A lot of omnivores, and even many vegetarians, think vegan cooking is hard, but in reality, it’s no more difficult than non-vegan cooking. Getting into the mindset where you are ready for a plants-based, vegan diet is the most challenging. If you’ve landed on this page, you are obviously headed in the right direction.
Spaghetti alla Puttanesca is one of those old standby recipes that I hadn’t touched since becoming vegan, that is–until my sister served a delectable anchovy-less rendition for New Year’s dinner. And, like so many other dishes I couldn’t fathom eating again (due to the elimination of a supposedly “core ingredient”), I am now rediscovering it.
Indeed vegan puttanesca is not the same, but even better than the original. In perhaps what is just another rite of passage, I ponder why the namesake Puttana thought their concoction needed anchovies in the first place, when the briny capers are just heavenly!
Although there are 375,000 pages returned by a Google search for “Vegan Puttanesca”, I decided to adapt the below recipe from “The Top 100 Pasta Sauces” by Dianne Seed (one the few non-vegan cookbooks still on my shelf). Seed’s book contains a chapter on Vegetable Sauces, containing a number of tantalizing recipes that are already vegan or easily adapted (i.e. by omitting or substituting for cheese and other dairy products).
Vegan Spaghetti alla Puttanesca
500g/1lb spaghetti (I use 100% wheat)
20ml/1.5T olive oil
3 cloves garlic
Crushed red pepper to taste
400g/14oz can Italian plum tomatoes
120g/4oz (1 cup) pitted black olives
Add chopped garlic to oil and cook until soft and lightly brown, adding ground red pepper.
Stir in chopped tomatoes with their juice, chopped black olives and capers, and cook for 5 minutes.
When pasta is just short of al dente, drain and mix with the tomato sauce. Serve immediately with fresh parsley.