Vegan Puttanesca

This vegan puttanesca pasta is full of bold, briny flavour. It’s a delicious and hearty plant based version of a classic Italian inspired pasta dish.

Unlike traditional puttanesca sauce, this vegan version is made without anchovies. It isn’t traditional, but it turned out really tasty and has no shortage of flavour (thanks to generous amounts of capers and black olives in the sauce).

How to make it

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

This sauce is really easy to make. Start by sautéing some garlic in a bit of extra virgin olive oil in a large pot on the stove. Don’t allow the garlic to brown, just give it a quick sauté to cook the garlic through.

Next you’ll add the strained tomatoes, dried oregano, and dried chilli flakes. You can substitute crushed tomatoes if you can’t find any strained tomatoes (I like the strained tomatoes sold in glass jars that are made with Italian tomatoes).

You could also substitute fresh chopped tomatoes during tomato season if you prefer. Just chop them up and toss them in the pot. You could also use a combination of fresh and canned tomatoes.

While the sauce is simmering, cook up your spaghetti according to the package instructions. I used gluten free brown rice spaghetti, but you can substitute whatever type of pasta you prefer (and whatever shape pasta you like).

When the sauce is almost done simmering, you’ll add the olives and capers so they’ll have enough time to warm through and thoroughly flavour the sauce, but not so much time that they disintegrate.

Black olives work well in this recipe but you can substitute green olives if you prefer. The bigger size olive the better. I used the biggest black olives I could find and then cut them in quarters, leaving them nice and chunky.

Chopped olives on a white cutting board.

The capers add an extra layer of salty, briny flavour to this dish, so definitely don’t leave those out. Be sure to drain the capers before adding them to the sauce or the flavour of their brine will overpower the sauce.

The final touch that pulls this vegan puttanesca pasta together is the fresh parsley garnish at the end. The parsley adds a hit of freshness that goes nicely with the briny flavour of the capers and olives, but if you don’t have any fresh parsley you can omit that ingredient.

More gluten free vegan recipes

For another delicious plant based pasta dish, try tossing some fettuccine noodles with this plant-based alfredo sauce. It’s perfect when you’re craving a rich and creamy bowl of dairy free pasta.

Or try this tasty, creamy tahini pasta. It’s easy to make and full of bright, lemony flavour.

And if you’re looking for a light, refreshing starter to serve before this hearty pasta dish, try this baby kale salad. It’s made with tender kale leaves tossed with a sweet balsamic vinaigrette.

A heaping portion of vegan puttanesca pasta in a white bowl.
Print Pin
5 from 1 vote

Vegan Puttanesca

This vegan puttanesca pasta is a plant based version of a classic Italian inspired dish.
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Keyword gluten free, plant based, vegan
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 6
Calories 303kcal


  • 340 grams brown rice pasta (or substitute your preferred pasta)
  • 4 cups strained tomatoes (or substitute crushed tomatoes)
  • 3/4 cup black olives (pitted and cut in quarters)
  • 1/4 cup capers (drained)
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons fresh chopped garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried chilli flakes
  • Optional garnish: fresh chopped parsley


  • Add the extra virgin olive oil and garlic to a large pot on the stove and sauté on low heat for approximately one minute to cook the garlic.
  • Add the strained tomatoes, oregano, and dried chilli flakes, then simmer on low heat, uncovered, for 25 minutes.
  • Add the black olives and capers and simmer for an additional 5 minutes.
  • While the strained tomato mixture is simmering, cook the spaghetti in a separate pot according to the instructions on the package.
  • Drain the pasta and add it to the pot with the sauce, then simmer for one minute so the pasta absorbs some of the sauce.
  • Garnish with plenty of fresh parsley (optional) and serve hot.
  • Makes 6 portions of vegan puttanesca pasta.


  • Use the largest olives you can find for this recipe.
  • Be sure to garnish with plenty of chopped parsley because it adds an important layer of fresh flavour to this dish.


Calories: 303kcal | Carbohydrates: 58g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 689mg | Potassium: 480mg | Fiber: 8g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 448IU | Vitamin C: 15mg | Calcium: 74mg | Iron: 2mg