The Italian classic pasta puttanesca is made more substantial with vegan meatballs for a hearty main dish. It’s easy enough for weeknights; festive enough for weekends.
Puttanesca, an old Neopolitan pasta dish named for ladies of the night, is characterized by its briny sauce, courtesy of olives and anchovies. We dispense with the latter in our case, of course.
If you love olives, you’ll adore this pasta dish. It’s not always served with meatballs, though that’s far from unheard of. It’s a great way to transform a dish that’s light on protein into one that’s more substantial, with vegan meatballs.
Plant-based meatball brands: There are many choices these days! Here are just a few; you might even find some of them in your supermarket:
- Amy’s Meatless Veggie Meatballs
- Beyond Beef Meatballs
- Gardein Meatless Meatballs
- Whole Foods Market 365 Plant-Based Meatballs
- Earthgrown Meatless Meatballs (Aldi’s)
Here are a pair of from-scratch recipes for vegan meatballs on this site:
Recipe from Plant-Powered Protein: 125 Recipes for Using Today’s Amazing Meat Alternatives by Nava Atlas © 2020. Photos by Hannah Kaminsky, BittersweetBlog.com Reprinted with permission of Grand Central Publishing. All rights reserved.
- 10 to 12 ounces pasta, any long or chunky shape of your choice
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 3 to 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 medium green bell pepper, cut into short, narrow strips
- 1 pound ripe tomatoes, diced
- 28-ounce jar good-quality marinara sauce
- 1 cup pitted brine-cured olives, cut in half
- 1/4 cup sliced sun-dried tomatoes, optional
- Dried hot red pepper flakes to taste
- 12- to 16-ounce package plant-based meatballs, or homemade (see link in notes)
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
- Sliced fresh basil leaves to taste
- Cook the pasta according to package directions until al dente, then drain.
- Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add the garlic and bell pepper, and sauté until over medium-low heat for 2 to 3 minutes, or until the garlic is golden.
- Add the tomatoes, sauce, olives, and optional dried tomatoes. Turn the heat up to medium-high and bring to a simmer, then lower the heat and simmer gently, uncovered, for 3 to 5 minutes.
- Combine the cooked pasta with the olive sauce in a serving container. Season with red pepper flakes. Cover and set aside.
- Heat the meatballs according to package directions. You can toss them into the pasta or arrange atop each serving, followed by a sprinkling each of parsley and basil.
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