Cooking on board can be very trying. When we are on a long trip and people don’t want to wait for calm waters I can either be found braced at an angle in front of the cooker, cursing whoever thought this was a good way to spend a holiday, or slapping hummus on bread and yelling ‘If you want anything else you can make it yourself’! Yesterday, however was not one of those days. Yesterday was a pootling in the sunshine with barely any wind sort of a day, it was a One Pot Pasta, a Vegetarian Puttanesca sort of a day – until the sting in the tail whipped us in the face and we were reminded once again how dangerous sailing can be!

I steered us away from our mooring, past Brownsea Island and out towards the harbour mouth before handing over to Mr TS to sail us past the Sandbanks chain ferry  – I’m not keen on this bit, the ferry passes right across the harbour mouth while yachts, dinghies, massive motorboats and paddle boarders all play chicken trying to cross in front of it and jet skis are leaping off everyone’s wakes

Once we were clear of Poole Harbour madness we headed along the coast past Bournemouth before heading out to sea in the brilliant sunshine of an early June day. There were only the three of us on board as the teens are STILL revising. Bonus Boy took up position at the bow, checking that the bottom wasn’t too close and that there were no buoys ahead to wrap around our rudder! That slightly shifty look is because he was about to try to dip his feet in the water without removing his trainers first!

Jump to Recipe

Young boy on a sailing boat.

I’ve seen one pot pasta dishes all over Pinterest and have been dying to have a go. Draining vast quantities of boiling water from a vat of spaghetti into a small sink at a 30 degree angle is no fun at all, so anything which means I can avoid this is going to go down well with me! I decided to adapt my own regular recipe to make a One Pot Pasta Vegetarian Puttanesca.

One Pot Pasta Vegetarian Puttanesca with avocado and grated cheese.

Alla Puttanesca is usually translated into English as Whore’s Pasta, apparently because it is a dish cooked by the sort of woman who can’t be bothered to go to market to buy fresh produce and throws a meal together using things she finds in her cupboards! Since I am often a very long and wet way from market, it’s the perfect dish for me!

Here’s Mr TS and his lovely hands, holding up the bowl so you can see we were actually at sea and I’m not just having you on!

At sea with Vegetarian Puttanesca in a bowl.

Because we were only out for a day sail I did have fresh tomatoes, an avocado and some salad leaves with me but this dish would happily stand alone without them. Grated cheese is optional (I used a strong cheddar) and can be replaced with grated vegan cheese (I have yet to find one I like) or vegan parmesan made with cashews, nutritional yeast, garlic powder and salt.

The starch in the pasta isn’t poured down the sink in a one pot dish, it thickens the sauce and turns it into a divine, creamy work of art – I’m a total convert! I have a feeling that many one pot pasta dishes will be appearing on board this summer and that they will be making their way onto Thinly Spread shortly afterwards! Bonus Boy wasn’t impressed that I was adding red onions to his pasta but he ate his words as he ate the puttanesca and declared it ‘Delicious’!

One Pot Vegetarian Puttanesca enjoyed by a young boy.

The sting in the tail was that shortly after we had eaten our lunch, and just as I was settling in for a sunbathe, the sea mist appeared out of nowhere and engulfed us. It’s incredibly scary when this happens, we couldn’t see further than 150m, it was cold and wet and we knew that there were lots of other boats out there, big and small, all sailing along in the fog where we suddenly couldn’t see them. The wind also picked up which meant that we went from pottering along on a flat sea at 2 knots to whizzing along leaning right over at 8 knots. We reduced our sails and I took up position on our port side, peering into the gloom, while Mr TS peered to starboard and steered us as carefully as possible back the way we had come. We have GPS so we can ‘see’ where we are even if we can’t actually see but it doesn’t show us where anyone else is! After a pretty hairy hour or so we emerged unscathed from the fog bank and headed for home – perhaps not surprisingly I don’t have any photos to show of that particular adventure!

One Pot Pasta Puttanesca on a boat deck.

One Pot Pasta Puttanesca Vegetariano

A simple one pot pasta using store cupboard standbys.
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Calories: 2068kcal


  • 300 g spaghetti or tagliatelle
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium sized red onion halved and finely sliced
  • 3 large cloves of garlic finely chopped
  • 3 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup tomato passata
  • 18 cherry tomatoes
  • 18 black olives
  • 2 tsp basil pesto suitable for vegans, jarred is fine
  • freshly ground black pepper

To Serve

  • 1 avocado
  • mixed salad
  • grated vegan cheese optional


  • Heat the olive oil gently in a deep, wide based frying pan.
  • Gently fry the red onion until soft, add the garlic and fry for a further minute.
  • Add the spaghetti, 3 cups of stock, passata, tomatoes, olives and pesto, bring to the boil, reduce to a simmer.
  • Poke the spaghetti into the stock as it softens.
  • Cook for the length of time specified on the packet, stirring often to prevent the pasta sticking.
  • The liquid will reduce and thicken as the pasta cooks, add a little more water if it gets too dry.
  • Check that the pasta is cooked, add black pepper to taste.
  • Serve with chopped avocado and salad leaves sprinkled with cheese.


Nutritional information is only an approximate guideline. Calculations will vary according to the ingredients you use and your cooking methods.


Calories: 2068kcal | Carbohydrates: 302g | Protein: 53g | Fat: 78g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Cholesterol: 1mg | Sodium: 4188mg | Potassium: 3605mg | Fiber: 34g | Sugar: 40g | Vitamin A: 5051IU | Vitamin C: 127mg | Calcium: 261mg | Iron: 12mg
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One Pot Pasta Puttanesca.

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