Do you find it challenging to come up with meatless meals that will satisfy everyone around your table?
This Big Batch Meatless Spaghetti Sauce is just what you need.
Your omnivores won’t feel deprived, and your vegetarians will feel appreciated – an harmonious mealtime for all.
I think the key to the success of this sauce (apart from its great taste) lies in the texture. Red lentils and bulgur give this sauce body and make it feel substantial.
Bulgur is a type of cracked wheat that is available at most large supermarkets. It can usually be found near the rice products. If you are gluten-free, you can add kasha (buckwheat kernels) to get a similar texture.
The sauce freezes well, so keeping some on hand in the freezer means you have a meatless meal ready to go at short notice. Just cook up some pasta, toss together a few veggies, and dinner is served.
(Or how about some greens with Cranberry Viniagrette?)
- 2 tablespoons / 30 ml vegetable oil
- 2 medium onions finely chopped (about 3 cups / 750 ml)
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 1 cup / 250 ml red lentils
- 1-1/4 cup / 310 ml tomato paste or two small 5.5 oz / 156 ml cans
- 1/2 teaspoon / 2.5 ml salt
- 4 large cans 28 oz / 796 ml diced tomatoes
- 3 tablespoons / 45 ml dried oregano
- 1-1/2 tablespoons / 22.5 ml dried basil
- 2 teaspoons / 10 ml dried rosemary
- 1-1/2 teaspoons / 7.5 ml dried thyme
- 1/4 cup / 60 ml balsamic vinegar
- 3 tablespoons / 45 ml brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon / 5 ml ground pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon / 2.5 ml salt
- 4 cups / 1 liter vegetable stock
- 1/2 cup / 250 ml whole grain bulgur
Heat a stockpot or large saucepan over medium-low heat. When the pan is heated, add oil and swirl to coat pan. Add onions and cook until soft, about 3-5 minutes. Don't let the onions brown. If they start to brown turn down the heat.
Add garlic and cook for 1-2 more minutes.
Add lentils to pot and stir to coat with onion mixture. Toast for a minute or so, then add tomato paste and mix thoroughly. Cook the tomato paste for 3 - 5 minutes, stirring frequently to keep the paste from sticking.
While the onion mixture is cooking, whizz the tomatoes in a food processor or blender until they are well broken up. (If you do not have a food processor or blender, omit this step. Breaking up the tomatoes gives a more consistent texture to the sauce, but it will taste fine either way.)
Add the remaining ingredients except for bulgur (tomatoes, oregano, basil, rosemary, thyme, balsamic vinegar, brown sugar, ground pepper, salt and vegetable stock).
Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium heat, stirring regularly as lentils will tend to settle to the bottom of the pot and may stick. Cover and simmer for 25-30 minutes. Lentils should be softened but still hold their shape.
Stir bulgur into sauce. Simmer for an additional 10 -15 minutes. Remove sauce from heat and add more salt and pepper if needed. The lentils and bulgur will continue to soften as the sauce cools.
Let the sauce cool at room temperature for up to 1 hour, then divide into freezer containers and refrigerate until cool. Label and freeze.
Sauce will keep for up to 6 months in the freezer. Defrost in fridge or in microwave, then heat and serve.