Main Dishes Recipes

Flo’s Puttanesca Sauce

November 1, 2017
Flo's Puttanesca Sauce

I am hard pressed to decide that if I had to live off just one food, would it be pasta or tortilla chips and salsa. Well chips and salsa are two things but, you get my point. It is very unfortunate that these foods are not slimming. Why is that? Why couldn’t I crave celery sticks instead.

Anyway, this puttanesca sauce can be considered very healthy. This recipe started out as a marinara sauce, but I am a tinkerer. I just couldn’t help myself. I can better justify pasta with a sauce that is full of good low cal vegetables. Right? So technically now this sauce is a puttanesca. 

Serve this with whole wheat or brown rice pasta you’re in the really healthy column. I like to make a big batch and freeze it in mason jars. As long as you don’t fill them all the way, they do just fine in the freezer. This sauce is of course fabulous cooked with just hamburger for spaghetti. I use it for lasagna, chicken parmigiana, baked ziti. You can even add a can of vegetable or chicken broth and you have killer tomato soup. And if you’re wondering what makes it a puttanesca sauce rather than a marinara, it is the addition of all the different vegetables. You could also add capers or olives or mushrooms or anchovies.

Just look at all these veggies. Tomatoes, zucchini, carrots, celery, onion, garlic and fennel. The fennel  along with the carrots give the sauce subtle sweetness. No sugar needed!

Flos Marinara Ingredients

Flo’s Puttanesca Sauce Ingredients, packed with healthy vegetables.


Roughly chop your vegetables kinda small. Try to get everything pretty much the same size.

This seems like a lot of olive oil but it’s good fat. It also adds flavor and keeps the onions from getting too crispy. In a heavy bottomed pan, heat the olive oil until it’s shimmering and then add the onions and garlic. Sweat them over medium heat until they are translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the rest of the fresh vegetables except the zucchini. Season with salt and red pepper flakes. Sauté until the vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes.

Now add the tomatoes and bay leaves. Bring to a low simmer. Cover and cook about an hour over low heat.

Last step, cool and puree. Love my immersion blender. If you like a chunky sauce, skip this step. This recipe makes about 10 cups of sauce.


Flo's Puttanesca Sauce

This vegetable packed tomato sauce is great for spaghetti, lasagna, baked ziti, or chicken parmigiana.

Course Main Course, Sauce
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 40 minutes
Servings 10 cups
Author Jeanne Rogers - Flo's Kitchen Blog


  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 to 2 small onions chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic chopped
  • 2 stalks celery chopped
  • 2 carrots chopped
  • 1 bulb fennel chopped
  • 1 medium zucchini chopped
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 2 32 oz cans crushed tomatoes
  • 2 bay leaves


  1. In a large heavy bottomed stew or casserole pot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Once the oil is shimmering, add the onions and garlic. Sauté  until translucent, about 10 minutes.

  2. Add the rest of the fresh vegetables. Season with salt and pepper flakes. Sauté until soft, about 10 minutes. 

  3. Add the tomatoes and bay leaves. Bring to a low simmer. Cover and simmer for about 1 hour. 

  4. Remove and discard the bay leaves. Check seasoning. If you like a smooth sauce, cool and puree with an immersion blender or in batches in a regular blender or food processor. 






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