This tasty vegan meat sauce is super easy to make, is one pot, and loaded with protein from walnuts and mushrooms versus typical lentils.
4 servings spaghetti or pasta of choice
4–5 cups assorted mushrooms, whole is fine as we will be processing them
1 heaping cup walnuts, raw, whole
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 large onion, rough chop
2 celery ribs, rough chop
3 medium-sized carrots, rough chop
4 large cloves of garlic, whole
1/2 tsp chili flakes
1 tsp cinnamon spice
1/2 tsp clove spice
2 tbsp. dry basil spice
1 tbsp. parsley spice
1 bay leaf
1/4 cup tomato paste
1 680ml bottle of passata – I used organic
2 tbsp. vegetable stock paste
2–3 cups boiling water
season to taste
Into a food processor place 1/2 of the mushrooms and process until finely ground. Remove mushrooms from the processor and repeat with the other 1/2 of mushrooms. See notes.
Into the food processor add your walnuts and process till finely ground. Transfer walnuts to the bowl with the mushrooms.
Into a large soup pot add your olive oil and heat on medium-high heat for around 20 seconds before adding your mushroom and walnut mixture. Cook for around 6-8 minutes, stirring often to avoid burning. Cook until all the liquid has evaporated and the mixture has browned beautifully.
Into the same food processor add your onion, celery, carrots and garlic. Process till finely ground. See notes.
Remove the mushroom and walnut mixture from the pot and transfer to a bowl.
Into the same pot add your onion mixture and cook on medium heat for around 5-6 minutes, or until browned and fragrant. If the mixture starts to sticks to the bottom of the pot simply add a little water bit by bit to help loosen the browned parts. This is a flavour building step, so I highly suggest it if needed.
To the mixture add your chili flakes, cinnamon, clove, basil, parsley and bay leaf. Stir till well combined. Cook for around 1-2 more minutes.
Now, push the cooked onions mixture to the sides and makes room for the tomato paste. Cook on its own for a minute or so or until browned. Once browned stir the tomato paste into the onion mixture and transfer your walnut and mushrooms to the pot. See notes.
Stir till well combined, increase heat and add your passata and vegetable stock paste. Cook for around 5 minutes before adding your water and bringing mixture to a boil.
Pot on your pot lid and simmer for around 25-30 minutes. See notes. Before serving taste for salt and pepper and add as needed.
Enjoy with your favourite pasta, garnished with parsley and a side of garlic toast!
When you process the mushrooms there will be larger chunks left as you process but don’t keep going. You don’t want to over-process them.
When processing the carrots, celery and onion, garlic, you will likely want to over process. A pulp texture is great but try to avoid a smoothie texture.
At this point, you could add red wine, 1 cup, deglaze for 5 minutes to remove alcohol and then add your passata.
The longer you cook the sauce, the better, but if you’re in a pinch for time 30 minutes is perfect! This sauce is even better the next day. Will freeze well, for up to 3 months in a tightly sealed container. Always let red sauces cool before refrigerating.