Search This Blog

Friday, July 22, 2011

Treat of the Week: Pasta with Marinara Sauce

We have a good friend in town.  And what do you do when a good friend comes in from out of town?  You catch up over a great meal.  This kind of thing happens everyday.  But why was last night different from all other nights?  Because I decided to be cautiously adventurous.  Cautious because I decided that we'd have pasta with marinara sauce for dinner.  Good, ol' fashioned pasta - that's what vegetarians eat, right?  Adventurous because, for the first time, I was going to prepare and cook this entire meal myself.  Absolutely unprecedented!

veg 247x300

So, I whipped out my trusty Veganomicon: The Ultimate Vegan Cookbook in search of the perfect recipe.  What I found was a marinara sauce that is soy-free, gluten-free, low-fat, and prepared in less than an hour with ingredients that can be found at any grocery store.  Perfection!  But, putting the cart before the horse, I wanted to jazz it up a little.  I took two of their suggested variations of the basic recipe, combined them with each other and the original, and made a Caramelized Onion and Mushroom Marinara Sauce with Meatless Chorizo.  Here's how to do it:

  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup finely chopped white or yellow onion
  • 1 cup thinly sliced mushrooms
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Several pinches of freshly ground black pepper
  • One link meatless chorizo (I recommend Yves Veggie Chorizo)
  • Pasta of your choice (we used one whole box of DeBoles Gluten-Free Angel Hair Pasta)
  • As much nutritional yeast as you want (a cheesy substitute for parmesan)
  1. Preheat a saucepan over medium-low heat.
  2. Add the extra virgin olive oil.
  3. Sweat 1 cup of finely chopped white or yellow onion for about 15 minutes (to sweat, keep the heat low and cover, stirring every few minutes - the onions SHOULD NOT brown).
  4. Uncover and cook for 15 more minutes at higher heat, until browned and caramelized.
  5. Sauté 1 cup of thinly sliced mushrooms.
  6. Add the garlic and sauté for about a minute, until fragrant (DO NOT let the garlic burn)
  7. Add the remaining ingredients (tomatoes, thyme, oregano, salt, cayenne, black pepper), cover, and raise the heat a bit to bring to a simmer.
  8. Simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  9. While the sauce is simmering, boil a large pot of water, add a pinch of salt, and add the pasta, and cook to al dente (firm but not hard - there should be some resistance in the center).
  10. Slice chorizo into thin rounds and and add to sauce with about 5 minutes left to simmer (the Yves Chorizo is already cooked so it only needs some heating up).
  11. Strain pasta and add it to saucepan.
  12. Mix well until the pasta is completely covered.
  13. Sprinkle some Nutritional Yeast on top for your Parmesan cheese substitute (optional).
  14. EAT UP!
That's it!  The recipe takes about 45 minutes of your life to prepare and leaves you happy all night.  It may look like a few more steps than you are accustomed but believe me, if I can do it, you can do it.  The pasta is light, but filling.  The sauce is perfectly spiced with a little bit of a kick from the garlic, cayenne, and chorizo.  It is slightly sweet from the caramelized onions but not nearly as sweet as the store-bought brands that are filled with sugar.  If you crave pasta from time to time (I can totally empathize), then this meal is a delicious, healthy way to satisfy your craving.  As with all recipes, feel free to improvise.  Add some broccoli or spinach to give yourself some greens or get rid of the mushrooms if you aren't into them.  It's all good!

Give it a try.  Let us all know what you think.  Become a follower.  Find me on Twitter (@Recon_Carnivore).  Tell your friends and family - they deserve to be healthy and happy too.  And, as always, thanks for reading!



  1. As one of the lucky recipients of this culinary creation, I can attest to it being a barrel of YUM! Simple, tasty, and filling...perfect for busy people like us. My belly anxiously awaits the next delicious experiment from Chef Marc - Morimoto, watch your back!

  2. haha, when I read this, the first thing I thought was, "But i thought vegetarians didn't ONLY eat pasta!" and then you made fun of that yourself; love it. I'll have to try this. The other day, I used boca crumbles to make a "meat" sauce and my entire family (we're talking mom, dad, brother, mother-in-law) had no clue and said it was the best meat sauce they'd ever had. Little did they know it was entirely meat-free (not because I meant it that way; the ground meat had gone bad, and as I am slowly starting to try non-meat products in place of meat, I had the crumbles in my freezer...they are freaking delicious!)

  3. I know, I absolutely realized my unintentional hypocrisy about halfway through writing this post. We've used the Boca crumble many times and it truly is fantastic! I find that if you leave it pretty much as is, then you will definitely tell the difference. However, if you spice it up a bit and give it a little finesse, it is virtually undetectable. We use it to make vegan Sloppy Joe's. I'll post that one soon and tell everyone how to make it taste EXACTLY like the Sloppy Joe's you remember eating in your school cafeteria!

    Glad to hear you are trying a few more meatless products. Going meat-free is definitely not for everyone but eating less than usual can be very beneficial. Just check out ingredients and try not to get stuff that has too much salt, sugar, and processed stuff in it. Remember, just because it is meat-free, it doesn't automatically mean that it is healthy.

  4. This blog actually come at a perfect time, with all of the recipes; I have chronic kidney disease diagnosed in '05, and have a TON of diet restrictions that I basically ignore because of how HARD it is (trying to eat a diet extremely low in...wait for it...sodium, potassium, protein, and phosphorus, along with NO salt substitutes allowed seems next to impossible!)...but now that I have a daughter and want to start trying soon to have another child, my health seems so much more not-about-me anymore, ya know?