Potatoes Puttanesca

Potatoes Puttanesca
My Potatoes Puttanesca is a twist on the classic Italian pasta. My version is served over potatoes, and is vegan, vegetarian, & gluten-free.

My Potatoes Puttanesca is a twist on a classic dish.

And I’ll tell you right now.  It’s addicting.

Potatoes Puttanesca

Potatoes Puttanesca: My Spin on a Classic

Most have heard of Pasta Puttanesca, the beloved Italian dish that consists of pasta tossed in an olive and tomato sauce. 

My Potatoes Puttanesca is a similar idea.

Except that delicious olive and tomato sauce is tossed into healthy chickpeas and crisp, roasted potatoes.

This simple change transforms the dish without losing the core olive and tomato flavors that make Pasta Puttanesca so popular.

Potatoes Puttanesca

More Breaks from the Traditional

Another way I’ve changed the traditional Pasta Puttanesca is by making my Potatoes Puttanesca gluten-free, vegetarian, and/or vegan.  (Don’t serve it with Parmesan to keep this dish vegan).

Traditional puttanesca sauce uses anchovies.  My puttanesca sauce recipe does not.

I’ve incorporated capers where anchovies would traditionally go.  Capers lend the saltiness so integral to puttanesca sauce without any of the anchovy fishiness. 

It’s the perfect substitution that I would have preferred even before going plant-based over a decade ago.

...And a Similarity

One important way that my Potatoes Puttenesca does not stray from the original is how quickly it comes together.

Puttanesca is Italian for lady of the night.  Legend has it that that’s how Pasta Puttanesca got its name: it was an easy, quick meal these ladies could prepare between…engagements.

Make Potatoes Puttanesca!

Make my Potatoes Puttanesca this week.  


You’ll see why it’s become one of my family’s favorites.

One Thing!

I reccomend getting a tube of tomato paste that you can store in the refrigerator and reuse.  It’s much more cost effective than buying a can of tomato paste that always goes bad before you finish it.

You can find tubed tomato paste at Trader Joe’s, but here’s my favorite on Amazon [aff. link].

You can also find my favorite tubed tomato paste in my Amazon store here.

How to Chiffonade Basil

Classic puttanesca sauce is finished with parsley.  But since I’m all about switching things up with this dish, I use basil instead. 

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Here’s my guide on how to make basil chiffonade, or basil ribbons:

Basil Chiffonade
Stack a few basil leaves of the same size on top of each other.
Basil Chiffonade
Now roll them up...
Basil Chiffonade
Until it looks like you've got a basil cigar.
Basil Chiffonade
Now chop that cigar into fine, thin "ribbons."
Basil Chiffonade
And that's basil chiffonade.
Potatoes Puttanesca
5 from 6 votes

Potatoes Puttanesca

My Potatoes Puttanesca is a twist on the classic Italian pasta.  My version is served over potatoes, and is vegan, vegetarian, & gluten-free.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time40 mins
Print Recipe


For the potatoes:

  • 2 pounds Russet potatoes, peeled and diced to ½ inch pieces (any white or yellow potato will work)
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • tsp pepper
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil

For the sauce:

  • 2 cloves garlic, diced
  • 4 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cups cherry or grape tomatoes, cut in halves
  • ¾ tsp sea salt
  • 20 Kalamata olives, diced
  • 20 Manzanilla olives, diced
  • 1 tsp capers, diced
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp tomato paste
  • 1 Tbsp basil, chiffonade, plus more for serving

Everything else:

  • 1 15 oz can chickpeas, drained
  • Parmesan, freshly grated or ground (for serving; omit to keep this dish vegan)
  • 6-8 cups arugula, for serving


Roast the potatoes

  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Add the potatoes, salt, pepper, and olive oil to a baking sheet. Now toss everything together until the potatoes are coated in the oil and seasonings.
  • Roast the potatoes for 15 minutes.
  • Take the potatoes out of the oven, flip each potato piece so that a different side of each potato is face down on the baking sheet, and roast for another 15 minutes. Potatoes are done, set aside.
  • While the potatoes roast, make your puttanesca sauce.

Cook the tomatoes

  • In a large skillet, heat the garlic in 2 Tbsp olive oil for 30 seconds over medium heat.
  • Now add the tomato halves and ½ tsp sea salt.
  • Cook the tomatoes over medium heat for eight minutes, tossing occasionally with your spatula. The tomatoes will soften, release their juices, and break down a bit.

Add the olives and seasonings

  • Now add in the olives, remaining ¼ tsp sea salt, tomato paste, brown sugar, capers, and the remaining 2 Tbsp olive oil.
  • Cook for 5 minutes over medium heat.
  • Turn off the heat, and add the basil chiffonade. Mix it into the olive and tomato mixture with your spatula.

Bring it all together

  • Your potatoes and puttanesca sauce should each finish cooking at just about the same time.
  • Once both are done, simply add the roasted potatoes and drained chickpeas to the pan with the puttanesca sauce. Mix it all together until each potato and chickpea is coated in the puttanesca sauce.

Serve and enjoy!

  • Serve my Potatoes Puttanesca on top of a bed of arugula, and garnish each plate with additional basil chiffonade and Parmesan, if desired.


This dish is gluten-free.
This dish is vegetarian.
This dish is vegan if you don't serve it with Parmesan.
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13 Responses

  1. 5 stars
    I love Italian food, too, and I also love putting a twist on classic recipes. This potato version of puttanesca sounds delicious, Shannon! And I’ve also heard that story about the origins of puttanesca. Who knows?? There are so many common recipes that claim to be developed by chefs feeding hungry customers…sounds almost too cliche, right? No matter the origin, I love the flavors! And the basil twist is a good one here. I’d love to see this on the dinner table tonight. 🙂

    1. Thanks David! Haha you are so so right! Hungry customers in need of food ASPAP is definitely a common origin story for so many of the best recipes. 😆 Good motivation to get a delicious meal on the table quickly, right? 😆😋

  2. 5 stars
    Thanks for the tip on chopping the basil and teaching me a new word (chiffonade – sounds so fancy)! I am loving all the flavours in this delicious meal, Shannon and I can see how it could quickly become a new family favourite around here! Yum!

    1. Isn’t “chiffonade” the fanciest word?!!! I just love it, and I love the technique! Thank you so much Katerina! 💗

  3. Well this is brilliant! It took me a sec to figure out that traditional puttanesca isn’t vegetarian because of the anchovies! But the sauce is so good, and what you’ve done here is really smart. I’m not a vegetarian, but I eat very little meat overall, and am always on the lookout for meatless ideas!

    1. Thank you so much Mimi! I often forget about the anchovy factor in traditional puttanesca sauce myself. That is so awesome, this recipe is definitely a no-fuss meatless meal option! ❤️

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