This spicy vegan pasta bake with puttanesca sauce is easy to make from storecupboard staples, but packed with flavour with a deliciously creamy topping.
🍴 Why you will love this recipe
Puttanesca is a spicy and savoury pasta sauce from Naples that is traditionally thrown together from pantry staples. This vegan pasta bake bubbles with delicious sauce of olives, capers, chilli and garlic, and has a decadent creamy topping of vegan cheese and cream.
The origins of the name 'puttanesca' are interesting, and might make you blush... I won't go into detail here but you can find out more on Wikipedia!
📝 What you need
Pasta You can use any pasta shape you like - I used rigatoni. Almost all dried pasta is vegan but check just in case it contains egg.
Olives You don't need to buy premium olives for this as they will be cooked in the sauce - I use olives from a jar which tend to be the cheapest. I like to use purple kalamata olives, but black or green are fine too.
Chilli Puttanesca should be spicy so I like to use one (or sometimes two!) fresh red chillis. But you could use dried chilli flakes instead, or just leave it out completely if you prefer.
Vegan cheese A good melty vegan cheese makes a lovely topping for your pasta bake, when mixed with a little vegan cream. My favourite brands for melting are the new Cathedral City vegan cheddar, Applewood Vegan Smoked Cheddar or Violife Epic Mature.
👩🏽🍳 How to make your puttanesca vegan pasta bake
For a full, printable recipe with ingredients and detailed instructions, scroll to the bottom of this page 👇🏼 .
Peel and slice the red onion and fry gently. Add red pepper and crushed garlic.
De-stone and halve the olives, de-seed and slice the chilli. Add passata, olives, capers and chilli to the pan. Simmer.
Boil the pasta, add a little of the cooking water to the sauce to loosen it. Drain and stir through the sauce.
Mix the vegan cheese and vegan cream, then dollop over the pasta. Bake for 12-14 minutes until golden and bubbling. Serve immediately.
🔪 Top Tips & FAQs
Don't let the sauce get too thick - if it does, just add a splash more of the pasta cooking water. The pasta will soak up moisture from the sauce in the oven.
For an even crispier topping, you can scatter breadcrumbs or chopped pine nuts over the creamy cheese layer.
Yes - in this recipe the pasta is almost fully cooked before baking, and just finished in the oven. This keeps it very moist and tender inside the pasta bake, with a crispy top.
Most dried pasta is vegan, but do always check the ingredients as occasionally it contains egg powder, (often in tagliatelle, rarely in other shapes). Fresh pasta is much more likely to contain egg, so is not usually vegan.
Baking pasta uncovered creates a lovely crispy top, I always bake pasta without covering it, or else it ends up a little soggy.
🍽 If you liked that...
.... you might also enjoy these vegan recipes from The Veg Space:
Puttanesca Vegan Pasta Bake
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 red onion
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 red pepper
- 700 g passata
- 12-14 olives
- 1 red chilli
- 2 teaspoon capers
- large pinch sugar
- 350 g dried pasta
- 40 g dairy-free cheese
- 2 tablespoon dairy-free cream optional
- Preheat the oven to 180°C / 350°F / Gas Mark 4.
- Heat the oil in a large, deep frying pan or casserole. Peel and slice the onion and fry it gently for 5 minutes until soft.
- Meanwhile, bring a large saucepan of water to the boil.
- Cut the peppers into chunks, and peel and crush the garlic cloves. Add both to the pan and fry for 2-3 minutes, then pour in the passata.
- De-stone and halve the olives and de-seed and slice the chilli. Add the olives, chilli and capers to the pan along with a large pinch of sugar, and season well with salt and black pepper. Leave to simmer over a medium heat.
- Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook until cooked through but retaining some bite (al dente). Add a good splash of pasta cooking water to the tomato sauce, so it loosens up - it shouldn't be overly thick. Taste and adjust the seasoning of the sauce if required.
- Drain the pasta and return to the saucepan, then stir through the sauce. Tip the pasta into a large ovenproof dish.
- Mix the dairy-free cheese with the dairy-free cream and dollop over the top of the pasta.
- Bake for 12-14 minutes until golden and bubbling. Serve immediately.
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