The Circus Gardener's Kitchen

seasonal vegetarian recipes with a side helping of food politics

spaghetti with olive, caper and tomato sauce

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Monsanto, once dubbed the “most evil corporation in the world” no longer exists but its toxic legacy shows no sign of disappearing, thanks to one of its flagship products, the weedkiller Roundup.

The principal ingredient of Roundup is a chemical called glyphosate, which seven years ago the World Health Organisation labelled “probably carcinogenic.”

Since then, a growing body of evidence has associated exposure to glyphosate with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a cancer which develops and spreads in the lymphatic system.

German chemical giant Bayer bought up Monsanto for a reported $67 billion in 2018. Since then, Bayer has had to pay out an estimated $11 billion in compensation to thousands of people who contracted cancer after exposure to Roundup.

In the US alone there are an estimated further 31,000 Roundup cancer lawsuits waiting to be heard or settled.

Roundup is now banned in dozens of countries, including France, Belgium, Italy, Netherlands, Denmark, Austria, Czech Republic, Thailand, Malawi, Vietnam and Sri Lanka. Inexplicably, however, Roundup continues to be sold openly here in the UK and is still to be found in many a garden shed or garage.

Recently Bayer announced that it would be altering the formula of Roundup from 2023, which would remove glyphosate from the product. Bayer claimed it was doing this “to reduce future litigation risk” rather than because of any safety concerns.

Well it would say that wouldn’t it? In the meantime, you might just want to check the shelves in your shed or garage and dispose carefully and properly of any Roundup you may have been storing there.

This is a hearty, quick and simple pasta dish, the spicy sauce being based on the classic puttanesca, which originated in Naples a couple of centuries ago and has rightly stood the test of time.

spaghetti with olive, caper and tomato sauce


1 onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
400 g can chopped tomatoes
½ tsp chilli flakes
1 tsp dried oregano
½ tsp sea salt
20 Kalamata olives, stoned
2 tbsp capers, drained
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

to serve

300 g spaghetti
15 g fresh parsley, finely chopped
vegetarian or vegan Parmesan, grated (optional)


1. Cook the spaghetti according to the packet instructions. Once the spaghetti is cooking, pour the the oil into a large pan and place over a medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add the onions and fry, stirring, for 5 minutes or until the onion is soft and translucent. Add the garlic and chilli flakes and continue to cook, stirring, for a further 2 minutes.

2. Add the oregano, sea salt and tinned tomatoes and bring to a gentle simmer. Stir in the olives and capers.

3. Once the spaghetti is cooked, drain it in a colander then return it to its pan. Pour in the sauce and stir to combine. Serve in bowls, topped with chopped parsley and the grated cheese, if using.

Categories: vegetarian

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10 replies

  1. Love these simple pasta dishes!

  2. Monsanto and Roundup were/are evil beasts, but the pasta looks amazing. Plus I have everything on hand.

  3. I live in a gated community south of Sydney, Australia. Roundup is well and truly alive and allowed for use by the gardeners here. I have tried to explain politely, to run out and stop them . . . ‘Oh, don’t be such a scaredy-cat, Mrs C, look we don’t even wear gloves’ . . . and, ‘for fun’ they sprayed the weeds around my beautiful 28-year-old standard rose just recently . . . it is now 90 % dead as are all the clivias etc around it . . . ‘What happened, Mrs C. we did not do anything – this thing is totally harmless and only kills the weeds . . . it does not kill proper plants . . . it’s totally safe, we don’t even wash our hands’ !!! AMEN, in more ways than one . . .

    Lovely way to serve pasta . . . I make it in a very similar way every few weeks . . . best . . .

  4. Hi Eha. That’s pretty awful! There are shelves of Roundup on open sale in garden centres and even some supermarkets here in the UK, despite the many thousands of cancer lawsuits it has attracted in the USA. I wonder if they will be discreetly withdrawn when the new formula Roundup comes out next year. Steve x

  5. I love a recipe when I have all the ingredients to hand. Delicious almost instant supper.

  6. I no longer use Roundup and it still amazes me that others do. On another note, your pasta looks marvelous!

    • Hi Vanessa. I think it is down to a lack of easily accessible information. If gardeners knew the facts I’m sure they would do everything to avoid Roundup. Thank you for the kind comments about the recipe too! Steve x

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