Forget those heavily-processed mock meats – it’s all about mushrooms. Super versatile, super healthy, and with just the right texture, mushrooms are the original meat replacer. We’ve used them as taco meat and a base for veggie burgers, and you can bet this won’t be the last time you see mushrooms on One Ingredient Chef!
A bolognese sauce (ragù) is typically made with various types of ground meat, but ground mushrooms with some herbs, plus lots of tomatoes and veggies, create the perfect substitute. This is one of my all-time favorite pasta sauces.
As with all cooking, love is the biggest component of this sauce. Good ingredients? Skills in the kitchen? Experience? None of that matters if you don’t have love for the food you’re making and the people who will be eating it. Never is that more true than with an Italian pasta sauce. As always, I’ve provided the ingredients and recipe below, but this sauce is all about feel. You don’t have to use the exact amounts listed in the exact order – use your instincts and follow your heart to make this sauce your own.
Makes 4 servings
- 14 oz. mushrooms of any kind
- 1 large carrot
- 3 stalks celery
- 1 small white onion
- 3 cloves garlic
- 8 oz. tomato sauce
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 15 oz. can diced tomatoes
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 16 oz. whole wheat spaghetti
Make friends with your food processor, you’ll be using it a lot. First, pulse the carrot, celery, onion, and garlic until everything is very-finely processed into small chunks, like a super-fine mirepoix. [Note: it helps everything process evenly if you cut the veggies into pieces before adding them to the processor.] Add this mixture to a large skillet with a splash of water.
Next, pulse the mushrooms by themselves until they become ground like the meat of a typical bolognese. Add these to the pan of mirepoix and turn up the heat to brown all the ingredients in the pan. Finally, pulse the entire can of diced tomatoes a few times to break up any large chunks. Add these to the pan. Let this cook for 5 minutes.
Add the remaining ingredients – tomato sauce, tomato paste, thyme, salt, and black pepper. Take a break and allow this sauce to cook for at least 30 minutes – 45 is even better. As it gets closer to being finished, boil a pot of water and cook the spaghetti according to package instructions.
Give the sauce a final taste and adjust any ingredients as needed – don’t be shy to add more spices. Drain the spaghetti and top with a generous spoonful of the sauce.