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Pasta Puttanesca Vegan recipe in a skillet with two forks twirled around the pasta.

Vegetarian Spaghetti alla Puttanesca Recipe

A simple and pantry friendly vegetarian or vegan puttanesca that's easy to pull together and in minimal time. Garlic, pepper flakes and capers infuse their pungent flavors in a rich tomato sauce while Kalamata olives offer texture and more briny goodness. This spaghetti alla puttanesca is vegetarian or vegan and easily gluten free. 
Course Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine Italian, Italian, Vegetarian, Vegan, Vegetarain
Keyword Puttanesca Sauce, Spaghetti alla Puttanesca, Vegan Puttanesca
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 5 Servings
Calories 377kcal
Author Traci York


  • 3 Tbs Olive Oil
  • 4 Plump Cloves of Garlic smashed and chopped small, I like about 2 Tbs
  • 1/2 tsp Chili Flakes or more to taste
  • 2 Tbs Capers non pareil, drained
  • 1 C (125g) Kalamata Olives pitted and halved, 1 Tbs brine reserved
  • 1 28 oz (793g) Can of Crushed or Diced Tomatoes I like Muir Glen or San Marzano
  • 2 tsp Vegan Worcestershire Sauce gluten free if needed
  • 10 oz (285g) Pasta of Choice gluten free if needed, I like Jovial
  • Parsley or Basil for sprinkling
  • Grated Parmesan Cheese *optional, for sprinkling
  • Salt and Fresh Ground Pepper to taste


  • Put a large pot of water on to boil. Add a big pinch of salt to the water and bring to a boil while you prepare the sauce.
  • Meanwhile, in a large 3.5 quart saute pan with high sides, add the olive oil, garlic and chili flakes over medium heat. Sizzle and saute until garlic releases its fragrance and is softened but not browned, about 1-2 minutes. It can burn easily so adjust the heat down as needed.
  • Stir in the capers and olives, and saute for about 1-2 minutes on medium low heat, or just until the garlic is lightly golden and the flavors have a moment to marry.
  • To the olive mixture, pour in the tomatoes, reserved olive brine and Worcestershire sauce. Simmer on medium to medium low heat for about 15-20 minutes adding a few tablespoons of pasta water to loosen the sauce, if desired. It will thicken as it cooks.
  • While the sauce is simmering, cook the pasta according to package directions or until al dente. Drain the pasta while reserving a small cup of pasta water.
  • Add the drained pasta to the sauce. Stir to coat the pasta. Add a few generous grinds of fresh ground pepper and taste for salt (I add a heavy pinch in this recipe).
    Serve with more fresh ground black pepper, fresh parsley or basil and parmesan if using.
  • Store in a lidded container, in the refrigerator for up to three days.


*Regarding Parmesan: Look for vegetarian friendly Parmesan cheese (one that does not use rennet in production). BelGioiosoOrganic Valley and Stella offers vegetarian friendly Parm. For more information, check directly with your preferred cheese maker.
Recipe adapted from Divina Kalamata Olive Recipes. 


Serving: 1Serving | Calories: 377kcal | Carbohydrates: 46g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 4mg | Sodium: 917mg | Potassium: 175mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 280IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 88mg | Iron: 1mg