Vegan Penne Pasta with Broccoli, Capers, Green Olives & Pine Nuts

The caramelized onions combined with the capers, green olives and pine nuts make this a savory dish. The longer the onions are cooked, the better they taste, so start them early.  

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil or ½ cup vegetable broth
  • 2 large onions, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely minced 
  • 1 cup green olives, chopped 
  • 2 tablespoons capers
  •  1 tablespoon vegan Worcestershire sauce 
  •  1 teaspoon oregano or marjoram
  •  Red pepper flakes, to taste
  •  1 teaspoon seasoned salt
  • ¼ teaspoon fresh ground pepper 
  • 3 cups broccoli florets
  • 8 ounces whole-wheat penne pasta 
  • 1 cup pasta cooking water reserved
  • ½ cup pine nuts, toasted
  • 1 tablespoon parsley or basil, chopped

Heat large skillet to low to medium heat. Add oil or vegetable broth and then the onions. Let them cook, stirring just a couple of times until they are golden brown in color. Too much stirring slows down the caramelization process and browning. Add garlic the last 5 minutes after onion is brown and starting to caramelize. Add green olives and capers to the onions. Stir in Worcestershire sauce, oregano or marjoram, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Add a little water or broth if mixture is too dry. Simmer over low heat for 10 minutes. In a separate 6 quart pot, prepare penne pasta according to al dente instructions. Five minutes before pasta is cooked, add broccoli. Cook broccoli with pasta for five minutes. Before draining pasta, reserve ½ cup of pasta water and set aside. Drain. Mix pasta and broccoli with the caramelized onions. Add pasta water, one tablespoon at a time until sauce consistency is as desired. Serve into warm bowls or plates. Sprinkle parsley or basil on top for garnish with pine nuts.


  A tablespoon of fresh herbs equal about 1 teaspoon of dried.


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About the Author

Deborah Brutsché believes in uncomplicated meals. Through the power of simple and satisfying recipes, Deborah has created a connection for people who are on a journey to healthier living by choosing a diet that is free of animal products. She gladly embraced the challenge of giving her traditional, Southernstyle cooking a vegan twist. Deborah was influenced by her mother’s and grandmother’s family recipes.

Raising a family in Dallas and now living in Austin, Texas, her cooking is influenced by the distinctive flavors of the Southern U.S. and Mexico and new influences from her multi-cultural family.