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Vegetarian Meat Sauce Recipe

This vegetarian meat sauce recipe is a delightful alternative to traditional meat-based sauces. Using a combination of hearty mushrooms and chickpeas, it offers a rich, savory flavor that will satisfy your palate and leave you craving for more. It's perfect for pasta, veggie noodles, and calzones.

Vegetarian Meat Sauce Recipe
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The cremini mushrooms and chickpeas may not seem like a common ingredient for a meat alternative, but it's what gives this dish its meaty texture. You might need to check the organic or vegetarian aisles in your supermarket for these items, but they're worth the search. Similarly, if you don't usually stock vegetable broth, you might need to pick some up - it adds a lot of depth to the flavor.

Ingredients for Vegetarian Meat Sauce

Cremini mushroom: These mushrooms are mature white button mushrooms. They have a deeper, earthy flavor and firmer texture which makes them great for this sauce.

White onion: This common kitchen staple adds a sweet and tangy flavor to the sauce.

Oil: Used for sautéing the veggies. Any neutral oil will work.

Salt and pepper: Used to season the sauce. Adjust according to your taste.

Garlic: Adds a deliciously pungent flavor that complements the other ingredients.

Oregano: This herb adds a touch of warmth and slight sweetness to the sauce.

Tomato paste: It gives the sauce its thick consistency and rich tomato flavor.

Tomato: They bring a tangy sweetness to the sauce. Use fresh tomatoes for best results.

Vegetable broth: It imparts a depth of flavor to the sauce.

Chickpeas: These are the main 'meat' of the sauce. They have a nice texture and mild taste that absorbs the flavors well.

Fresh basil: It adds a sweet aroma and fresh taste to the sauce.

One reader, Allyce Lindstrom says:

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This vegetarian meat sauce recipe is a game-changer! The combination of mushrooms and chickpeas creates a rich, hearty texture that's perfect for pasta or veggie noodles. The flavors are so satisfying, and the dish is incredibly versatile. I love how it adds a delicious twist to classic Italian dishes. Highly recommend!

Allyce Lindstrom

Key Techniques for Crafting the Perfect Vegetarian Meat Sauce Recipe

How to pulse mushrooms and onions in a food processor: Pulse the mushrooms and onions about 10 times until broken into uniformly fine pieces, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.

How to sauté vegetables: Heat the oil in a large skillet set over medium-high heat. Pour the mushrooms and onions into the skillet and season with salt and pepper. Sauté for about 8 minutes until the veggies have released moisture and softened.

How to incorporate tomato paste into the sauce: Push the veggies to the sides of the pan and add the tomato paste, slowly mixing in the veggies from the side until a uniform paste has formed.

How to prepare chickpeas for the sauce: Place the chickpeas in the food processor and pulse about 10 times until broken into fine pieces. Then, pour the chickpeas into a fine mesh strainer and submerge in a medium bowl filled with water. Shake the strainer for 1 minute to remove starches from the chickpeas. Remove the strainer when the water has become very cloudy from the starches.

How to use the sauce: Use the sauce as desired for pasta, veggie noodles, calzones, etc. Enjoy!

How To Make Vegetarian Meat Sauce

Make a delicious meat sauce sans the meat with this recipe. It’s made with mushrooms, chickpeas, and tomatoes cooked with vegetable broth.

Preparation: 15 minutes
Cooking: 10 minutes
Total: 25 minutes

Serves:

Ingredients

  • 10ozcremini mushroom
  • 1white onion
  • 2tbspoil
  • salt and pepper,to taste
  • 4clovesgarlic,minced
  • tsporegano,dried
  • ¼cuptomato paste
  • 28oztomato,(1 can) crushed
  • 2cupsvegetable broth
  • 15ozchickpeas,(1 can), drained
  • fresh basil,for garnish

Instructions

  1. In a food processor, pulse the mushrooms and onions about 10 times until broken into uniformly fine pieces, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.

  2. Heat the oil in a large skillet set over medium-high heat.

  3. Pour the mushrooms and onions into the skillet and season with salt and pepper. Sauté for about 8 minutes until the veggies have released moisture and softened.

  4. Add the garlic and oregano. Sauté for about 30 seconds until fragrant.

  5. Push the veggies to the sides of the pan and add the tomato paste, slowly mixing in the veggies from the side until a uniform paste has formed.

  6. Add the crushed tomatoes and stir until well combined and thick.

  7. Add the vegetable stock and stir until the sauce has thickened slightly. Reduce the heat to medium-low if it is bubbling and popping too much.

  8. While the sauce simmers, place the chickpeas in the food processor and pulse about 10 times until broken into fine pieces.

  9. Pour the chickpeas into a fine mesh strainer and submerge in a medium bowl filled with water.

  10. Shake the strainer for 1 minute to remove starches from the chickpeas. Remove the strainer when the water has become very cloudy from the starches.

  11. Transfer the chickpeas to the sauce and stir for at least 1 minute to give the chickpeas time to cook.

  12. Use the sauce as desired for pasta, veggie noodles, calzones, etc. Enjoy!

Nutrition

  • Calories: 275.88kcal
  • Fat: 7.06g
  • Saturated Fat: 0.64g
  • Trans Fat: 0.01g
  • Monounsaturated Fat: 3.01g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat: 2.57g
  • Carbohydrates: 43.10g
  • Fiber: 8.83g
  • Sugar: 10.63g
  • Protein: 13.38g
  • Sodium: 638.23mg
  • Calcium: 65.05mg
  • Potassium: 904.22mg
  • Iron: 3.17mg
  • Vitamin A: 51.89µg
  • Vitamin C: 19.31mg

One Simple Technique to Elevate Your Vegetarian Meat Sauce

When pulsing the mushrooms and onions in the food processor, aim for a fine, but not pureed, texture. This will help to mimic the texture of ground meat in the sauce. Also, when adding the chickpeas, ensure they are pulsed to a similar consistency. This will not only add a protein boost to your sauce but also contribute to the 'meaty' texture. Remember, the key to a good vegetarian meat sauce is achieving that hearty, satisfying texture.

Time-Saving Tips for Preparing Vegetarian Meat Sauce

Prep ahead: Chop and pulse the mushrooms and onions in advance, and store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator. This will save time when you're ready to cook.

Use canned chickpeas: Opt for canned chickpeas instead of cooking them from scratch to save time and effort.

One-pot cooking: Consider using a large, deep skillet to cook the sauce, reducing the number of dishes to clean up later.

Quick clean-up: Clean as you go to minimize the mess and make the post-cooking clean-up more manageable.

Multi-task: While the sauce is simmering, use that time to prepare any accompanying side dishes or set the table.

Substitute Ingredients For Vegetarian Meat Sauce Recipe

  • cremini mushroom - Substitute with lentils: Lentils provide a similar meaty texture and earthy flavor, making them a great substitute for mushrooms in a vegetarian meat sauce recipe.

  • white onion - Substitute with shallots: Shallots have a milder and slightly sweeter flavor compared to white onions, adding a delicate touch to the vegetarian meat sauce.

  • oil - Substitute with vegetable broth: Vegetable broth can be used to sauté the ingredients instead of oil, reducing the overall fat content of the dish.

  • garlic - Substitute with garlic powder: Garlic powder can be used as a substitute for fresh garlic, providing a similar flavor without the need for mincing or chopping.

  • oregano - Substitute with thyme: Thyme can be used as a substitute for oregano, offering a slightly different but complementary herbaceous flavor to the sauce.

  • tomato paste - Substitute with red bell pepper paste: Red bell pepper paste can add a rich, sweet flavor similar to tomato paste, while also contributing a vibrant color to the sauce.

  • tomato - Substitute with canned crushed tomatoes: Canned crushed tomatoes can be used as a substitute for fresh tomatoes, providing a convenient and consistent base for the sauce.

  • vegetable broth - Substitute with mushroom broth: Mushroom broth can enhance the umami flavor in the sauce, adding depth and richness to the vegetarian meat sauce.

  • chickpeas - Substitute with lentils: Lentils can be used as a meaty substitute for chickpeas, offering a hearty texture and protein content to the sauce.

  • fresh basil - Substitute with fresh parsley: Fresh parsley can provide a vibrant, herbaceous flavor to the sauce, complementing the other ingredients while adding a fresh finishing touch.

How to Beautifully Present Your Vegetarian Meat Sauce

  1. Elevate the plating: When presenting this vegetarian meat sauce, focus on creating a visually appealing plate. Use a large, flat plate to showcase the sauce and consider using a ring mold to create a neat, circular presentation.

  2. Garnish with fresh basil: Add a touch of freshness and color to the dish by delicately placing fresh basil leaves on top of the sauce. This will not only enhance the visual appeal but also add a burst of flavor to the dish.

  3. Incorporate texture: Consider adding a crunchy element to the dish, such as a crispy chickpea garnish or a sprinkle of toasted breadcrumbs. This will add depth and interest to the overall presentation.

  4. Balance the plate: Pay attention to the overall balance of the plate by ensuring that the sauce is the focal point while incorporating complementary elements, such as a small side of vegetable noodles or a decorative drizzle of olive oil.

  5. Artful drizzling: Use a squeeze bottle to create an artful drizzle of balsamic reduction around the edge of the plate, adding a touch of sophistication to the presentation.

  6. Consider the vessel: Select a beautiful, high-quality ceramic plate or a sleek serving dish that complements the colors and textures of the dish, elevating the overall dining experience.

Essential Kitchen Tools for Making Vegetarian Meat Sauce

  • Food processor: A food processor is a versatile kitchen appliance that can be used for chopping, slicing, shredding, and pureeing ingredients. It's great for quickly and efficiently processing the mushrooms and onions in this recipe.

  • Skillet: A skillet, also known as a frying pan, is essential for sautéing the vegetables and creating the base of the vegetarian meat sauce.

  • Fine mesh strainer: A fine mesh strainer is useful for rinsing and draining the chickpeas, ensuring that they are clean and free from excess starch before adding them to the sauce.

  • Large mixing bowl: A large mixing bowl is handy for submerging the fine mesh strainer and chickpeas in water, allowing for easy rinsing and removal of starches.

  • Wooden spoon: A wooden spoon is a versatile and gentle tool for stirring and combining ingredients in the skillet without damaging the cooking surface.

The Ultimate Guide to Storing and Freezing Vegetarian Meat Sauce

  • Allow the vegetarian meat sauce to cool completely before storing or freezing.
  • For short-term storage, transfer the cooled sauce to an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 5 days.
  • To freeze the sauce:
    • Divide the cooled sauce into portion-sized freezer-safe containers or resealable bags, leaving some space at the top for expansion during freezing.
    • Label the containers or bags with the date and contents.
    • Place the containers or bags in the freezer, laying them flat for easier storage and quicker thawing.
    • The frozen vegetarian meat sauce will keep for up to 3 months in the freezer.
  • To thaw the frozen sauce:
    • Remove the desired portion from the freezer and place it in the refrigerator overnight to thaw gradually.
    • For a quicker thaw, place the container or bag in a bowl of cold water, changing the water every 30 minutes until the sauce is thawed.
  • Do not refreeze the sauce once it has been thawed.
  • To reheat the thawed sauce, transfer it to a saucepan and heat over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until it reaches the desired temperature. Add a little water or vegetable broth if the sauce appears too thick.
  • Enjoy the reheated vegetarian meat sauce over your favorite pasta, zucchini noodles, or in other dishes like lasagna or stuffed bell peppers.

The Best Methods for Reheating Leftover Vegetarian Meat Sauce

  • Stovetop method: transfer the leftover vegetarian meat sauce to a saucepan and reheat it over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until it reaches the desired temperature. This method allows you to control the heat and ensure that the sauce is evenly reheated without burning or drying out. If the sauce seems too thick, you can add a splash of vegetable broth or water to thin it out.

  • Microwave method: place the desired amount of leftover vegetarian meat sauce in a microwave-safe bowl and cover it with a damp paper towel or a microwave-safe lid. Microwave the sauce in 30-second intervals, stirring between each interval, until it is heated through. Be careful not to overheat the sauce, as it can cause the mushrooms and chickpeas to become rubbery or tough.

  • Oven method: preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Transfer the leftover vegetarian meat sauce to an oven-safe dish and cover it with aluminum foil. Place the dish in the preheated oven and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the sauce is heated through. This method is particularly useful if you are reheating a large quantity of sauce or if you want to keep it warm for an extended period.

  • Slow cooker method: if you have a slow cooker, you can use it to reheat your leftover vegetarian meat sauce. Simply transfer the sauce to the slow cooker, set it to low heat, and let it warm up for 1-2 hours, stirring occasionally. This method is ideal if you want to reheat the sauce without having to monitor it closely.

  • Regardless of the reheating method you choose, be sure to taste the vegetarian meat sauce before serving and adjust the seasoning if needed. You may find that the flavors have intensified or mellowed during storage, so a little extra salt, pepper, or fresh basil can help to revive the sauce and make it taste just as delicious as when it was first prepared.

Fascinating Trivia About Vegetarian Meat Sauce

The vegetarian meat sauce recipe is a great source of protein and fiber due to the chickpeas, making it a nutritious and filling option for vegetarians. Chickpeas are also a good source of vitamins and minerals, including folate, iron, and phosphorus. Additionally, the use of mushrooms and onions provides a rich umami flavor, enhancing the overall taste of the sauce. This recipe is versatile and can be used in various dishes such as pasta, veggie noodles, or calzones, offering a delicious and meaty texture without the use of actual meat.

Is Making Vegetarian Meat Sauce at Home Cost-Effective?

This vegetarian meat sauce recipe is highly cost-effective for a household. The use of mushrooms and chickpeas as meat substitutes makes it a budget-friendly option. With a few simple ingredients, this recipe offers a flavorful and satisfying alternative to traditional meat-based sauces. The approximate cost for a household of 4 people is around $15, making it an economical choice. The overall verdict for this recipe is 9/10, considering its affordability, nutritional value, and versatility.

Is This Vegetarian Sauce Healthy or Unhealthy?

This vegetarian meat sauce recipe is a healthier alternative to traditional meat-based sauces. The use of mushrooms and chickpeas provides a good source of protein and fiber, while the tomatoes offer vitamin C and antioxidants. The recipe also includes healthy ingredients like garlic and oregano, which have anti-inflammatory properties.

However, there are a few areas where the recipe could be improved:

  • The oil used in the recipe is not specified. Using a healthier oil like olive oil or avocado oil would be a better choice.
  • The recipe calls for vegetable broth, which can be high in sodium. Using a low-sodium or homemade vegetable broth would be a healthier option.
  • The recipe does not include any additional vegetables, which could boost the nutritional value of the sauce.

To make this recipe even healthier, consider the following suggestions:

  • Use a healthy oil like olive oil or avocado oil instead of a generic oil.
  • Opt for a low-sodium or homemade vegetable broth to reduce the sodium content.
  • Add more vegetables to the sauce, such as diced carrots, bell peppers, or zucchini. This will increase the fiber and nutrient content of the sauce.
  • Use whole grain pasta or zucchini noodles instead of regular pasta to increase the fiber content of the meal.
  • Add some red pepper flakes or cayenne pepper to the sauce for an extra kick of flavor and a boost of metabolism-boosting capsaicin.

Our Editor's Honest Opinion on This Vegetarian Meat Sauce Recipe

The vegetarian meat sauce recipe is a delightful and flavorful alternative to traditional meat-based sauces. The combination of finely processed mushrooms and chickpeas creates a hearty texture, while the addition of garlic, oregano, and fresh basil infuses the sauce with aromatic depth. The use of vegetable broth and tomato paste enhances the umami richness, resulting in a robust and satisfying sauce. This versatile recipe can be used to elevate a variety of dishes, from pasta to calzones, offering a delicious and nutritious option for vegetarians and meat-lovers alike.

Enhance Your Vegetarian Meat Sauce Recipe with These Unique Side Dishes:

Garlic Bread: Create a delicious garlic bread by toasting thick slices of bread with a mixture of butter, garlic, and herbs until golden and crispy.
Caprese Salad: Whip up a refreshing caprese salad with juicy tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, and basil, drizzled with balsamic glaze for a burst of flavor.
Roasted Vegetables: Prepare a colorful medley of roasted vegetables, such as bell peppers, zucchini, and carrots, seasoned with herbs and olive oil for a healthy and vibrant side dish.

Delicious Alternatives to Traditional Vegetarian Meat Sauce

Vegan Lentil Soup: This hearty and flavorful soup is packed with protein and fiber from lentils and a variety of vegetables. It's a comforting and nutritious meal that's perfect for a cozy night in.
Mushroom Risotto: Creamy and rich, this classic Italian dish is made with Arborio rice, flavorful mushrooms, and a touch of white wine. It's a delicious and satisfying meal that's sure to impress your dinner guests.
Quinoa Stuffed Bell Peppers: These colorful bell peppers are filled with a tasty mixture of quinoa, black beans, corn, and spices. They're a healthy and satisfying dish that's perfect for a meatless dinner option.
Fruit Salad with Honey-Lime Dressing: This refreshing and vibrant fruit salad is made with a variety of fresh fruits and drizzled with a sweet and tangy honey-lime dressing. It's a perfect side dish for any meal or a light and healthy dessert option.

Ideal Appetizer and Dessert Combinations for Vegetarian Meat Sauce

Appetizers:
Stuffed Mushrooms: Delight your guests with these savory and indulgent stuffed mushrooms. They are the perfect bite-sized appetizer to kick off any meal.
Bruschetta: Fresh, vibrant, and bursting with flavor, bruschetta is a classic appetizer that never fails to impress. It's a great way to awaken the taste buds before the main course.
Desserts:
Chocolate Mousse: Indulge in a rich and creamy chocolate mousse, topped with a dollop of whipped cream and a sprinkle of cocoa powder. The smooth texture and decadent flavor will leave your taste buds dancing with delight.
Berry Parfait: Layered with fresh berries, creamy yogurt, and a crunchy granola topping, this berry parfait is a delightful combination of sweet and tangy flavors. Each spoonful is a burst of fruity goodness that is sure to satisfy your dessert cravings.

Why trust this Vegetarian Meat Sauce Recipe:

This vegetarian meat sauce recipe offers a delicious and hearty alternative to traditional meat-based sauces. The combination of cremini mushrooms and chickpeas provides a rich and meaty texture, while the addition of fresh basil and oregano infuses the sauce with aromatic flavors. The use of tomato paste and vegetable broth creates a robust and savory base, ensuring a satisfying dining experience. Trust in the quality and creativity of this recipe to elevate your vegetarian cooking repertoire.

Share your thoughts on the Vegetarian Meat Sauce Recipe in the Recipe Sharing forum and let us know if you have any tips or variations to enhance this dish!
FAQ:
What can I use as a substitute for cremini mushrooms?
You can use any type of mushrooms you prefer, such as button mushrooms or portobello mushrooms. Each type will bring its own unique flavor to the sauce.
Can I use canned tomatoes instead of fresh tomatoes?
Yes, you can use canned tomatoes as a substitute for fresh tomatoes. Just make sure to use the same quantity as mentioned in the recipe.
How can I make this sauce spicy?
To add some heat to the sauce, you can include red pepper flakes or a dash of cayenne pepper. Start with a small amount and adjust to your desired level of spiciness.
Can I freeze the vegetarian meat sauce?
Yes, you can freeze the sauce in an airtight container for up to 3 months. Thaw it in the refrigerator before reheating.
What can I serve this vegetarian meat sauce with?
This sauce is versatile and can be served with pasta, spaghetti squash, zucchini noodles, or used as a topping for pizza or stuffed peppers. It's a delicious and hearty addition to many dishes.

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