If there’s anything that could hit the spot on a Monday night in lockdown while you tackle your new crafting project (or not…), it’s a big bowl of spag bol. And if your Veganuary has blossomed into a long-term love affair with plant-based choices, this option will leave you licking your lips – who says vegans miss out?
In fact, this pasta dish is filled to the brim with energising goodness. The base of the herby sauce is made from walnuts, mushrooms and tomatoes – all great sources of B vitamins to maintain energy levels. And let’s not forget everyone’s favourite bit: the noodles, which are rich in satiating carbohydrates, vitamin B and iron, for the kind of stamina you need to get through that pesky cross stitch you’ve been trying to nail. There’s no defeating you this week.
20g dried porcini mushrooms
250ml boiling water
1 onion, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, finely diced
2 celery stalks, finely diced
400g chestnut or button
Mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 red pepper, deseeded and diced
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
1 × 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
1 tablespoon tomato purée
2 tablespoons tamari
1–2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
4 portions of pasta (about 80g per person)
Salt and pepper
Handful of chopped parsley, to serve
1. Start by soaking the dried mushrooms. Put them into a bowl with the boiling water and leave for 20 minutes. Once soaked, drain well (but keep the liquid), then cut the mushrooms into small pieces.
2. While the mushrooms are soaking, chop the walnuts into tiny pieces – they need to look like large breadcrumbs. Place them in a large, deep frying pan over a medium heat and toast for about 5 minutes, until golden, stirring every now and again. Once toasted, remove from the heat and spoon into a bowl. Place the frying pan back on the heat.
3. Add the onion, garlic and celery to the frying pan, along with a drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of salt. Cook for 5–10 minutes, until soft.
4. Add the fresh mushrooms and red pepper, with the thyme, oregano and rosemary, and cook for about 5 minutes, until soft.
5. Stir in the chopped tomatoes, tomato purée, tamari and dried mushrooms with their water. Leave to simmer for 10–15 minutes – you want the ragu to be thick and have lost the excess liquid. Stir in the walnuts and nutritional yeast and leave them to cook in the sauce for a final 5 minutes.
6. While the ragu is simmering, cook your pasta in a pan of boiling water, following the instructions on the packet. Drain well then stir into the ragu once both are ready. Serve with a sprinkling of chopped parsley.
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