This pasta takes all the flavors of traditional pasta alla puttanesca with salty olives, capers and tomatoes but is vegan and lightened up. There’s no heavy sauce so this pasta is great hot or cold the next day if there are leftovers. My penne alla puttanesca is also vegan so none of the typical anchovies here but I went ahead and added fresh basil, spinach and garbanzo beans to keep you satisfied.
Usually pasta alla puttanesca has a chunky tomato marinara-y sauce but I just decided to forgo the tomato sauce base. Instead I went for straight up roasted cherry tomatoes and garlic which worked better to eat with penne pasta. I also roasted a full bulb of garlic but only used 6 cloves for the pasta and it was still quite garlicky. I used to rest spread on toast and in various other dishes. I love roasted garlic! Roasting makes garlic so mellow and silky so it wasn’t hard to use the rest up. If you aren’t so into garlic you could just mince a clove or two and heat in a little olive oil or vegetable broth before adding the rest of the pasta ingredients. The cherry tomatoes get gooey and ultra concentrated in flavor when roasted. If you are looking to keep your house cool you could roast the tomatoes and garlic on the grill in foil wrapped packages instead. Even in the oven I wrap the garlic in foil so it cooks correctly.
I added a bunch of spinach and basil to make a usually heavy pasta dish much lighter. It’s perfect for summer too since usually basil is very abundant this time of year. AND THE BEST PART! You can eat this penne alla puttanesca hot OR cold. That’s right. You can make this as a pasta salad for your next barbecue or potluck or you can make it when you’re craving some hot, steamy comforting pasta. Capers and kalamata olives add enough punch to make this punchy enough cold and the fresh basil is always yumm in cold pasta. I usually toss the leftovers with a little romaine and eat it for lunch.
Vegan Penne alla Puttanesca
- 1/4 cup white wine or vegetable broth
- 25 cherry tomates
- 6 cloves roasted garlic
- 1/2 can chickpeas
- 3 tbsp kalamata olive pieces
- 1 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1 tsp oregano
- 1 tbsp capers
- 2 cups penne pasta - cooked and drained
- 2 cups spinach
- 10 basil leaves - torn
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Add tomatoes, foil wrapped garlic cloves and wine to a small baking dish and roast in preheated oven for 30-35 minutes. In a large, flat bottomed pan heated to medium low on the stovetop add chickpeas, garlic and tomatoes in their cooking juices. Stir and add olives, red pepper, oregano, salt, black pepper and capers. Allow to cook for 5 minutes then add penne and stir to combine. Cook for another 5-10 minutes and remove from heat. Toss in spinach and allow to wilt. Just before serving add torn basil leaves.