Kid Friendly Puttanesca

Kid Friendly Puttanesca is one of my family's favorites! The savory tomato sauce is taken to the next level with olives and capers. It's super simple to make and a huge crowd pleaser. 

Kid Friendly Puttanesca from Weelicious

If there's one thing my kids never tire of eating, it's pasta, and while our family was on vacation in Italy last month we went through a lot of it. Every restaurant we dined at had a dizzying amount of delicious pasta dishes on the menu to choose from (not to mention all the pizza), proving day after day on our trip that Italy truly is the ultimate kid-friendly place to visit.

Kid Friendly Puttanesca from Weelicious

Burned out from our daily consumption of carbs in Italia, hubby and I have gone on a bit of a pasta pause since returning home. However I can't stop dreaming of the sauces. Oh, the sauces. That's a whole other topic for me. I love them all and can't get enough -- pomodoro, pestos, bolognese, rich thick ragus, sugo all'amatriciana, and my favorite, puttanesca, a savory tomato sauce punctuated by olives and capers.

Kid Friendly Puttanesca from Weelicious

This kid focused Puttanesca was made in honor of my sweet daughter, Chloe, who also happens to be my resident olive and caper lover. I omitted the anchovies at her insistence (the little fish were giving her the willy's) and compensated by adding even more of the salty, briny flavor from the capers that makes a classic puttanesca sauce so irresistible -- and one that Chloe and our whole family absolutely loves.

Kid Friendly Puttanesca from Weelicious

There are plenty of nights this sauce performs double duty for me at family dinner. I toss some with cooked penne or rigatoni for the kids and spread the rest on grilled or broiled fish or chicken for the adults. It's a basic sauce to be sure (that freezes beautifully, by the way), but thick, hearty and flavorful enough to stand out at any meal. It's also versatile, the perfect topping for any Italian food lover, pasta or not!

Kid Friendly Puttanesca from Weelicious

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Kid Friendly Puttanesca (Serves 6)

Prep Time: 5 mins Cook Time: 20 mins

egg free

nut free

dairy free


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 1 15-ounce can tomato sauce
  • 1/4 cup sliced kalamata olives
  • 3 tablespoons capers
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt


1. In a sauce pan over medium high heat, sauté onion, garlic and salt in olive oil under tender and transparent, about 5 minutes

2. Stir in diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, olives and capers. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and let simmer for 10-15 minutes.

* Serve with pasta, quinoa or rice, broiled or grilled fish or chicken

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Hi, I’m Catherine. Mama of three. A Kentucky girl living in California. Here’s what I know: all kids can be great eaters and mealtime must be easy. I create simple, healthy recipes the whole family will love.

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  • Alina

    This recipe looks so good! I think some parmesan or nutritional yeast (for those who can't have dairy) sprinkled on top would work great. Thank you.

    leave a comment

  • Kim Beaulieu

    Love it, need it, must make it.

    leave a comment

  • Aimee Simple Bites

    I can't wait to bring my kids to Italy!! It's gonna happen. In the meantime? this pasta.

    leave a comment

  • Beth Tasty Yummies

    This is just gorgeous, Catherine!! I love the idea of swapping capers for the anchovies. I am with your daughter - they are not my fav ;)

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  • Niica

    Made this for dinner tonight. It was delicious! Thanks :)

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  • HeatherChristo

    I love this kid friendly puttanesca sauce, I bet it would be a big hit in my family tossed with GF pasta!!

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  • Kate ¡Hola! Jalapeño

    I have been craving this and now I have no excuse not to make it. Looks delish!

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  • Ruby

    I love puttanesca! And anything that's easy to put together with a small person on my hip is a winner for me! Can you please tell me what tomato sauce is - is it like tomato sugo? I'm in Australia and we call ketchup tomato sauce - ha!

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    • Catherine McCord

      Yes, tomato sugo, or pureed tomatoes!

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