All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2016
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I had a fridge chock full of produce & not enough days of cooking before me to get through it all without a lot of it going bad – so – I made this very thick & hearty tomato sauce. It is a great way to use a ton of veggies & clean out that fridge. Additionally – if you puree it or use an immersion blender – you can hide the veggies from kids & other finicky palates.
I grilled the eggplant first – to add a smokey flavor – but this is not necessary. I used kale & collard greens – because I had them – but they are totally optional – or you could use spinach, instead. You can eliminate a lot of the ingredients without a negative impact on this sauce so feel free to customize it.
I had a bunch of sage that I had frozen. It worked really well in this sauce – so – if you have herbs that are going to spoil, put them in sandwich bags & freeze them for use in future sauces.
Hearty & Spicy Vegan Eggplant & Mushroom Bolognese Pasta Sauce
Makes a boatload – so either serve a large group or freeze some
9 oz vegan beef crumbles (I used Beyond Meat)
7 Japanese eggplants (or 3 large regular eggplants)
2 onions – diced
2 bell peppers – diced
2 large zucchini – chopped
4 jalapenos – diced (optional)
1 bunch kale – (optional) ribs removed, washed & chopped (or spinach)
1 bunch collard greens – (optional) ribs removed, washed & chopped fine (or spinach)
8 oz mushrooms – sliced
1/4 cup fresh sage – chopped
1-6 garlic cloves – chopped
1/2 cup tomato paste (1 small can)
3 (26 oz) containers of chopped & strained tomatoes – in any combination (I used 2 strained & 1 chopped)
1/4 cup vegan Parmesan (very, very optional)
1 TBS salt
1-3 tsp crushed red pepper (according to your tolerance for heat)
1 TBS dry parsley
1 TBS oregano
1 TBS thyme (I used fresh chopped)
1/2 cup fresh basil – chopped
GARNISH – Cooked pasta, fresh chopped parsley or basil
If you are grilling the eggplant – slice them & either spray them with cooking spray or brush them with olive oil & then grill them on both sides. Set aside to cool – then chop. Set aside.
Heat 2-3 TBS olive oil in a large stock pot. Add onions & bell peppers & jalapenos. Saute until softened.
Add the zucchini & mushrooms & saute until tender. Stir in the chopped eggplant.
Add the greens you are using & fold in so they wilt. Add the garlic & cook for a minute or two.
Add all the other ingredients – EXCEPT the beef crumbles. Bring to a boil & then reduce the heat & simmer for about 30 minutes. If it gets too thick, add water.
Now – if you are going to puree the sauce or use an immersion blender – now is the time. Whatever you decide – pureed or not – add the beefy crumbles & heat through.
Season with S&P.
Toss some of the sauce with cooked pasta. You will have a lot of sauce left over – unless you are feeding a very large group. Garnish with basil and/or parsley.