Pasta arrabbiata with nut-free vegan parmesan

Pasta arrabbiata with nut-free vegan parmesan

arrabbiata vegan parmesan bowl

Hope you guys are well and your weekend was peachy and relaxing? As Duncan was away, I did a bit of pottering around the house and snuggling with my cat on Saturday and on Sunday ventured out to the Bristol Museum with my friend, Melanie. If you follow us on Instagram you might have seen my somewhat hectic Instastory and if you did, apologies, I WILL get better at them, that’s a promise!

It’s a bit of a bummer as we seem to have swapped gorgeous weather for a lot of rain in the past few days so I’m into comfort food again lately. If the weather continues in this vein, you’ll be seeing a lot more desserts on the blog, me thinks.

Today’s dish marries overtones of summer in the form of late-summer tomatoes with a bit of comfort. It’s a simple pasta arrabbiata made with ripe fresh tomatoes simmered in a chilli and garlic-infused oil, which comes together rather quickly, as you want the tomatoes to be just cooked. Because of this, the simmering does not take as long as it does for rich, winter sauces.

Now, to the traditionally-minded amongst you, I am aware that arrabbiata is rarely served with parmesan, but tradition goes out of the window a bit when you are vegan, plus I’ve been dying to share my vegan parmesan invention with you for a while now. So I’ve used this simple summer pasta as an excuse to do just that. Sorry, Signorina Arrabbiata, I’ve used you – don’t be arrabbiata (=angry in Italian) with me 😛 .

This simple concoction of seeds roasted in a slowly dehydrated miso paste and seasoned with some nooch (nutritional yeast) and a pinch of herbs is something I’ve been addicted to lately. It’s really easy to make and has bags of flavour. While it makes for a perfect pasta topping, it’s also delicious sprinkled on salad, lunch bowls and avocado toast, so I hope you’ll give it a go, even if pasta isn’t your thing.

vegan parmesan hemp seeds making

vegan parmesan sunflower seeds

vegan parmesan two ways

arrabbiata vegan parmesan portion

15 min
40 min
15 min
40 min
VEGAN PARMESAN (makes a small jar)


  • 2 tbsp / 30 ml extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ tsp chilli flakes, or more to taste
  • 2 garlic cloves, diced very finely
  • 700 g / 5 ripe medium tomatoes (approx. 3½ cups chopped)
  • 200 g / 14 oz penne (GF if needed)
  • ½ tsp salt, more to taste
  • black pepper, to taste
  • fresh parsley or basil, to garnish
  • sliced black olives, to garnish (optional)


  1. Preheat the oven to 100° C / 210° F fan function (recommended) or 120° C / 250° F without a fan and line a medium size baking tray with a piece of baking paper or with a non-stick baking mat.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine miso paste, maple syrup and oil until you achieve a smooth paste.
  3. Using a silicon spatula or the back of a spoon, rub the seeds into the miso mixture until uniform.
  4. Spread the mixture on the prepared baking tray in as thin a layer as possible.
  5. Bake for about 40 minutes, until dry. Once out of the oven, allow the mixture to cool off completely.
  6. If using hemp, crumble the mixture using a fork. Once crumbly, work the nutritional yeast and dry herbs into it. If using sunflower seeds, I recommend blitzing them in a spice grinder (or pestle and mortar – although they are a bit harder to crush by hand).
  7. Store in an airtight container in a dry cupboard. The mixture keeps for at least 2 weeks.


  1. Heat up the olive oil in a heavy bottom frying pan, on low heat.
  2. Add the chilli flakes to the hot oil and allow them to sizzle for a few seconds.
  3. Add the finely diced garlic cloves and stir-fry for a minute or so until fragrant, but do not allow them to brown.
  4. Add the diced tomatoes and their juices. Turn the heat up a little, to low-medium, and allow the tomatoes to simmer for about 20 minutes, until softened and reduced.
  5. After the sauce has been simmering for about 20 minutes, cook your pasta al dente. Drain.
  6. Squash the softened tomato chunks with a wooden spoon (or a fork) to make the sauce more uniform. Simmer for another 10 minutes or so, if the pan gets too dry too quickly, add a splash of water (stock or wine).
  7. Season with salt, pepper and extra chilli if needed.
  8. Toss the al dente pasta in the sauce, garnish with fresh herbs and my nut-free vegan parmesan.
10 g
23 g
3 g
20 g
66 g
*per serving
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3 reviews, 5 comments
This recipe came at the perfect time! My 85 year old neighbour gave us a few of his homegrown tomatoes yesterday so I immediately thought of this recipe. I had this for dinner today and it was delicious! I used less garlic because I'm really not a fan and had some of my own homemade nut parm in the fridge but other than that kept everything the same. Thank you! :) x
    That's great to hear, Laura and what a lovely neighbour you have! Good & friendly neighbours are priceless, aren't they? Ania
Wow Ania! You are one creative force in the kitchen. Can't wait to try this parmesan. Well done and thanks.
    Hahahaha, Sally, more like a force of destruction - you should see the state of my kitchen when I finish one of my 'experiments' :P , but thank you for your always kind words. They keep me going on tough days! And I hope you'll enjoy my parmesan impostor :) Ania
Can't wait to try this. Yours is without a doubt the best vegan food blog on the internet (maybe even overall, including non-vegan blogs), in that while there are other places around with good recipes I don't know of anywhere else that combines the genius you have for balancing flavours with culinary inventiveness and flair, while somehow managing to do so twice a week across a variety of styles of world cuisine. It's genuinely beyond my comprehension.
The majority of our household's weekly meals now tend to be sourced from the recipes you've so generously shared. Thanks for making our vegan shift that much more enjoyable.
    Thank you so much for you super kind words, Chris! I'm not sure I'm at all deserving of all this high praise, but it made me smile all the same and it helps to remember nice things like this when I am having a tough day 'at work'. I'm delighted to hear that my little blog is helping you enjoy the shift to veganism and thank you for doing that too!! Ania
Donna Bamber:
Hi Ania; Very excited to try this vegan parmesan and was just ready to print out the recipe when I realized you hadn't included the black olives in the recipe. I happen to have some sliced Greek kalamata's on hand so want to incorporate those. The few times I've used olives in a pasta dish I've tossed them in after the pasta is added to the sauce, but I wonder if you have given them a quick saute with the chili flakes and garlic?
    Hi Donna,
    I'm excited to hear that you are planning on making this dish already :) Hope you'll enjoy it. As for olives, I simply just dressed the pasta with them at the end, although adding them to arrabbiata isn't really a traditional thing to do, I don't think. Ania
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