisine, capers are usually pickled or salted. The salted ones are tastier and usually healthier, because they don't need additives and preservatives.

You find them in stores next to pickles, olives, and other condiments. If you buy the ones cured in sea salt, make sure you thoroughly rinse them, to eliminate the extra salt.

Capers have different sizes, depending from the region of origin and kind. The smallest ones, nonpareils, are usually from France, the biggest ones are called grusas.

Health Benefits of Tomatoes

Tomatoes are a very popular ingredient in many recipes of the Mediterranean cuisine, and they have been proven to have wonderful health benefits, both eaten raw or cooked.

While most fruits and vegetables lose great part of their vitamins when cooked, cooked tomatoes have a special nutrient that becomes more powerful with the cooking process, especially when the tomatoes are cooked with their skin and seeds.

This amazing essential nutrient for humans is lycopene, a carotenoid that gives the red color to tomatoes. Lycopene has wonderful benefic effects to prevent bad cholesterol, or LDL, high blood pressure, and it is a powerful antioxidant that fights the action of free radicals on cells, contrasting the aging process.

The advantages of eating tomatoes don’t stop at the beneficial effects of lycopene.

Tomatoes are rich in water, about 94% of their weight, low in calories, and with a good content of minerals and water soluble vitamins. A food perfect for the hot summer months, but surely healthy all year long: light, fresh, nutrient, and flavorful.

Among the minerals contained in tomatoes: potassium, good against water retention and high blood pressure; phosphorus that is necessary to our body to function and stay in good shape; and calcium that fortifies teeth and bones.

Anchovies: very tasty ingredient, for your non-vegan friends.

Anchovies are a classic ingredient in the puttanesca sauce, however, it tastes great without them too.
Anchovies are a classic ingredient in the puttanesca sauce, however, it tastes great without them too. | Source

About the Anchovies

Anchovies are salty fish fillets, and taste very salty and very fishy. Some people, like my husband, do not like them, just because of taste. Others wouldn’t eat them because of diet restrictions.

The good news is, even if you don’t include anchovies, the vegan puttanesca sauce tastes great anyway.

In fact, including in the recipe anchovies, capers, and olives there is always the risk to get a sauce that is too salty. Eliminating the salty and fishy taste of anchovies from the recipe can actually enhance the other flavors.

Pasta Puttanesca Nutrition Facts

Nutrition Facts
Serving size: 90 gr (3.2 oz)
Calories 550
Calories from Fat207
% Daily Value *
Fat 23 g35%
Saturated fat 3 g15%
Unsaturated fat 20 g
Carbohydrates 73 g24%
Sugar 4 g
Fiber 5 g20%
Protein 13 g26%
Cholesterol 0 mg
* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.

© 2012 Robie Benve


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    • Robie Benve profile imageAUTHOR

      Robie Benve 

      2 years ago from Ohio

      Thanks a lot Pooja, I hope you'll love it!

    • Robie Benve profile imageAUTHOR

      Robie Benve 

      2 years ago from Ohio

      Hi Glenn, that's awesome to hear! I haven't cooked it in a while, now YOU inspired me to make it again. Thanks for coming back and letting me know the great outcome. Here is to many tasty dishes to come! :)

    • Glenn Stok profile image

      Glenn Stok 

      2 years ago from Long Island, NY

      Hi Robie, I’m back just to let you know that I’ve enjoyed making your recipe several times already since I first read your article. I no longer use tomato source when I make pasta dishes. I use your Puttanesca instead. I rinse the capers as you recommended, but I don’t include the anchovies. And no extra salt either. The olives have enough sodium anyway. The entire thing is so tasty.

    • Pooja Gudka profile image


      2 years ago

      This is such a great recipe can't wait to try it out!!

    • Robie Benve profile imageAUTHOR

      Robie Benve 

      3 years ago from Ohio

      Hi Glenn, great to hear you are going to try the Puttanesca! Let me know how it turns out. Capers are often found pickled, and they have less sodium, but when they are in a jar with no liquid, just salt, you reeeally want to rinse them. Buon appetito! :)

    • Glenn Stok profile image

      Glenn Stok 

      3 years ago from Long Island, NY

      This recipe sounds delicious Robie. I’ll have to try it soon. I would also leave out the anchovies however. As for capers, I learned something new from you — I never rinsed them before. But to reduce the sodium I will from now on.

    • Robie Benve profile imageAUTHOR

      Robie Benve 

      8 years ago from Ohio

      Thanks That Grrl, it's a tasty dish, and you can try without olives, I'm sure it will taste good as well. :)

    • That Grrl profile image

      Laura Brown 

      8 years ago from Barrie, Ontario, Canada

      That's a yummy looking photo and I don't even like olives.

    • Robie Benve profile imageAUTHOR

      Robie Benve 

      8 years ago from Ohio

      Hi kittyjj and carol7777, I'm glad the recipe sounded so appealing to you. It's one of the Italian classic recipes, a nice change to plain tomato sauce.

      I love to include all kind of things in my sauces, and fish goes always very well with pasta: tuna, shrimp, tilapia, etc. would do great if added to this recipe too.

      Thanks a lot. :)

    • carol7777 profile image

      carol stanley 

      8 years ago from Arizona

      I have to say this recipe has all my favorites including anchovies. It sounds devine. I am putting a huge bookmark on this page and am going to try it really soon.

    • kittyjj profile image

      Ann Leung 

      8 years ago from San Jose, California

      This recipe sounds interesting. I have never tried spaghetti with fish. Anchovies? I just looked them up on the internet and I think I have eaten this type of fish before, but I just didn't know its name. Thank you for sharing. Voted up and interesting!


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