Spaghetti puttanesca with a roasted red pepper sauce (vegan, gluten free)

Spaghetti puttanesca with a roasted red pepper sauce (vegan, gluten free)

Spaghetti puttanesca (or “tart’s pasta” as it was always known in my house growing up) has always been a favourite of mine and I was determined to veganize it with a twist! The word puttanesca originates in Naples and is loosely translated as “lady of the night”, and while the reason the dish was given this name is up for debate it’s often linked to its fiery strong flavours and not the working girls of Naples!

A traditional puttanesca sauce will be made with tomatoes, anchovies, capers, olives, and often chillies. All bold flavours so I had no doubt I could create a dish even tastier and still vegan. I had a few red peppers in the fridge and decided to experiment with a roasted pepper base instead of using tomatoes which turned out so tasty I don’t think I will be going back to tomatoes when I have a tart’s pasta craving!

When I am creating recipes and cooking I always favour dishes where I can prepare most of the meal ahead of time, then spend a few minutes finishing off when Ben is home from work, so we can make the most of our family time together with Sunny without me being stuck in the kitchen. This sauce is perfect for that as it can all be made at anytime during the day and it seems making it in advance makes it even tastier as the flavours have had time to combine. I also love meals I can prepare in advance when we have friends or family over as there is nothing worse than making a mess in the kitchen and spending all your time away from your guests!Β  If made in advance all you need to do is cook some spaghetti, toss with the sauce and top with toasted pine nuts and basil and you have a delicious meal ready to go!


Serves 2

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 20 minutes

Total time: 30 minutes


  • 2 large/3 small red bell peppers
  • 1/4 cup capers
  • 1/2 cup kalamanta olives
  • 1 tsp caper brine
  • 25g fresh basil
  • 25g pine nuts
  • 1 onion
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast (optional)
  • 250g spaghetti (gluten free if needed – we love doves farm brown rice spaghetti)


  1. Preheat the oven to 180’C and chop the peppers. Add to a baking tray and drizzle with olive oil and a pinch of salt
  2. While the peppers are cooking put on a large pan of water for your pasta
  3. Chop the onions and garlic
  4. Sautee the onion in olive oil on a low heat for 5 minutes until soft
  5. Add the garlic and a pinch of salt and pepper and fry for a further couple of minutes
  6. When the peppers are roasted add to a blender with the onions, garlic, 1/2 cup of water, nutritional yeast and caper brine and blend until smooth and creamy
  7. Add the pasta to the water and cook as per your packets instruction (if you are using gluten free pasta a great tip to stop it sticking together is to add a splash of vinegar and keep stirring constantly for the first couple of minutes)
  8. Chop the olives and add to the sauce with the capers and stir well
  9. Toast the pine nuts in a dry pan for a minute or so, turning constantly
  10. Toss the spaghetti in the sauce before topping with fresh basil and pine nuts
  11. Serve immediately!

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