Chickpea Puttanesca - a one pot sauce brimming with sweet tomato, salty olives, bright capers, and protein packed chickpeas. Serve with pasta, a grain or crusty bread.
Easy one pot Chickpea Puttanesca sauce coming in HOT!
This richly tomatoey, herb infused sauce is slightly spicy, sweet, and brimming with salty olive and caper bits. Toothsome garbanzo beans bulk up the dish and lemon zest adds pop!
It's rich and FULL of all-day-cooked depth but made in one pot in under 45 minutes! Swanky enough for date night, comforting enough for Sunday supper, and quick enough for a weeknight meal.
Pass the pasta!
How do you make vegan puttanesca?
Chickpea Puttanesca is a one pot wonder! So, grab your pot and let's cook dinner.
Start by cooking your onion, an optional pinch of crushed red pepper, and garlic in some olive oil.
Add in your tomato paste and cook, stirring constantly until the tomato paste has darkened in color and becomes fragrant. This process takes 1-3 minutes and DOUBLES the flavor.
Next into the pot is the crushed tomatoes, Italian seasoning, salt, pepper, and water. Stir and then cover and simmer to let all the flavors develop.
Remove the lid and add in the protein-rich garbanzo beans, briny olives, bright capers, and sweet honey which balances any remaining acidity in the tomatoes. One more quick simmer to blend all the flavors before adding in a handful of fresh parsley and bail.
Serve over your favorite carb!
What do you serve with puttanesca?
- Keep it traditional and serve it over pasta (we use these gluten free noodles!).
- Swap out the noodles for any grain! We love quinoa, millet, rice, etc.
- Serve it as a stew with a nice crusty slice of bread.
- Go grain free and braise seafood or tofu in the sauce.
Can you make chickpea puttanesca sauce with pantry ingredients?
Yes! Puttanesca sauce is 99% pantry items, making it the perfect meal for times when your fridge is looking a little sparse. And since you can serve this sauce with anything from pasta to rice, chances are you can make this for dinner tonight!
- Onion and garlic (fresh, but likely in the kitchen)
- A pinch of red pepper flakes
- Tomato paste
- Crushed tomatoes or tomato sauce
- Italian seasoning
- Garbanzo beans
- Kalamata olives
- Fresh parsley or basil
And this recipe is forgiving. If you are out of fresh herbs, leave them out. The Italian seasoning will still add great herbal flavor. No garbanzo beans? Cannellini or kidney are a great swap! No capers, no problem.
You get the idea. If you are missing an ingredient try swapping in something similar!
Tricks for making perfect puttanesca:
- Canned tomatoes are the backbone of our sauce, so buying good quality is essential. I love Mutti or San Marzano brands.
- Caramelize the tomato paste to build depth of flavor. As the tomato paste darkens in color and becomes fragrant the flavors become more complex, deep, and sweet.
- Don't skimp on the simmer. The slow simmering of this sauce is essential. As the sauce cooks the tomatoes go from sharp and acidic to sweet and mild. I even recommend cooking this recipe a day ahead and letting it sit in the fridge overnight. The flavors will continue to deepen and the sauce will become even more delicious reheated for dinner the next day!
- Wile simmering, make sure you are stirring occasionally and checking to make sure the sauce is not sticking to the bottom of the pot. Any stuck sauce is at risk of burning and adding an unwelcome bitter note.
- Bonus pro tip: I am usually a proponent of tossing pasta with the sauce prior to serving, but I am going rogue here! With this puttanesca, I prefer a pile of cooked pasta tossed in copious amounts of vegan butter, then topped with sauce. The richness of the butter perfectly balances the brininess of the olives and capers.
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Cook Time: 40 minutes
- Total Time: 45 minutes
- Yield: 6 servings 1x
- Category: Dinner
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: Italain
- Diet: Vegetarian
This sauce is bright and fresh! It features classic Italian flavors like capers, olives, and rich tomatoes. It goes well with pasta, good crusty bread, polenta, quinoa, or your carb of choice.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ½ onion, chopped
- Pinch crushed red pepper flakes (optional - adds a mild spice)
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- ½ cup tomato paste
- 28 oz. crushed tomatoes OR tomato sauce
- 2 tablespoons Italian seasoning
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- 15 oz. garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
- ¼ cup kalamata olives
- 3 tablespoons capers
- Zest of one lemon
- 1-3 tablespoons honey OR agave (*see note)
- ⅓ cup chopped parsley
- ¼ tablespoons torn basil
- Over medium-high, heat the olive oil in large pot or Dutch oven. Once warm, add in the onion and red pepper flakes. Cook until the onion is softened and become translucent, about 5-7 minutes. Add in the garlic and cook until fragrant, another 30 to 60 seconds.
- Add in the tomato paste and sauté, stirring often, for about 5 minutes or until the tomato paste is very fragrant and has darkened in color. Add in the crushed tomatoes, Italian seasoning, salt, pepper, and one cup water. Bring to a simmer, cover and cook for 30 minutes, string occasionally.
- add in the garbanzo beans, olives, and capers. Simmer, covered, for another 10 minutes.
- Remove from the heat and stir in the lemon zest and juice, honey, parsley, and basil. Serve over pasta or your favorite whole grain. Enjoy!
*The honey helps to balance out any residual acid in your tomato sauce. If your tomatoes are naturally sweet, you will need less honey. If you taste the sauce and it still seems sharp or acidic, you'll need more honey. Keep tasting and adjusting until the sauce is lightly sweet (like a fresh ripe tomato!) and well balanced.
- Serving Size: ⅙th sauce recipe
- Calories: 206
- Sugar: 16g
- Sodium: 974mg
- Fat: 5g
- Saturated Fat: 1g
- Carbohydrates: 37g
- Fiber: 8g
- Protein: 8g
Keywords: chickpea, bean, garbanzo, tomato, sauce, pasta, noodle, spaghetti, one pot, easy, Italian, basil, parsley, herb, olive, caper
Aimee / Wallflower Girl's Kitchen says
YUM! I wanna make this :-)
Thank you Aimee! If you make it let me know what you think :)
Good pantry-based pandemic food! But how many olives?
Kristina, Thank you so much for catching that! It is 1/4 cup olives. I have just updated the recipe as well :)
Can this be adapted for the instant pot, with a quick saute at the beginning?
Hi Tanya, I definitely think it can, but I haven't tested it out and am unsure on the timing. If you find something that works, I would love to know :)
Wow, this was insane! My husband has been on a bread baking kick to deter quarantine boredom, and I wanted a high protein meal to facilitate both dipping and lots of carb intake. This was SO IT! Absolutely delicious. Thank you for making it pantry flexible - I used cannellinis, and added some sliced zucchini I had on hand. Just PERFECT, huge punch of flavor, totally satisfying, and quite filling. I'll definitely do again and again, this is a staple! So glad I found it!
Thank you so much for the review, Abby! The sliced zucchini sounds like such a great addition!