a close view of penne arrabiata

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Why I love this penne arrabiatta recipe

Things have been so crazy around here lately. Between the playoffs, hockey season ending and Marc getting the flu – and now I’m sick too – it’s been a weird week and not much cooking has been happening.

A few weeks ago, I whipped up this penne arrabbiata recipe when I needed something quick to make. I was craving pasta and spice and – luckily – we had an extra bell pepper in the fridge. I’m not sure if the bell pepper is supposed to be in a traditional arrabbiata sauce, but I really like the extra flavor it adds.

an aerial view of penne arrabbiata with garnishes to the side

Here’s what you’ll need to make this recipe

How to make penne arrabbiata

Cook the pasta to al dente in a large pot of salted water. You’ll want to get this started before you start the sauce because the sauce cooks so quickly.

If your pasta is done too early, toss with a tiny bit of olive oil to keep it from sticking together.

Simmer the vegetables. Heat olive oil in a large skillet. Add the garlic, peppers, crushed red peppers, and onion. Sauté them until the onions are soft and translucent. It should take about 5 minutes or so.

Add the tomatoes and spices, and let the sauce come to a simmer. Stir as needed to prevent the tomatoes from bubbling, and adjust the seasoning with salt & pepper, if needed. Simmer until the pasta is cooked and the peppers and onions are fully soft.

Toss the pasta with arrabiata sauce. Add the pasta to the large skillet and stir until it’s evenly coated in the sauce. Serve immediately.

Serving suggestions: fresh basil, vegan parmesan cheese (or seasoned, toasted breadcrumbs), extra crushed red peppers for those who like it really spicy.

a close view of penne arrabbiata with crushed red pepper in a bowl to the side

FAQ’s and tips for making arrabbiata sauce

What is the difference between arrabiata sauce and marinara sauce?

Marinara sauce is an Italian flavored tomato based sauce just like arrabiata sauce, but the biggest difference is that the arrabiata sauce contains red chile peppers or red pepper flakes to make it spicy. Arriabata in Italian translates to angry, so you’re making an angry (spicy) sauce.

How do you make perfect penne pasta?

Bring a large pot of water to a full rolling boil and then add in your pasta. Add salt to taste if desired. Let the pasta boil for about 11 minutes, until al dente, stirring gently every so often to avoid sticking. Remove from heat, drain, and serve with sauce.

Can I freeze leftover penne arrabiatta?

You can freeze your leftover pasta and sauce. Just keep it in an airtight container for up to 3 months and then when you’re ready to eat it, take it out and place in the fridge to thaw. Reheat on the stove or move it to a baking dish and cook until warm.

Can I add meat to this vegan pasta dish?

Yes you can, in fact many people truly love the way that this sauce and pasta pairs well with chicken and cod fish! So there are a ton of options out there to choose from besides ground beef.

dairy free vegan penne arrabbiata

More pasta recipes you’ll enjoy

Other vegan/meatless dinner recipes to try


Penne Arrabbiata


This spicy penne arrabbiata recipe is delicious and super easy to make! It’s perfect for a quick and simple Italian dinner, and it’s completely vegan.

  • Author: Melissa Belanger
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 8 1x
  • Category: Mains
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Italian


  • 1 pound penne pasta
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 15-ounce cans crushed tomatoes (or 1 28-ounce can)
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt


  1. Cook pasta according to package directions.
  2. In a large skillet, heat olive oil to medium-high.
  3. Saute bell pepper, onion, garlic and crushed red pepper for 10 minutes or until peppers are soft.
  4. Add the tomatoes, basil, parsley and salt.
  5. Reduce heat to medium and simmer sauce for about 10 minutes (or until pasta is cooked).
  6. Toss pasta with sauce and serve immediately.

Keywords: dairy free, vegan, easy, healthy

Last Updated on November 23, 2021 by Melissa Belanger

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Recipe rating


  1. All recipes are superb. Healthy and easy to make it. Really loved it. Without using artificial flavours, it makes really tasty. And your way of describing also very good.