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Zucchini Pasta Puttanesca

Zucchini Pasta Puttanesca

After you make my Zucchini Pasta Puttanesca it will become a regular – I promise!

I made this with Easy Grilled Tuna and it was the perfect combination. I did take out some of the puttanesca mixture before adding the zucchini and topped the tuna.

I have a device that turns zucchini into noodles but you can also use a vegetable peeler or mandolin.


  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil, maybe more
  • 3-4 anchovy fillets, patted dry and cleaned
  • 1 large zucchini (about 4 cups)
  • 3/4 Cups pitted olives (I used kalamata), chopped
  • 1/4 Cup capers, drained
  • 1/2 Teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 Cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

  • 5 medium zucchini
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • ½ cup diced pancetta
  • ½ cup sun-dried tomatoes
  • ½ cup Italian black olives, pitted
  • ¼ cup capers
  • ¼ tsp chili flakes
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • ¼ cup Parmesan cheese
  • ¼ cup fresh Italian parsley
  • Freshly cracked black pepper to taste
  • Extra Parmesan cheese to finish

Use a spiralizer to turn your zucchini into noodles, set aside. Next thinly slice your garlic, sun-dried tomatoes and black olives. Add 1 tbsp olive oil to a medium sauté pan along with pancetta and garlic and fry until golden. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside. Add remaining olive oil to pan along with sun-dried tomatoes, olives, capers and chili flakes. Let cook for 5 minutes on medium heat until oil turns an amber colour.

Add pancetta and garlic to amber oil. Then add zucchini noodles to pan and toss for about 1 minute. Noodles should be hot but not mushy.

Remove noodles to a large serving bowl or platter and grate in ¼ cup Parmesan cheese, squeeze in lemon juice, sprinkle on parsley and season with pepper. Toss until noodles are fully coated. Top with shavings of Parmesan cheese if desired, enjoy!

Zucchini Pasta Puttanesca

A traditional and super flavorful Italian dish made low carb friendly with the addition of zucchini pasta and Bella Portofino tuna!


  • 6 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 6 cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 1 can (28 Oz. Size) Crushed Tomatoes With Basil
  • ¼ cups Capers, Chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons Anchovy Paste
  • ½ teaspoons Red Pepper Flakes
  • ¼ cups Kalamata Olives, Chopped Plus More For Garnish
  • 1 can (4 1/2 Oz. Size) Bella Portofino Tuna
  • 4 Zucchini, Spiralized
  • ½ teaspoons Salt, For The Zucchini


Add olive oil to a large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and sauté for 1 minute. Add tomatoes, capers, anchovy paste, red pepper flake, and olives. Reduce heat to low and let simmer uncovered for about 20 minutes.

While sauce cooks, add spiralized zucchini to a large microwave safe bowl and season with salt. Microwave for 3 minutes. You could also steam in a covered skillet for a few minutes until soft. Drain zucchini in a colander to remove excess moisture.

When sauce is reduced, add tuna and stir to combine.

To serve, place zucchini noodles on a plate followed by puttanesca sauce and extra kalamata olives for garnish.

Zucchini Pasta Puttanesca - Recipes

Spiralized Zucchini Pasta Puttanesca

When I was in college and broke, I lived on what every typical college student lives on, freezer pizza and lots of noodles. And while I did have my fair share of Ramen noodles, (still a would-be guilty pleasure along with Kraft mac and cheese, if I didn’t know any better) it was all about the Italian pasta dishes back then.

I had taken a two week trip to Florence, Italy in the fall of 2003 and my lexicon of recipes was broadening far beyond the classic spaghetti with meat sauce. Linguine alla vongole (with clams), spaghetti alla carbonara (favorite!) and pasta puttanesca became the order of the day.

From the moment I ready the ingredients for puttanesca, years ago, I knew I’d love it! Kalamata olives, garlic, capers, red pepper flakes! The flavors are intense and fantastic.

BUT – after such a steady diet of starches led to a 50-pound weight gain and chronic tummy troubles and achy joints, I knew something had to give. As time went on, I discovered that, like many others, my body did not gluten. I did not have celiac, nor was I especially gluten intolerant but I was gluten sensitive. Enough to prompt me to change my eating habits. I have since become healthier and happier but I have always missed the pasta. I missed all my amazing recipes.

So, when my husband and I started spiralizing with our SpiraLife vegetable slicer, it was a revelation. Suddenly, I could reintroduce all my favorite sauces without the health and weight altering side effects. Zucchini pasta made it possible to enjoy all of my favorites and to eat up a full zucchini (which I would have never done otherwise) and be full. Not only was it healthy for me, but it revived a part of my cooking life that I thought I had laid to rest forever. Joy!

I bought anchovy paste specifically for this recipe, which you can buy here, but if you prefer to leave it out, that is fine. It will still taste delicious without them. Or, if you have canned anchovies on hand, feel free to use those. I’d say 1-2 anchovies would be plenty for this. Taste and add. Remember, you can always add, but it is almost impossible to take things out once combined.

A little side note on anchovies: anchovies are an extremely good choice as far as fish is concerned. They are low in mercury and contain high amounts of vitamin A, potassium and calcium.

Whether you have been avoiding pasta or you are just making the decision to cut it out of your diet or if you are simply looking to cut back on the amount of starchy carbs you consume, I hope this recipe helps you to celebrate the happiness that is veggie pasta. Our SpiraLife has really been a saving grace for us. It makes me feel more creative in the kitchen and to not feel guilty about eating all the foods I love. We use it in soups like my Mexican Chicken Zoodle Soup and salads like my favorite (addictive!) Spiraled Cucumber Greek Salad. This salad is one that I crave and eat sometimes multiple times per week.

I hope you enjoy these and many more. Have fun getting creative and welcome to the world of good-for-you pasta.

Zucchini Pasta Puttanesca doesn’t need any extra salt

Puttanesca is a traditional spicy Italian sauce that can be a bit on the salty side so I don’t recommend adding any salt to the sauce, especially if you are using anchovies. Leave out the anchovies if you REALLY don’t like them but my family really likes them in this quick, easy, healthy sauce… they add hidden flavor without tasting like anchovies.

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To use a Spiralizer or Spiral Slicer, just twist your vegetables with a light pressure. Out come your Spiralized Veggie Noodles!

Or if you don’t have one, use a vegetable peeler. The noodles will be a bit thinner but really, it works fine and you just avoided buying another gadget to clutter up your kitchen drawers!

Zucchini Pasta Can be Made with a Vegetable Peeler

Zucchini Noodles Cook much faster than Spaghetti Squash, so dinner is quick, easy and effortless!

Low Carb Zucchini Pasta Puttanesca

The first time I heard of pasta puttanesca, it took me back to Italian class. Puttanesca… hmm. It’s derived from the word “puttana”, meaning whore. A slutty pasta? Must be delicious.

The story has it that those women had little time to cook so they invented a quick and easy pasta sauce using pantry ingredients. The dish takes about 10 minutes to prepare and if you are cooking for two people, and making real pasta for the other person, you simply boil it while you’re cooking the sauce. Easy.

Low Carb Zucchini Pasta Puttanesca

My Low Carb Zucchini Pasta Puttanesca packs a lot of flavour, a good measure of heat, saltiness from the anchovies and goes down equally well in summer and winter. You don’t need to use salt, the anchovies provide that and forget any recipe that tells you to add sugar. You don’t need it. There are enough sugars in the tomatoes and of cook it long enough, around 10 minutes, you get that lovely natural sweetness.

I can’t tell you how much I enjoy this dish. For the first time in over a year, a dish made with zucchini pasta tastes amazing that my other half enjoys it. The zucchini cook in the sauce but remain al dente. It’s a winner I will make over and over again. And I have been.

It took me two trials to perfect the sauce, so here it is, my recipe for a low carb zucchini pasta puttanesca for the insulin resistance diet.

One Pot Spaghetti Alla Puttanesca with Chickpeas & Artichoke Hearts

Cuisine nut-free, refined sugar-free, soy-free, vegan

Keyword one pot spaghetti alla puttanesca, vegan spaghetti puttanesca

Calories Per Serving 483 kcal


  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 large white or yellow onion diced
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 12 oz whole wheat spaghetti (see notes about substitutions)
  • 2 oz sliced black olives (up to 4 oz. for olive lovers)
  • 14 oz artichoke hearts rinsed and drained, and chopped
  • 3/4 cup cooked chickpeas rinsed and drained
  • 2 tbsp capers
  • 14 oz. canned diced tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (reduce to 1/4 tsp. if sensitive to heat)
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper (reduce to 1/4 tsp. if freshly ground)
  • salt to taste (see notes)
  • 3 cups low-sodium vegetable broth


Warm the olive oil in a large, deep, skillet and then add the onions and garlic, stirring occasionally until just starting to turn golden.

Add the pasta to the skillet, breaking in half if needed (a saucepan may also work). Add the rest of the ingredients, minus the broth, to the pan on top of the pasta. Then pour the vegetable broth over everything.

Cover the pan and bring to a boil. Reduce to a steady simmer (medium to medium-low heat) and, keeping covered & stirring occasionally, cook for 8-10 more minutes, or until pasta is done through to your liking.

Recipe Video

Recipe Notes

The starch from the whole wheat pasta thickens the broth into a mild sauce and that's what makes this recipe work its magic. Gluten-free pasta will have different results and may need different quantities of liquid. Check out the comments for some readers' experiences making this gluten-free. Regular (not whole wheat) pasta is what the original recipe used, and it called for more liquid (4 cups) because white pasta releases more starches. I personally have not tested with anything other than whole wheat.

My olives, artichoke hearts, chickpeas, capers, and tomatoes all came from (BPA-free) cans, so I found that I didn't need to add any salt, even with my homemade salt-free vegetable broth. It's easiest to salt to taste after the pasta is done cooking, but if none of your ingredients have salt added, I recommend adding a bit before cooking in order to get the same results that I did.

In my picture the onions are chopped, but they will do a better job cooking through if you mince them. Sorry for the visual deception.

Finally, I have heard some feedback that the leftovers can get soggy. I think you can minimize the chances of this by: 1) cooking the pasta to al dente, 2) tossing with a bit of olive oil before you store it, and/or 3) let it fully cool, uncovered, before storing.

Gluten-Free Healthy Zucchini Pasta Alla Puttanesca

If you’re watching your carbs or can’t eat gluten — and you’re missing your pasta — then you’ll love zucchini pasta, or “zoodles.” It’s easy, simple, healthy and an exciting way to get more vegetables into your diet. Topped with a puttanesca-style sauce, you’ll never know you’re eating zucchini!

Surprising facts about zucchini

If you want to lose weight fast then zucchini is the vegetable for you. Zucchini is very low in calories, but still fills you up without leaving you feeling bloated like you might feel with wheat pasta. Zucchini, also called courgette, has a very low score on the glycemic index.

Due to its high water percentage, zucchini is low in carbs and sugars, but high in essential nutrients such as potassium and manganese. It’s also loaded in antioxidants like vitamin C and vitamin A. Zucchini is also a high anti-inflammatory food, making this my favorite pasta replacement of all time!

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