Saturday, September 11, 2010

"Meaty" Vegetarian Tomato Sauce

6 - 8 servings

2 TLB olive oil

1 large onion, coarsely chopped

5-6 whole garlic cloves, peeled

1 (lb) pkg. Sausage Style Soy,such as Gimme Lean brand,

cut into small pieces

1 29 oz can whole tomatoes

1 28 oz can tomato sauce

1 12-15 oz can tomato paste

¼ C red wine

1 tsp each of the following




½ tsp crushed rosemary

3-4 cleaned, stemmed white mushrooms, sliced

In a large pre-heated pot, pour the olive oil, chopped onion and whole garlic cloves. Simmer until onions appear translucent. Add cut up soy sausage and simmer for several minutes, stirring with metal spatula so that it browns evenly. Add spices. Reduce to low heat, cover, and allow to simmer for about 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add whole tomatoes, tomato sauce and paste to the mixture. Mix thoroughly. Cover, allow to simmer for about, stirring occasionally, then add red wine and mushrooms. This can be transferred to a Crockpot or left on stove to simmer over a low heat. Allow the ingredients to meld together for 2-3 hours. If using a Crockpot, this can be left to slow cook on low for up to 10 hours.

Serving suggestions:

This is best served over cheese-filled ravioli. It also works well as sauce for Eggplant Parmesan or Vegetarian Lasagna.

©Wilma Carolyn Johnson Short

NOTES: Throughout my life I have alternated between eating a vegetarian diet and a diet that includes meat. One summer when I was 20 years old I began eating a vegan diet. I didn't even know what it meant to be a vegan, but I began eating only vegetables, fruits, beans and grains only. I learned to make granola and to bake bread. My reasoning at the time had a lot to do with typical sixties trends and experimentation, which led me to disliking meat. What I liked about my new-found diet most was that I felt better physically and I noticed a marked improvement in my skin tone, along with better color.

But, alas, this was not to last long, as it was too difficult to remain healthy when I returned from apartment living to eating stock dining hall fare at my college. It was also nearly impossible to eat out socially. At the time, it seemed I had little choice, but to give in and begin eating meat again.

All these many years later, and since viewing the documentary, “Food, Inc.”, my husband and have vowed to eat less red meat, pork, or lamb, though I've learned never to say never. Sometimes it simply cannot be avoided.

I have absolutely nothing against eating meat. I do not view eating meat as "wrong". It is a personal choice. I view eating vegetarian meals as containing more options, variations, and lots more creativity in preparing meals. It is generally healthier, too. We still enjoy seafood or organically raised poultry throughout our week, but look forward to the evenings we have tofu and vegetable stiy-fry.

Many of our other meals are meatless. I believe soy is one of the best sources of protein and the great thing is that it contains zero fat. It comes in so many interesting forms. We love Tofu sautéed in sesame oil with garlic and ginger , or Edimane as an appetizer. I have made many soups with a variety of beans, which often include soy beans.

When purchasing tofu, try to find the firm kind as opposed to soft. Firm tofu is more dense and contains more protein than the other textures.

I believe one can feel satisfied after a meatless meal, as long as a good source of protein is present in the food. It's not fun to feel hungry an hour after you've eaten. This tomato sauce seems quite satisfying in filling me up, without that logy feeling one gets after a heavy meal. It is good served with vegetables, or a salad and bread.

I enjoy making a big batch of sauce all at once. I usually freeze a good portion of the sauce in two-serving sized containers in our small chest freezer. It makes it nice for some future evening when cooking an entire meal feels like a chore after a busy day. This sauce can be thawed in minutes, as stuffed ravioli is cooked in water in a sauce pan in no time.

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