- 1 cup textured vegetable protein (TVP)
- 1 cup boiling water
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 cups mushrooms, finely chopped
- 1 large carrot, finely diced
- 2 celery stalks, finely diced
- 1 can (28 oz.) crushed tomatoes
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp dried basil
- 1/2 tsp dried thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1/4 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
- 1/4 cup red wine (optional)
- 2 tsp sugar or a natural sweetener (optional)
- Hydrate the TVP: In a bowl, pour the boiling water over the TVP and let it sit for about 5-7 minutes or until fully hydrated. Once hydrated, drain off any excess water.
- Sauté the Base: In a large pot or saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the finely chopped onion, and sauté until translucent. Add the garlic and sauté for another minute.
- Add the Veggies: Incorporate the finely chopped mushrooms, diced carrot, and celery to the pot. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables have softened and reduced in size, about 10 minutes.
- Seasoning and Tomatoes: Stir in the tomato paste, cooking it with the veggies for 2 minutes. Then, add the crushed tomatoes, oregano, basil, thyme, and bay leaf. If using, add the red wine for depth of flavor. Season with salt and pepper.
- Add the TVP: Fold in the hydrated TVP into the sauce, ensuring it’s well distributed.
- Simmer: Reduce heat to low, cover, and let the sauce simmer for at least 20-30 minutes. This allows the flavors to meld and deepen. If the sauce becomes too thick, you can add a little water or vegetable broth to achieve your desired consistency.
- Finishing Touches: Check for seasoning, adding more salt or pepper if needed. If the sauce is too acidic, you can stir in sugar or a natural sweetener to balance it out. Finally, stir in the fresh parsley.
- Serve: Pour the meatless spaghetti sauce over cooked spaghetti or your favorite pasta. Sprinkle with vegan or regular grated Parmesan cheese and some more fresh parsley if desired.
- This sauce can be made ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator for 3-4 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
- For added texture and nutrients, consider adding other vegetables such as bell peppers or zucchini.
- If you don’t have TVP on hand, you can substitute with lentils or finely chopped tofu for a similar texture.
Enjoy your meal knowing that you’re getting a hearty, meaty texture without the meat! This sauce is perfect for those transitioning into a vegetarian diet or just wanting a delicious and healthier alternative.