Recipes / Veganism

Meat-Free Monday Recipe: Hearty Mushroom Tomato Sauce w/ Capellini

When I travel, I often base my itinerary on places I want to dine. As I visited NYC this past weekend, I made sure to eat at TeaNY, Moby’s vegetarian and vegan restaurant. Much to my chagrin, they no longer serve brunch (WTF say it ain’t so!). Instead of my usual order of tofu scramble and scones, I ate their vegan ravioli stuffed with spinach and mushrooms. Poured over the scrumptious pasta was a chunky tomato sauce. While tasty, I knew I could whip up something better.

When I was a kid, my grandfather made his own pasta sauce from scratch every week. The intoxicating aroma of tomatoes and oregano wafted through the house. Years later, I still eschew jarred tomato sauce as I like to make my own concoctions, tweaking a recipe with my fave spices. Laden with copious amounts of sugar and sodium, cooking your own sauce is often healthier too. Plus, there’s nothing like having your kitchen smell of simmering spices.

When you prepare a sauce from scratch, wateriness often plagues the sauce. You can certainly thicken with tomato paste. But I’m not a huge fan of the stuff. What makes this sauce unique is I thickened it by adding a roux. Used in French cuisine, a roux is a mixture of cooked flour and fat, usually butter, forming the foundation for many creamy sauces. Think of the roux as the Goldilocks of sauces…it makes the sauce’s texture not too watery and not too thick…but just right.

In fact, with the perfect consistency and balance of flavors, think of this sauce as the Goldilocks of sauces! Juicy tomatoes, earthy mushrooms, pungent and sweet red wine, peppery oregano, piney rosemary, minty marjoram and savory sage…this sauce is just right.

Hearty Mushroom Tomato Sauce w/ Capellini

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2-3 garlic cloves
8 ounces baby bella mushrooms, sliced
1 teaspoon crushed dried rosemary
1 1/2 pounds canned diced tomatoes
1/4 cup vegan red wine
1 teaspoon dried marjoram
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried sage
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tablespoons vegan butter
8 ounces capellini or other pasta


1. Heat olive oil on medium heat in medium saucepan. Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds.

2. Add mushrooms and rosemary and sauté for several minutes until softened.

3. Add tomatoes and wine and stir. Add oregano, marjoram, sage, salt and pepper. Lower heat to low heat and simmer for 10 minutes.

4. In a separate small saucepan, heat vegan butter on medium-high heat. Once melted, add flour and whisk rapidly until combined, forming a roux.

5. Add roux to tomato sauce. Stir well. Simmer for another 5-10 minutes.

6. Meanwhile, heat water in a medium saucepan. Add a pinch of salt.

7. Cook capellini or other pasta according to package directions.

8. Drain and toss pasta with sauce.

Serves 3-4

Bon appétit


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