Tomatoes, of everything and everyone I’ve ever loved, they have consistently come through for me. I eat tomatoes everyday (truly) all year long. I started the day off with a tomato salad, which I was stoked about because I found these darling baby heirlooms at Sprouts. I added a sprinkle of Gorgonzola and a drizzle of balsamic and relished in the specialness of such a simple dish. Ah, I love beautiful food.
Then I started a spaghetti sauce, which is vegan, early so it could simmer and set all day long. It was actually quite easy. I’m entirely uncertain how I ended up using a meat sauce recipe of all the recipes available, but I did, sans the meat, obviously. The below recipe is modified according to what I had. The original is from Ashley, here.
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large red onion, chopped
handful of fresh basil chopped
1 teaspoon dried Italian herb seasoning
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 (29 ounce) can tomato sauce
1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
1 large tomato, chopped and seeded
1 (14.5 ounce) can spicy Italian-style stewed tomatoes
2 bay leaves
1/4 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
2 teaspoons garlic powder
Water as needed
1 apple, peeled and finely chopped
Heat olive oil in a deep pot over medium heat and stir in the onions, fresh basil, and fresh garlic. Let simmer until onions are nearly translucent. Add everything else, stir. Add water, a little bit at a time to thin out the sauce (tip: use some pasta water to get the starch).
In a separate skillet, heat a touch of olive oil on medium. Add the apples and let them simmer for 3 – 4 minutes, stirring. Add 1/3 cup water and let simmer. This releases sugars from the apples, which you can use in the sauce. I just dropped everything from the skillet into the pot. You could just use the liquid, but the chunks are not terribly noticeable in the sauce, and they do add that sweet note. Often sauces like this need a touch of sweetness, and this keeps it vegan.
This sauce is incredibly versatile, and you can add it to the pasta of your choice. I went for wheat shells. Delicious.
You can also easily make this into a casserole by putting the al dente shells in a glass dish with some shredded mozzarella, Parmesan, and ricotta distributed evenly throughout. Run the sauce over the shells so it seeps down, mix if you need to. Top with Italian bread crumbs mixed with shredded Parmesan and then drizzle with olive oil to brown. The dish should be mostly cooked already, so just pop it in the oven at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes to make sure the cheese is all melted. Throw the broiler on for just a few minutes if the top hasn’t reached that golden brown color after the cheese has melted (but keep a close eye on it so it doesn’t burn). Double delicious.