Happy Friday! It’s been a long week, hasn’t it? If you’re one of my parents lucky dinner guests this weekend then you get to look forward to a massive lasagne dinner tomorrow night. Among the classics will be one that I made with this vegan red pasta sauce, which in my opinion, is delightful.
I’m not a big meat eater in my day to day, and to be honest, I really dislike ground beef. Besides the fact that beef makes me so sick that I feel like I’m about to die (TMI?), it’s always greasy and oily and fatty, even the lean stuff is kinda gross. But I do love how thick and hearty it makes pasta sauce. As a note, I would never dis my mamas pasta sauce, it’s fantastic, and something that I grew up eating, so nostalgia and all that. She’d make big batches of it to bring up to the cabin – and no matter who showed up last minute for dinner, there somehow always seemed to be more than enough for everyone – I have no idea how she did it!
I just find that pasta sauce that only has veggies in it, while still super yummy, sometimes lacks the hearty texture of a traditional red meat sauce. So to fix that I started making my sauce with Vegan Ground Round. I like the Yves Italian Veggie Ground Round. It has a nice texture, similar to that of finely ground beef, it’s not fatty or greasy, and it has spices in it so you get a little extra somethin’ somethin’. Oh, and I like to think that it’s healthier (not sure if it’s true, but it will make you feel better if you want an extra serving) than the meat version as it’s plant based, so no hormones or steroids, and no extra grease or oil! People sometimes seem slightly afraid (?) or maybe intimated (?) to try plant based meat, and I will admit – some of it is not my favourite – but this ground roast and the Yves sausages are pretty delicious! And like a traditional sauce, it includes a couple splashes of red wine to add some depth. Since you have the wine open, don’t forget to give yourself a splash!
I made this while I was staying at my parents last night, and I asked my dad to try it to make sure it was good, and he loved it! He didn’t even know it was vegan at first! He thought it was fantastic and tasted just as hearty as the traditional sauce, and he can be a picky eater (sorry dad!) so I consider this one a victory.
Pasta sauce is great, because you can season it how you like, add in whatever vegetables you like, and serve it however you like. The vegetables in the recipe are what I like in my pasta sauce, but my mom puts celery and olives in hers, and sometimes roasted red peppers, so to each their own. As long as you put in the onion and garlic, which is necessary – because what would pasta sauce be without it – the rest of the veggies are up to you! If you like it spicier, or like more basil, or rosemary or you just want it seasoned plainly, it’s up to you.
This batch of sauce is getting served as a lasagne – layered in between lasagne noodles with slices of roasted sweet potato for extra texture. This sauce freezes really well (woo!), so I’ll defrost some and serve it over pasta at home (I’ve been really into quinoa pasta lately), or over roasted sweet potato and it’s sooooo great! Food this easy, and so easy to freeze is SUCH a GEM!
Vegan Red Pasta Sauce
- 1 medium/large onion, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 carrots, diced
- 1 large or medium zucchini, diced
- 1 pd. button or cremini mushrooms, sliced
- 2-3 bell peppers, chopped
- One package, Yves Italian Ground Round (340 grams)
- 28 grams basil, chopped (more or less, to your taste)
- Couple splashes of red wine
- 2 cans of crushed tomatoes, 28 oz. x 2
- 1 can of tomatoe sauce, 28 oz.
- 2 tbsp. dried or fresh oregano (more or less, to your taste)
- 2 tbsp. dried or fresh rosemary (more or less, to your taste)
- Pinch of crushed red pepper (more or less, to your taste)
- 1 bunch spinach
- Salt & Pepper (to taste)
In a large pot, sautee onion, garlics and carrots in olive oil, until slightly soft and brown.
Add in zuchchini, mushrooms, peppers and ground round. Cook for around 3-5 minutes until vegetables are cooked down slightly, and soft. Add half of the basil. Season with salt and pepper.
Add in a couple splashes of red wine (and pour some for yourself), use the wine to scrape up all the good bits on the bottom of the pan. Cook for around 2 minutes until wine has started to reduce.
Add in crushed tomatoes, tomatoe sauce, rosemary, crushed red pepper and oregano. Cook until sauce is bubbly and begins to thicken.
Mix in rest of the basil, and spinach leaves. Cook until spinach leaves have wilted.
Simmer the sauce on low and let it cook for at least a half hour, to give all those flavours a chance to mingle. Serve in a lasagne, over pasta, veggies or freeze for later!