Vox Populi

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The Vegan Kitchen: Pirate Sauce

Vegans crave savory, satisfying dishes that have the same fullness of flavor and texture that dishes cooked with meat provide. As children, we loved our mothers’ spaghetti and meat sauce — that staple of home cooking, comfort food to many of us, and for Mom an easy fix for dinner in a busy family.

Pirate sauce is a convenient and nutritious replacement for meat sauce on pasta, and it tastes much better and is more satisfying because of the complexity of its flavors. It can be assembled in a short time, freezes well, and can be used in other dishes that call for tomato sauce. The secret to good pirate sauce is the combination of the ocean flavor of seaweed or fish sauce (the non-vegan version has anchovy fillets or paste added to the garlic), dark olives, capers, and hot peppers.

Makes 4 large servings. Preparation time: 30 minutes.


1 tablespoon olive oil

3 garlic cloves, chopped

1 tablespoon seaweed, finely chopped (you can mince a sheet of nori or use dried wakame); or 1 teaspoon fish sauce (Asian fish sauce provides a lot of umami in dishes)

1 large can (28 oz.) organic diced tomatoes

1 can tomato paste

½-1 cup frozen spinach or other green leafy vegetable (optional)

½ cup olives (pitted chopped black Greek or Italian marinated olives)

1 tablespoon capers, chopped fine

¼ cup fresh basil, chopped, or 2 teaspoons dried

1 teaspoon dried oregano

½ teaspoon dried hot pepper flakes (to taste)

1 teaspoon of maple syrup or sugar (optional, to taste)


  • Heat olive oil in saucepan on medium heat and add chopped garlic and seaweed or fish sauce.   Cook for 2 minutes until fragrant.
  • Add diced tomatoes, the can of tomato paste, and enough water to fill the can of tomato paste. Add spinach if desired and bring to a slow simmer.
  • Meanwhile chop the olives and the capers together and add to the sauce.
  • Add basil, oregano, and pepper flakes.
  • Cook for 10-15 minutes on low heat until flavors have mingled.
  • Puree sauce in blender/food processor and return to the pot.
  • Taste and if needed add maple syrup, fresh ground pepper, or more pepper flakes to taste (because of the marinated olives and capers added salt is not needed).

Serve over whole grain spaghetti or penne.

Copyright 2015 Eva-Maria Simms


One comment on “The Vegan Kitchen: Pirate Sauce

  1. Pingback: The Vegan Kitchen: Pirate Sauce – Venus es mi planeta

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This entry was posted on January 27, 2016 by in Health and Nutrition and tagged , , , , .

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