I was just working with what I had on hand. I was in the mood for a “meaty” sort of sauce for my spaghetti. I don’t have a problem with opening a jar of sauce. In fact, I almost always have one in the fridge or the pantry. But I really do prefer making it fresh. So I keep cans of tomatoes and tomato paste around just for that.
I decided that instead of using dried herbs for seasoning I would go raid my herb garden outside instead. I’ve got basil, oregano, and thyme that’s been growing for a few weeks now, along with a container pot of cherry tomatoes. There was more than enough for me to harvest a generous amount.
The sauce is seasoned right at the end with a large handful of fresh herbs. I don’t think the actual amount is as important. I just picked a bunch, chopped them up, and put them in just long enough to impart their flavor to the sauce.
I really enjoy the pop of fresh herbs and the chewy texture of the veggie crumbles. This was even better a few days later.
Fresh Herb and Vegetarian Meat Spaghetti Sauce
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 cup onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
6 oz can tomato paste
1/2 cup robust red wine, such as a Cabernet Sauvignon
28 oz can tomatoes, chopped
1 1/2″ piece Parmesan rind
2 bay leaves
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
black pepper, to taste
12 oz pkg veggie crumbles
fresh herbs of choice, chopped (I used about 1/3 cup each basil and oregano and 1/4 cup thyme)
Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan. Cook the onions until they’re translucent, 10 to 12 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute. Stir in the tomato paste and let simmer for about 5 minutes, stirring it frequently. You want to start caramelizing the sugars. Add the wine and cook another 5 minutes, continuing to stir frequently.
Add the tomatoes, 1 cup water, Parmesan rind, bay leaves, sea salt, crushed red pepper, and black pepper. Simmer partially covered for 1 to 2 hours, stirring occasionally. Add more water if it gets too thick.
Stir in the veggie crumbles and fresh herbs. Return to a simmer and cook 5 minutes. Remove from heat and serve.