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Roasted Vegetarian Puttanesca Sauce

Roasted Vegetarian Puttanesca Sauce

Roasted Vegetarian Puttanesca SaucePasta puttanesca usually isn’t vegetarian, but my version is! The secret to this Roasted Vegetarian Puttanesca Sauce recipe is roasting the tomatoes.

Store-bought vs Homemade

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 SauceAbout the Recipe

You can use the roasted tomatoes as a base for just about any kind of pasta sauceβ€”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 sauceβ€”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 1x


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


  1. Preheat oven to 375Β°F. 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.

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  • Reply
    May 31, 2012 at 2:08 pm

    I’m not vegetarian, but that looks yummy.

  • Reply
    Jackie @ Domestic Fits
    May 31, 2012 at 2:10 pm

    great recipe! I love roasted tomatoes so much, I could just eat a big bowl of those. This is a great reminder of how a little time in an oven can make some magic on veggies πŸ™‚

    • Reply
      June 1, 2012 at 7:28 pm

      Totally! And while roasting takes a little more time, the great thing about it is that it’s so hands-off, so it’s not much more work.

  • Reply
    May 31, 2012 at 2:56 pm

    My favorite thing in the world is pasta and puttanesca! Now I can have it without the guilt!

    • Reply
      June 1, 2012 at 7:27 pm

      That’s always a good thing, right? πŸ˜€

    • Reply
      May 9, 2019 at 5:42 am

      Pam, I can’t agree with you more. I also love Pasta! I have recently decided to do a turn-around regarding my eating habits and this looks like something I can incorporate without the guilt! I will definitely check this site now regularly for more delicious recipes!

  • Reply
    Liz @ A Nut in a Nutshell
    May 31, 2012 at 7:22 pm

    I am SO making this!

    • Reply
      June 1, 2012 at 7:26 pm

      I was going to make a mushroom tomato sauce instead of puttanesca–good thing I didn’t, huh? πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    Yadsia @ShopCookMake
    May 31, 2012 at 8:13 pm

    I bet the flavors are much more concentrated by roasting the veggies. Will try this,

    • Reply
      June 1, 2012 at 7:25 pm

      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.

  • Reply
    May 31, 2012 at 8:40 pm

    YUM!! That sounds delicious.

  • Reply
    May 31, 2012 at 9:46 pm

    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! πŸ™‚

    • Reply
      June 1, 2012 at 7:23 pm

      Ha! Well, I have a weird thing where I hate tomatoes, but I love things made with them. So I don’t have that problem. πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    [email protected] eco friendly homemaking
    May 31, 2012 at 11:25 pm

    Oh this looks so delicious! I just did a post on making your own pasta sauce also. I so agree it is so much better than store bought!

    • Reply
      June 1, 2012 at 7:21 pm

      I’m catching up on my blog reading tonight, so I will check it out!

  • Reply
    Rachel @ Following In My Shoes
    June 1, 2012 at 12:08 am

    I am going to try this one; I have had puttanesca sauce ONCE … but couldn’t get past the idea of anchovies in it. Blech. Love the idea of this version!

    • Reply
      June 1, 2012 at 7:20 pm

      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!

  • Reply
    Brenda Williams
    June 1, 2012 at 12:42 am

    This looks and sounds so wonderful, but the older I get the more short cuts I use…LOL

    • Reply
      June 1, 2012 at 7:19 pm

      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. πŸ˜‰

  • Reply
    June 1, 2012 at 7:24 am

    Mmm, I think I might jump aboard the homemade pasta sauce train, this looks delicious.

    • Reply
      June 1, 2012 at 7:08 pm

      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.

  • Reply
    June 1, 2012 at 2:26 pm

    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!

    • Reply
      June 1, 2012 at 7:04 pm

      Yeah, I want to make more and freeze it because there is no way I want to attempt canning. I like the idea of it, but, well, BOTULISM!

  • Reply
    June 1, 2012 at 8:47 pm

    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!

    • Reply
      June 2, 2012 at 7:46 am

      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! πŸ™‚ And if you don’t like olives, you can throw in just about anything. A handful of basil is great too!

  • Reply
    June 3, 2012 at 2:35 am

    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!

    • Reply
      June 3, 2012 at 6:42 pm

      Aren’t you supposed to eat them with the bones still inside? That alone is pretty gross!

  • Reply
    Mary @ Fit and Fed
    June 3, 2012 at 9:26 pm

    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.

    • Reply
      June 4, 2012 at 8:19 pm

      I’m afraid to can, but I want to make a big batch of this over the summer and freeze it. I’m hoping to have a big tomato harvest!

  • Reply
    June 3, 2012 at 11:10 pm

    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!

    • Reply
      June 4, 2012 at 8:17 pm

      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. πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    Shell Fruscione
    June 4, 2012 at 1:21 am

    I totally use jarred pasta sauce but my Mom would NOT be happy if she knew that! πŸ˜› I’m going to have to try this recipe & surprise her with it. πŸ™‚

    • Reply
      June 4, 2012 at 8:10 pm

      Ha! My husband is Italian, but he doesn’t mind the jarred stuff. He likes this roasted tomato sauce even better though!

  • Reply
    July 16, 2012 at 7:46 pm

    I’m making this tonight!

    • Reply
      July 17, 2012 at 3:46 pm

      I hope it turned out well! I’m waiting for my tomatoes to ripen so I can make it again. πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    August 19, 2013 at 11:55 am

    I made this last night and it was delicious!

    • Reply
      August 20, 2013 at 9:07 pm

      I’m glad you enjoyed it! πŸ™‚

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