You know the old saying that everybody is Irish on St-Paddy’s Day. Everyone loves the idea of the luck of the Irish, leprechauns and the pot of gold, four leaf clovers and let’s not forget green beer and green milk (plant based of course).
Well, I think a lot of us like to pretend that we are Italian when it comes to a hearty, flavorful pasta sauce. Traditionally, it is served over pasta, but is equally delicious over spaghetti squash, brown rice and sweet or white potatoes.
And everybody knows that, in its simplest form, pasta sauce is versatile and very inexpensive. I remember the days of little kids with tomato sauce smeared all over their faces and the happy smiles as they asked for more.
Suffice it to say that, as the cook and chief bottle washer, I have made a lot of pasta sauce in my life. I’ve burned a few pots, but I have also made some dynamite pots of this fantastic Italian elixir.
Back in the day, my pasta sauce most always had a pound or so of ground cow in it, along with lots of fresh veggies, spices and herbs and of course, tomatoes in one form or another.
The ground cow is long gone and I have often used Veggie Ground Round to replace it. But the jury is out for me on whether or not soy protein isolate, of which Veggie Ground Round is made, is all that healthy for us. I am working on creating a recipe for a whole soy based ground meat made from firm tofu. But I haven’t quite perfected it. For the moment I use a grain based sausage called Field Roast.
So, without further ado, let’s get started.
Tomato, Mushroom and Vegan Sausage Pasta Sauce.
Yield: 14 cups
1/4 cup veggie broth (low salt & organic if possible)
1 1/3 lb. (607 grams) assorted wild mushrooms
.5 ounce (14 grams) dried wild mushrooms
1 cup hot water to reconstitute dried wild mushrooms
Place dried wild mushrooms in a small bowl, cover with one cup of hot water and set aside.
Soak fresh mushrooms in water to help remove any surface dirt and rub gently if required.
Chop mushrooms -different sized pieces creates interest in sauce.
Heat veggie broth on high in a wok or frying pan and add fresh mushrooms.
Reduce heat to medium and cook for about fifteen minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent mushrooms from burning.
Drain (reserving liquid), chop and add reconstituted wild mushrooms to cooked mushroom mixture.
Stir to incorporate, remove from heat and set aside..
1/4-1/2 cup veggie broth (low salt & organic if possible)
3 medium onions, peeled and diced
6 fresh garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
1-2 tbsp. dried oregano
1 cup mushroom soaking liquid
3 medium carrots, peeled and chopped (organic, if possible)
3 stalks of celery, chopped (organic, if possible)
2 medium colored peppers, chopped (organic, if possible)
½ cup salsa
28 ounce (796 ml) tin of diced tomatoes (organic, if possible)
22 ounce (700 ml) jar of veggie pasta sauce (organic, if possible)
2 cups veggie broth or water
6 Vegan Sausage like Field Roast or Tofurkey sliced or chopped
Salt and Pepper to taste
Heat veggie broth on high in a large pot and add diced onion and carrot and celery.
Reduce heat to medium and cook for about 4 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add chopped colored pepper and cook for about 4 minutes, stirring occasionally, until onions are translucent and other veggies begin to soften.
Add water or veggie broth as needed.
Add chopped garlic and stir for another minute or so, being careful not to burn.
Add ½ cup of the reserved mushroom soaking liquid.
Turn heat to high and stir until the liquid has evaporated.
Add salsa and oregano and stir often, for about 2 to 3 minutes until veggies look a bit caramelized.
Add canned tomatoes, jarred pasta sauce, veggie broth or water and remaining mushroom soaking liquid.
Bring to a boil, then turn heat down to low and simmer sauce for about twenty minutes.
Turn off heat and puree sauce using an immersion blender.
Add mushroom mixture and vegan sausage and cook for another five minutes or so.
Vegan Annie’s Handy Kitchen Tips
Spice it up: If you like heat in your sauce add some red pepper flakes, 1/4 of a tsp at a time.
Jarred Pasta Sauce: Substitute another tin of tomatoes and add 2-3 tbsp tomato paste to the mix.
Sausage: Substitute with soy based Tofurky Sausage if it is easier to find than the Field Roast.
Nutritional Yeast: For a cheesy taste and added Vitamin B-12, add 1/2-3/4 cup at the end of the cooking time.
Blending: I like my pasta sauce blended before I add the mushrooms and sausage, but feel free to leave it chunky if that is your preference.
Fresh Basil: Chop and sprinkle fresh basil on top of plated sauce.
Leftovers: Freeze the leftovers for later. Rule of thumb is one cup of pasta sauce per person. Thaw, if you remember to take it out in time, and heat up gently on the stove.
May all beings be happy and free.