White dish filled with Vegetarian Pasta Puttanesca twirled around a fork.

Vegetarian Pasta Puttanesca

Vegetarian Pasta Puttanesca is a fresh take on spaghetti puttanesca, but without the anchovies! This 20-minute dinner is perfect for olive and caper lovers!

White dish filled with Vegetarian Pasta Puttanesca twirled around a fork.
Vegetarian Pasta Puttanesca

Vegetarian Pasta Puttanesca is a fresh take on spaghetti puttanesca, but without the anchovies! The anchovies are replaced with shiitake mushrooms seasoned with a touch of vegan fish sauce, along with traditional olives and capers for a delicious dinner you can make in 20 minutes!

Close up view of Vegetarian Pasta Puttanesca in a skillet.

There are certain dishes that I have been making at least once a week in the last two months, and this Vegetarian Pasta Puttanesca is one of them. The first time I made it, it was literally what we call a “throw-together,” you know, one of those dishes that you kind of just toss together without even thinking about, which usually means it will turn out better than those premeditated dishes with all the fuss.

It was a Saturday late morning when I realized we needed to eat a quick lunch before running some errands, and there was nothing in the refrigerator and pantry except for a jar of capers, a can of olives, and a bin of baby spinach. I was craving a spaghetti puttanesca, but with my vegan hubby (not to mention an expired tin of anchovies), I knew I would have to find a way to get that briny, umami-flavored sauce without my little fishy friends.

White dish filled with Vegetarian Pasta Puttanesca garnished with capers and sliced olives.

Tomatoes on the vine, sliced mushrooms, and a glass jar of capers on a wooden cutting board.

To my relief, I saw that I still had some vegan fish sauce in the refrigerator, along with dried shiitake mushrooms in the pantry, and I knew I could easily substitute the anchovies by seasoning the mushrooms with the vegetarian-friendly fish sauce!

The result: a delicious pasta puttanesca that would make anyone happy, whether they’re an anchovy fan or not!

Close up view of sliced black olives in a glass jar.

My husband and I loved it so much, it’s been on repeat ever since — I love that I can make this dish in 20 minutes from pantry ingredients, which seems to be all the time I have to devote to cooking dinner these busy days before school lets out for summer!

Jar of capers surrounded by sliced mushrooms and cherry tomatoes.

Sliced shiitake mushrooms on a wooden surface.

Vegetarian Pasta Puttanesca in a skillet on a wooden surface.

If you’re looking for a fast dinner to tuck into your back pocket, definitely add this one to your arsenal. I like to keep dried shiitake mushrooms on hand for just this reason, though fresh mushrooms are just as lovely. But the stars of the dish really are those olives and capers — they seem to know how to make an impression when you’re short on time. I hope you enjoy twirling your fork into this one!

White dish filled with Vegetarian Pasta Puttanesca twirled around a fork.

MORE VEGETARIAN PASTA RECIPES TO TRY

Vegetarian Pad Thai
Skillet Eggplant Lasagna
Vegetarian Pancit Bihon (Filipino Rice Noodles with Veggies)
Fireworks Pasta Salad
Farfalle with Carrot Pesto, Parmesan and Toasted Walnuts

Vegetarian Pasta Puttanesca

Vegetarian Pasta Puttanesca is a fresh take on spaghetti puttanesca, but without the anchovies! The anchovies are replaced with shiitake mushrooms seasoned with a touch of vegan fish sauce, along with traditional olives and capers for a delicious dinner you can make in 20 minutes!
White dish filled with Vegetarian Pasta Puttanesca twirled around a fork.
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5 from 5 votes
Course Dinner
Cuisine Italian
Keyword capers, linguine, olives, pasta, vegan, vegetarian
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Calories 554kcal
Author Liren Baker

Ingredients

  • 3/4 pound linguine pasta
  • 1/2 ounce shiitake mushrooms dried or fresh
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 large cloves garlic minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon vegan fish sauce
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes halved
  • 14 oz canned olives halved
  • kosher salt to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 3 tablespoons capers plus more for serving if desired
  • 1 cup reserved pasta water
  • 2 cups baby spinach
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil chopped
  • red pepper flakes to taste

Instructions

  • Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil. Season the water with salt and cook the linguine according to the package instructions, reserving a cup of the pasta water.
  • If using dried shiitake mushrooms: while the pasta cooks, soak the shiitake mushrooms in about 1 cup boiling water for 10 minutes. Drain the mushrooms, and trim and discard the stems. Slice the mushrooms in 1/4-inch strips.
  • Heat olive oil and garlic in a deep sided sauté pan over medium heat until the garlic is fragrant, about 1-2 minutes. Add the mushrooms and season with the vegan fish sauce.
  • Add the tomatoes, olives, salt and pepper, and cook, gently mashing the tomatoes with the back of a wooden spoon.
  • Stir in the capers and cooked linguine. Add reserved pasta water 1/4 cup at a time, tossing to coat the pasta with sauce.
  • Add the spinach, and toss to wilt. Stir in the basil and season to taste with red pepper flakes.
  • Serve immediately, garnishing with additional capers, pepper and red pepper flakes.

Nutrition

Calories: 554kcal | Carbohydrates: 75g | Protein: 14g | Fat: 24g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Sodium: 1798mg | Potassium: 541mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 44.8% | Vitamin C: 27.2% | Calcium: 9.9% | Iron: 15.1%
Did you make this recipe?I'd love to see! Tag @kitchconfidante on Instagram and hashtag it #kitchenconfidante

Comments

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  1. Liz


    With or without anchovies, this pasta puttanesca is irresistible! Perfect summer meal, Liren!!

    Reply
  2. Traci | Vanilla And Bean


    I absolutely adore capers, especially with pasta, and I love how quick this recipe comes together. The addition of mushrooms is genius! Thank you for sharing Liren. Gorgeous work!

    Reply
  3. Ashley F

    I cannot get over how good this looks! Can’t wait to try it!

    Reply
  4. Fern


    While we are not vegetarians, I do like following vegetarian pages for great delicious looking recipes. I did prepare this tonight but it is not totally vegetarian. I used Worcestershire sauce rather than fish sauce, but other than that I followed the recipe. I have a question. Is there suppose to be 14 ounces of olive in here? I opened a 6 oz can and only added 1/2 of the can. For us that was just enough olives. 14 oz sounds like a lot. We’ve never had pasta puttanesca so not familiar with it, but it tasted fantastic! Thank you fornsharing.

    Reply
  5. Santosh Kumar


    This pasta looks fabulous and am a big fan of pasta & am a vegetarian as well…so that is perfect recipe for mine and this hot summer…i will try to making it…Thanks for sharing…!

    Reply
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