The time of comfort food is here.
I mean, let’s be real, I like to eat comfort food year-round, but this time of the year, I’m especially craving alll the carbs. Bread, baking, pasta…
For me, comfort food not only involves (usually) ungodly amounts of carbs, but also warming spices and something that’s been simmered together for a long time.
A classic bolognese is a great example; traditionally, meat is simmered with aromatics, tomatoes and wine for a long, long time and then served over pasta. It’ll warm every part of you, but when you don’t eat meat… what can you substitute?
I’ve tried various things; lentils and mushrooms work pretty well, and have been my go-to in the past.
But there are so many great vegan meat subs out there on the market these days, I thought I’d try one of those. I mean, what a time to be alive, amIright??
Ozo is the latest vegan meat substitute I’ve tried. Here in Vancouver, you can find it at Choices (I got mine at the Yaletown location), and they sell burgers, ground “beef” and sausages. The co-ops also carry it, though I don’t live near enough to one to make it worth my while, maybe you do.
This is a super versatile sauce that has loads of applications. I did it up really simply by cooking pasta in boiling salted water until it was nearly done, then finishing the pasta by cooking it in some of this sauce with a little reserved pasta cooking water. Perfecto!
Ways to use the Vegan Bolognese sauce:
- On top of a soft polenta like this one
- To use as a dip for your bread sticks or polenta fries
- As a sauce for pizza
- In a lasagne
- In chili
- Mix with rice and veggies and use as a stuffing for baked peppers
- Use it as a base sauce for lettuce wraps
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 package vegan ground beef I used Ozo
- 1 small-medium onion diced
- 2 stalks celery sliced in half and diced
- 2 whole medium carrots sliced in quarters and diced
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1/2 cup red wine
- 1 can tomatoes 28 oz
- 1 can tomato paste
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2-3 tbsp fresh chopped herbs like oregano, basil or parsley
- In a large dutch oven or frying pan over medium heat, place a couple tablespoons of olive oil, and add the onions to it. Season well with salt and pepper. Stir and cook until the onions are softened and the edges are beginning to brown.
- Add the package of vegan ground beef and stir well to break it up and distribute. Sautee until it is cooked all the way through and beginning to brown, adding more oil if needed.
- Next add the celery and the carrots, stir well, cook for another 5 minutes or so before adding the garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Stir until fragrant, then deglaze the pan with wine.
- Add the can of tomatoes, and if they are whole, use the back of your spoon or a potato masher to smoosh them up. Fill the can the tomatoes came in up with water and add it to the pot as well.
- Finally, add in the tomato paste and stir well.
- Loosely cover the pot and turn the heat down so that the sauce is barely simmering. Allow to simmer for several hours until it's thickened.
- Taste and adjust for seasoning, and then finally stir in your fresh herbs.
- Serve over cooked pasta, and garnish with parmesan cheese and fresh herbs.
This post is sponsored by Ozo, but the recipe and photos are my own.