With this speedy spicy spaghetti arrabbiata recipe, you’ll have a quick and delicious vegan pasta dinner on the table in 20 minutes. Simple ingredients - canned tomatoes, garlic, dried herbs, and as many red pepper flakes as you can handle - done in the time it takes to cook pasta.
The spicy tomato sauce is sweetened with a kick of balsamic vinegar, the same ingredient that makes pasta with veggie and walnut bolognese sauce such a delicious meal.
Everyone needs a quick pasta recipe or two. Add a few of my other favorites, like artichokes with fresh cherry tomatoes, pasta with chickpea sauce, or vegan pink sauce pasta, to your recipe box, and you'll be set!
Table of Contents
⭐ Why You'll Love This Recipe
- Adjust the spice level to suit your preferences by adding more or less red chili.
- An easy tomato-based sauce using pantry ingredients plus fresh basil or other fresh herbs.
- Out of spaghetti? It's a great recipe for fettuccini, angel hair pasta, or your favorite pasta.
📋 Recipe Ingredients
Garlic. Grab the garlic press. 6 garlic cloves is the only ingredient you need to prep.
Dried Herbs. Oregano, basil, and thyme comprised the Italian seasoning. You likely have these in your spice cabinet. If not, a good Italian seasoning blend is the best substitute.
Red chili flakes. The spicy sauce is all about red chili flakes (red pepper flakes). Start with a little the first time you make this recipe, then adjust as you go. Cayenne pepper is the best substitute.
Canned (tinned) tomatoes. Use tomatoes in juice. Chopped or small, cherry tomatoes are good choices. Break up whole tomatoes if you use them.
Balsamic vinegar. Balsamic vinegar is dark, rich, and sweet. It tones down the spicy flavors. Substitute with a tablespoon of white balsamic or red wine vinegar with ½ a teaspoon of maple syrup or date paste.
Fresh basil. A simple, final touch of green. Fresh parsley is the best substitute.
Please see the recipe card at the bottom of this post for the complete list of ingredients with measurements plus recipe instructions.
🍝 How to Make Spicy Spaghetti Sauce
Step 1: Stir garlic and dried herbs in a heated pan for 30 seconds.
Step 2: Mix in tomatoes. Break up larger pieces.
Step 3: Cover and simmer for 10 minutes.
Step 4: Add balsamic vinegar and basil.
🔪 Pro Tips
- Start the pasta water and grab a colander before starting the sauce. Consult the package instructions for information on the cooking time.
- Add pasta to boiling water after adding the tomatoes to the sauce. That way, you can watch it to have perfect, al dente pasta. If the sauce cooks an extra minute or two, it won't matter.
- The sauce will reduce the longer you cook it. If you are making a dipping sauce (and I recommend my easy marinara dipping sauce for that), keep it on low if you go beyond 10-12 minutes of simmering.
Denise's tip. Open the tomato cans to dump them in the pan immediately. You don't want to scorch the garlic and herbs.
🍴 Serving Suggestions
Serve homemade arrabbiata sauce over cooked pasta. I love it with a little vegan hemp parmesan cheese, sliced black olives, or extra red chilis - if you can handle it. 🙂
💭 Frequently Asked Questions
Store spicy spaghetti in an airtight container for 5 days. It's best to cook fresh pasta before reserving, but you can store or freeze it with cooked pasta. Reheat on the stovetop on low or in the microwave.
Passata or tomato sauce is made from cooked, fresh tomatoes that are pureed and often passed through a sieve. It has a brighter tomato flavor than tomato sauce but a smoother texture than canned, crushed, or whole tomatoes.
Many people experience no difference in flavor between the ‘store’ brands of canned tomatoes and the more expensive premium brands like San Marzano tomatoes. Economy tomatoes will sometimes be less uniform in size and may be packed in a thinner juice. You can boost the flavor of canned tomatoes using a teaspoon of tomato paste or allowing extra simmering time to reduce your sauce.
Red chili flakes and crushed red pepper are different names for dried red chili peppers that are crushed or ground into flakes or coarse powder. Red pepper flakes are made from various red peppers and are milder than chili flakes.
Arrabbiata and marinara are both tomato-based pasta sauces, the main difference being the spiciness of arrabbiata due to the addition of red chili pepper.
🥘 More Vegan Pasta Sauce Recipes
Speedy Spicy Spaghetti Arrabbiata
Rate this Recipe:
- 6 cloves garlic - pressed or minced
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 1 ½ tablespoons dried basil
- 1 ½ tablespoons dried thyme
- 2 teaspoons red chili flakes - crushed red chili, adjust as desired
- 28 ounces canned tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- ½ cup basil leaves - torn or chopped
- salt and pepper if desired
- 8 ounces dry spaghetti
- Start the pasta water and open the cans of tomatoes before cooking the arrabbiata sauce.
- Preheat a skillet or pan to medium heat. Add the garlic, oregano, basil, thyme, and chili flakes. Stir for 30 seconds until everything is mixed.
- Add the tomatoes and bring the ingredients to a slow simmer. Use a wooden spoon to break up the tomatoes and remove any bits of garlic herbs from the bottom of the pan.
- Cover the pan and allow the tomatoes to simmer for 10 minutes until the tomatoes start to break down and the sauce thickens.
- Remove the cover and mix in the Balsamic and fresh basil.
- Taste and adjust the spices. Add salt and/or pepper if desired.
- Drain the spaghetti and combine it with the sauce before serving or divide it amongst 4 plates and top it with the sauce. Add more fresh basil if desired.
- Makes 3 ½ cups of sauce.
- Nutritional information includes whole wheat spaghetti.
- Store spicy spaghetti in an airtight container for 5 days. It's best to cook fresh pasta before reserving, but you can store or freeze it with cooked pasta. Reheat on the stovetop on low or in the microwave.
- If you do not have Balsamic, use 2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar with ½ of a teaspoon of maple syrup. White balsamic condiment (vinegar) is another good substitute.
- Garnish with vegan hemp parmesan cheese if desired.
Nutritional information is an estimation only.