Who doesn’t love an easy, relatively healthy pasta dinner? Anyone? Exactly! Even if pasta isn’t your absolute favorite (which it isn’t for me), you can still enjoy a good bowl of the stuff if it has the right elements. My husband is crazy obsessed with pasta, which leaves me constantly looking for new recipes to shake things up from time to time. I mean, you can only eat the same combination of noodles and sauce so often, right?
If you’re a sucker for a traditional bolognese, I’m pretty sure this vegetarian version will be right up your alley! It has all the trademarks of a hardy, Italian sauce – basil, garlic and of course tomatoes. However, this recipe is a little different in that you replace minced meat or sausage with mushrooms. They give plenty of texture and substance to the sauce, making it just as filling as your regular pasta with meat sauce!
Even though my husband is a full fledged carnivore, he still lists this vegetarian meal as one of his all time favorites. The mushrooms do such a good job in soaking up the flavor of the sauce and adding the right consistency to the mix.
You can serve this sauce with the pasta of your choice. I made it with penne, which I though turned out really well.
Before I proceed I would like to throw this out there as a totally transparent disclaimer – I am not a professional chef.
I don’t do things the “correct” way, nor do I really care to! Cooking for me is about feeling good. Zoning out into a happy space where you are creating something for you and your loved ones to enjoy. When I cook the main thing I have in mind is DOES THIS TASTE DELICIOUS? If the answer is no, I keep throwing things together until it is delicious. So no – I will not tell you how to do things “correctly”, but I will tell you how I threw some ingredients together and how it ended up being pretty tasty! And with that said, we can proceed!
You will need:
1 can of chopped/crushed tomatoes
2 tsp tomato paste
2 TBS olive oil
8 leaves of fresh basil
2 cups of minced mushrooms (raw)
½ white onion
3 garlic cloves1 TBS sugar
1 Tsp salt
½ teaspoon garlic powder
Cracked black pepper to taste
¼ cup reduced fat cream
1. Mince basil, mushrooms, onion and garlic. When I say "mince" the mushrooms, I mean cut them small-ish. Like roughly the size of a kidney bean. Everything else, actually mince.
2. Use 1 Tbs olive oil to sauté garlic and onion until translucent.
3. Add mushrooms and additional 1 Tbs olive oil. Make sure to saute everything in the pan so that the mushrooms are fully covered in oil.
4. Saute until mushrooms have shrunk and are darker in color.
5. Add basil and let it cook until wilted.
6. Add crushed tomatoes and tomato paste. Cook until sauce is simmering and there are no massive pie of tomatoes.
7. Add sugar, salt, garlic and cracked pepper.
8. Add cream. Make sure it is fully mixed in with your sauce.
9. Adjust salt, pepper and garlic according to your preference! Everyone likes different strengths to their salt, garlic and pepper so this is where you can customize!
I know this is a super rough outline (and again, not really in a proper order) but it took me about 35 minutes to cook the sauce altogether. I served it over penne noodles topped with parmesan and accompanied with fresh toasted French baguette and an imaginary side salad (which I would have made if I had remembered).
This recipe made enough for my husband and I, with leftovers to spare! I’m sure that if you doubled it there would be enough for a full family meal. I hope you guys enjoy, happy cooking!