Roasted Vegetarian Puttanesca Sauce

By Kiersten | Last Updated: January 11, 2018

Roasted Vegetarian Puttanesca Sauce

Roasted Vegetarian Puttanesca Sauce
I’m not a lazy cook, but I’m also not opposed to a few shortcuts now and then. One shortcut that I use a lot is jarred pasta sauce. Because it’s easy! And if you buy the right brand, it tastes good too. Or, at least, good enough. (Sometimes good enough is good enough, you know? Especially after a long work day.) Making my own pasta sauce seemed like such a chore, I never bothered attempting it.

Well, I’m now fully aboard the homemade pasta sauce train. Homemade pasta sauce! What took me so long?! And the best part is, it’s really not as time-consuming as I thought it would be. Because I’m a big fan of roasting veggies, I decided to use roasted tomatoes as the base for vegetarian puttanesca sauce rather than making it on the stove. Not only does this make the sauce more flavorful, it also reduces the hands-on time for the recipe. Sure, opening a jar of sauce and heating it up in a saucepan is still quicker, but this sauce is worth the (short) wait.

Roasted Tomatoes for Vegetarian Puttanesca Sauce
You can use the roasted tomatoes as a base for just about any kind of pasta sauce–roast the tomatoes with the garlic, olive oil, vinegar, and salt and then once they’re roasted and pureed, stir in any additional ingredients. I’ve used this recipe to make a simple basil tomato sauce, but puttanesca is my favorite by far. It’s rare to find a vegetarian puttanesca sauce (most versions contain anchovies), so making it myself is kind of my only option. The olives almost lend a meatiness to the sauce–it’s substantive and hearty rather than weak and thin like many jarred sauces.

So I am finally convinced. Store-bought sauces are good, but nothing beats a homemade pasta sauce.


Roasted Vegetarian Puttanesca Sauce

Roasted Vegetarian Puttanesca on Pasta

The secret to this vegetarian puttanesca sauce is roasting the tomatoes first.

  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 4


  • cooking spray or olive oil mister
  • 2 lbs. Roma tomatoes, cut into large chunks
  • 6 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1/4 c. olive oil, divided
  • 2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • salt to taste
  • 2 tbsp. chopped fresh basil
  • 2 tsp. chopped fresh oregano
  • 1/2 c. sliced kalamata olives
  • 2 tbsp. chopped capers
  • pinch of red pepper (optional)
  • pinch of brown sugar (also optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray or olive oil.
  2. In a large bowl, toss together tomatoes, garlic, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, vinegar, and salt. Transfer contents of bowl to baking sheet and roast for 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes, or until tomatoes are softened and just beginning to caramelize. Allow to cool slightly.
  3. Once tomatoes and garlic have cooled a little, transfer them to food processor. Add remaining olive oil and process until smooth. (For a chunkier sauce, pulse until sauce reaches desired consistency or skip the food processor and mash with a fork.) Stir in remaining ingredients and additional salt if needed. Serve over pasta.

About Kiersten

Kiersten is the founder and editor of Oh My Veggies.

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Roasting veggies is my favorite way of preparing them–it really changes how they taste, for the better. It gives tomatoes an almost caramelized flavor.

I love your vegetarian version of this sauce! Roasted tomatoes are sooo good. I’ll be lucky to have them make it into the sauce though because I eat them like candy….one right after the other off the baking sheet with my fingers. I don’t even give them a chance to cool off. Shameless! 🙂

Yeah, anchovies are just a little bit squicky to me. With the olives and capers and fresh herbs, the sauce is still really flavorful without them!

Ha! Well, this recipe isn’t too much harder than using a jar of sauce–it takes more time, but not much more work. Which is good enough in my book! I don’t mind waiting, but I do mind a lot more work. 😉

It is GOOD! I mean, I always knew it would be better than the store bought kind, but I didn’t think it would be worth the trade off with the time involved, but it totally is.

My Dad has always made huge bathes of spaghetti sauce (often with veggies from the garden) and he freezes it in small batches. It only takes about 10 minutes to warm up in a sauce pan. Yum!

Pasta sauce isn’t something I make myself very often either (although I actually don’t eat too much pasta either). This sauce definitely sounds worth the extra effort – I bet roasting the tomatoes makes such a difference! I’m also slowly becoming a fan of olives, so I would be interested to give this a try!

Roasting the tomatoes really does make a difference in flavor and even though it takes more time than store-bought sauce, it’s still a lot less time than the kind you make on the stove–it’s a good compromise! 🙂 And if you don’t like olives, you can throw in just about anything. A handful of basil is great too!

I’m not a vegetarian any longer, but there is something about anchovies that gives me the eebie-jeebies…This would be a lovely alternative, and as I love roasted tomatoes, all the better!

Wow, good job. I’m still in the mode of purchasing tomato sauce for the most part. Tomato season is extremely brief here in the Northwest, so the only time it’s economical to make my own is late summer. If I were gung-ho I’d buy a case of tomatoes then and can it up. But roasting the tomatoes– you just provided a really good incentive to make tomato sauce, because I know how good that would be.

This looks amazing and I’m sure it taste a million times better than jarred pasta sauce! I don’t mind using the storebought stuff when I’m feeling lazy or when it’s going in a recipe with a bunch of other things, but when the sauce has to stand alone like in this recipe, I think homemade makes a big difference!

It tastes SO much better–and this is coming from someone who likes the jarred sauce! I’m growing Roma tomatoes this summer, so I’m hoping to have enough that I can make a big batch of sauce to freeze and that way I’ll have to use in recipes too. 🙂

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