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The Ultimate Vegan Meat(less) Sauce

I hope you have some of those “Perfect Veggie Burgers” left from last week! If you didn’t see that post, it’s an amazing veggie burger recipe that tastes delicious and holds together really well. After making those, I started thinking, “I wonder what else I could do with these burgers…” A classic ‘meat’ sauce over pasta was the first thing that came to mind.

Oh my goodness. Vegetarians: you are no longer limited to plain ol’ tomato sauce. By using these veggie burgers in place of traditional hamburger, we can create an authentic-tasting meat sauce that just might fool your omnivorous friends into thinking it’s the real thing. It turned out even better than I could have expected. And with those veggie burgers on hand, it’s a snap to make. Here’s how:

Vegan_Meat_Sauce

Makes 4 cups of sauce

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup white onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 Perfect Veggie Burgers
  • 1 16 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 16 oz can tomato sauce (puree)
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dried fennel
  • Salt & black pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil

Vegan_Meat_Sauce_Bowl

Step One

Warm a large skillet over medium-high heat and add a small drizzle of olive oil. When hot, toss in 1/2 cup of chopped white onion and a few cloves of minced garlic. Allow the onions to soften and turn translucent (about 4-5 minutes).

Step Two

Meanwhile, cut the veggie burgers (thaw first, if frozen) into loose 1/2 inch chunks and throw them into the pan once the onions and garlic have softened. Stir to combine and give this another 2-3 minutes of cooking.

Step Three

In a blender, combine the three tomato products: the diced tomatoes, the tomato sauce (which is smooth tomato puree), and about 3 tablespoons of tomato paste in a blender or food processor and just pulse several times until the larger tomato chunks have broken down and everything is fully incorporated. Then, pour this into the skillet. You’ll now have something that’s starting to look like meat sauce and it’s time to get excited.

Sauce_Progress

Step Four

Throw in the dried oregano, thyme, and fennel along with a generous pinch of salt & pepper. Allow this to simmer, uncovered, for at least 25 minutes so that the tomatoes can cook and the flavors can meld beautifully together.

Step Five

Finally, when the sauce is nearly completed, add a handful or two of chopped fresh basil. Waiting until the last minute prevents the basil from losing too much flavor through excessive cooking. Give the sauce another 2-3 minutes and then taste – feel free to adjust any spices/seasonings as needed before finishing.

Serve immediately over your favorite pasta or store in a sealed mason jar for up to a week in the refrigerator.

Note: due to the nature of the veggie burgers, the sauce may absorb the liquid and become excessively thick during and/or after cooking. If this happens, feel free to add as much water as needed to reach your desired consistency. I added about 1/2 cup of extra water during cooking and another 1/2 cup before serving.

Vegan_Meat_Sauce_Plate

17 Comments

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  1. Sounds wonderful. However, I react really badly to tomatoes. It makes life difficult. Any suggestions for a substitute for the 3 types of tomato that you use in this sauce?

  2. Jan, is it an issue of acidity or because it’s a nightshade? If it’s acidity maybe a puree of something else – roasted red peppers, carrots, pumpkin, eggplant, zucchini? Probably won’t be exactly the same but still pretty tasty. Andrew?

  3. OMG you must have read my mind. After seeing those wonderful burgers last week I thought to myself, I wonder if Andrew could help me with a ‘spaghetti bolognaise’ sauce. I’m trying to get away from TVP and my kids don’t like obvious mushroom sauces so this looks just perfect. Love it, thanks

    • That’s awesome, Nicole! I was, in fact reading your mind. I though, “I bet Nicole would appreciate a pasta sauce recipe with these veggie burgers…” and here we are! :p

  4. WAIT ANDREW!! I made the burgers and you stated on that burger recipe that they needed to be baked. For THIS pasta recipe, am I using the raw or baked version of the burgers?

  5. Thanks for your quick reply (I was in the middle of making the burgers hence the urgent cry! ;-)).

    Can I just say OMG those burgers are EVERYTHING! (But you already know this hence the “Perfect Burger” title.)

    Just cooked this for hubby and two kids and wow! Can’t wait till part 2 when I use burgers for pasta sauce later this week! (Hubby also suggested meatballs — yassssssssssss!) I just love the double whammy two meals in one!!

    Hooray for Andrew! Your site is making my new vegan life so fabulous!

  6. I made this sauce and used it to make stuffed peppers with rice added. I left it out overnight – forgot it! Is it safe to eat – it went in the fridge first thing in the morning.

    • Oh bummer! 🙁 I’m not an expert on food safety by any means, but I think the official guideline for restaurants is that food should not be eaten if it is in the “danger zone” between 40-140 degrees F for more than four hours.

    • Hmm, that’s not really my specialty 🙁 I guess it would just be the whole wheat bread that needs to be replaced, which is basically used to make breadcrumbs. I don’t know if you can find GF breadcrumbs, but that would definitely work.

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