You may or may not have noticed, but in the recipes I have posted thus far one ingredient generally highly overrepresented in vegan and vegetarian cooking is missing: mushrooms. The reason I haven’t included any mushroom-based recipes is quite uncomplicated. I do not like them. The fun in funghi is totally absent to me, however incomprehensible this might sound to the majority out there. There’s something both about their taste and texture which does not appeal to me.
I do eat them on occasion, though, for two main reasons. The first reason being that they are so common in vegan cuisine. So more often than not it happens that at parties – where I am usually the only vegan to be detected within miles – a special plant-based meal has been prepared solely for me, so at times like those I just get over it. The second reason: my husband loves funghi. So every now and then I buy some for him. The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, right? Or so at least the proverb goes.
A couple of weeks ago I again purchased a box of mushrooms, and decided to use them in a simple, red wine-infused pasta sauce. And to my absolute surprise, the sauce was simply delicious, an absolute winner sauce even with the mushrooms (yep, I made two batches…: one with, and one without).
You can definitely eat this spaghetti al ragù as is, but I decided to serve the pasta topped with Gardein meatless meatballs (which are not usually available in Belgium, but luckily I happen to live nearby a Loving Hut restaurant which carries them). That decision was a vey lucky shot. It was the first time we had these vegan meatballs – which are hands down the best ones I ever had (and better even than any meatballs I can remember from my pre-vegetarian/vegan days), but their flavour beautifully complemented the ragù. If you can get hold of them, do give this combo a try. I promise you won’t regret it.
Spaghetti al ragù
- 1 onion
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 cup mushrooms
- 2 celery stalks
- 2 carrots
- 1/2 zucchini
- 250 ml (= 1 cup) red wine
- 700 g passata (one large bottle of approximately 1 l or 4 cups)
- 375 ml (= 1,5 cup) water
- 1,5 tsp Italian seasoning / herbs
- approximately 1 cup vegan mince of your choice or finely chopped walnuts (I used TVP here, and started out with 3/4 cup dry TVP – recipe below)
- pasta of your choice
- optional: (Gardein) meatless meatballs
- Sauté the onions, garlic and the mushrooms in olive oil until nicely browned. Add the chopped vegetables and sauté for some more minutes. Pour in the wine and simmer a couple of minutes before adding the water and the seasoning. Turn down the heat and simmer until ready. In the meantime, sauté the mince. When the vegetables are fork-tender, add in the mince.
- Serve over pasta.
- Optional: add vegan meatballs.
- 3/4 cup TVP mince
- 1 TB soy sauce
- 1 TB vegan Worcester sauce
- 1 TB liquid smoke
- 1/2 TB ground cumin
- 1/2 TB nutmeg
- 1/2 TB garlic granules
- 1 TB sweet paprika
- salt and pepper
- Bring water to a boil. Pour the boiling water over the dehydrated TVP-mince. Let sit for at least 5 minutes, then press out as much of the liquid as possible (I usually pour the mince into a strainer and press it with the back of a bowl).
- Heat olive oil in a pan and sauté the mince, together with all the other ingredients listed.