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Sunday, August 21, 2011

Vegan Marinara Sauce with Vegetables

Pasta. and Italian tomato sauce. I've been told by real Italians that the tomato sauce that Canadians are used to (the real thick and smoothie like one) is good, but well,...err not exactly traditional in true Italian cuisine. According to them (and most Italians I know), the "real" traditional tomato pasta sauce is a lot lighter, more watery, and a bit more clumpy than smooth. If you are Italian and disagree with what I just said, please comment below and let me know your opinion of true Italian sauce.

Thus being said, I like both varieties and the version below is closer to the Canadian style, aka more thick, only because I pureed the tomatoes in a Magic Bullet..if the tomatoes are hand diced, and there are some other minor alternations, I'm sure you can get closer to the traditional Italian sauce. The only way you could get closer is by befriending a nonna, and be blessed if she allows you in her kitchen while she's cooking. (By the way, nonna=grandmother in Italian, or so I've been told)

Moving on to varieties of sauce: Neapolitan, marinara, Bolognese (side LOL, I almost spelled Bolognese as Blogonese...haha), Puttanesca, Arrabbiata. I'm sure there are more styles, but I just wanted to briefly look at these. If you have any additional information on these sauces, please comment below and let me know, I can only trust internet research so much.

Neapolitan: basic tomato sauce without the onion (no onion???? seriously?)
Marianara: basic tomato sauce with white wine and parsley. In Italy marinara sauce is associated with serving it with seafood.
Bologonese: ground meat tomato sauce
Puttanesca: traditionally made with olives, capers, and anchovies
Arrabbiata: Rome based tomato sauce, very spicy because of red chillies, but traditionally made with no basil? (is this really true, no basil? can anyone confirm this?)

Please add white wine and parsley to your shopping list, unfortunately I didn't have either of these ingredients on hand, so if you want a more authentic marinara sauce please add white wine and parsely...or go to Italy, have some marinara, come back and tell me what they put in it.


1/2 medium white onion, finely diced
2 garlic cloves
1 handful of spinach
1  or 1/2 portobello mushroom
2 medium tomatoes
2 teaspoons of tomato paste
1 tablespoon of white wine vinegar

a few shakes of freshly cracked black pepper
a pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon oregano
4 fresh leaves of basil
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 of whole grain pasta (dry measurement)

Yield: 2 servings


1. Finely dice onion and garlic and sautee over medium low heat, and add the onions first. In the mean time, dice portobello mushrooms in bite size pieces and dice your tomatoes. For a more authentic Italian style, leave tomatoes diced, or if you want a thick goopy sauce, puree them in a blender. I pureed mine for this recipe but I like both methods.

2. After a few minutes of sauteeing, add the fresh spinach leaves and they wilt in a few minutes. Also add the diced portobello and add freshly cracked black pepper (a few shakes). After a minute, add the tomatoes, diced or pureed as well as the white wine vinegar (or white wine if you have it on hand it is preferred) and the tomato paste. Boil water in a separate pot, and add pasta when water is at boiling point.

3. Let the sauce simmer on low heat for 10 minutes or so, until it cooks and thickens up. Add spices last minute and do not over cook sauce, as spices can lose their potency and oregano can become bitter.

4. Serve over warm whole grain pasta and then devour.

 What is your favourite kind of pasta sauce? Do you have any great recipes or secrets you would like to share?


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