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Meatless Meat Sauce

As a vegetarian, it can be hard to find any decent variety of options at chain restaurants.  Fettuccine alfredo?  Maybe when I was 6, but now I try to avoid it.  Pasta with marinara?  Not so exciting.  The kids’ menu might offer a grilled cheese sandwich to give you 3 whole choices.

When I go to a friend or family member’s house for dinner, they often make the effort to accommodate me – which I appreciate – and again, usually in the form of pasta. 

When I decided to cook dinner for my fiance’ the other night, I wasn’t feeling too inspired.  It’s a big hassle to drive with my boot on (taking it on and off several times), so I wanted to make do with what I already had in the refrigerator and pantry.

Pasta it is (was).

I had 3/4 jar of canned sauce left over from a night that I made pizza.  I’m usually a sauce snob, but jarred sauce is so convenient.  So I decided to work with what I had and fancy it up a little.  I saw an episode of Giatta a few years ago where she added red wine and mushrooms to make a pasta sauce that had all of the savory flavor of meat while still being veggie friendly.

I took about 3/4 lb of mushrooms and chopped them very finely, and sauteed them along with 1/4 cup chopped red onion until they were soft.  To add another layer of flavor, I deglazed the pan with about 1/2 cup of red wine and let it (mostly) evaporate before adding in the jarred sauce.     

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From what I had already eaten that day I felt a little fiber-overloaded (TMI?), so I decided to use a tricolor (refined) pasta instead of whole wheat.  It made the dish seem a bit fancier.  After adding the cooked pasta (and 1/4 cup of the pasta water), I stirred in one block of Laughing Cow Light (sundried tomato flavor).  It made it creamy without all the fat. 

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My intended side dish was bruschetta, with roasted red peppers, fresh tomatoes, basil, EVOO, and balsamic.

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Of course I had no decent crusty bread at home either.   Socca to rescue!  Suprised?  Of course not. 

I made the socca like usual but with dried rosemary and oregano (about 1/2 tsp of each).  I cooked it on the stove then topped it with tomato mixture and some crumbled goat cheese.  It baked on a hot pizza stone at 400° for about 8 minutes.

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Tasted like pizza but added some protein to the meal… delish!

Overall it was a satisfying meal.  I only made 1 1/2 cups of pasta so there wasn’t too much leftover, but the fiance’ still got to have a second helping.  He acts like he’s a fan of the socca (doesn’t know there is bean flour involved), but always says he likes whatever I make.  I almost wish he’d be honest, but he says he’s so grateful whenever someone cooks for him that he’s not picky. 

Would you rather get someone’s honest opinion on your cooking, or would you rather they pretend to like your food?

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20 responses to “Meatless Meat Sauce

  1. Jess (In My Healthy Opinion) May 12, 2011 at 1:47 pm

    I hear ya on the lack of vegetarian options; it’s even harder finding vegan options! I’m positive that milk/eggs/dairy slips past in a lot of dishes that I eat out.

    Your sauce looks delicious! And I really think I need to try this socca thing soon – it’s all over the blog world. 🙂

  2. Tiff May 12, 2011 at 2:40 pm

    I always ask for my hubby’s honest opinion on my cooking. If he’s honest about not loving a certain dish, he never has to eat it again. I don’t take offense.

    By the way, you totally have me in the mood for bruschetta now!

  3. vegansunshine May 12, 2011 at 2:46 pm

    Mmm pasta! I am one of those people who pertend like other people’s food is good cause I hate being rude. :/

    Whitney

  4. Shanna, like Banana May 12, 2011 at 3:19 pm

    Yeah I think I’d like to know if people don’t like it…my hubby doesnt’ like everything, but I just call him lame 😉

  5. allieksmith May 12, 2011 at 3:30 pm

    I would def rather have someone tell me an honest opinion of my cooking lol.

    I agree that it is tough to find veg options at restaurants!

  6. Heather May 12, 2011 at 5:26 pm

    My husband never would tell me if he liked my made up meals or not so I told him if he didn’t tell me the truth they were going in the rotation. That finally started getting him to tell the truth. haha

  7. Alyssa May 12, 2011 at 7:02 pm

    first off, PEACHES, I loved your story.

    secondly, I’d definitely prefer brutal honesty. and if they don’t like it, they can cook meals themselves. bam.

  8. Tina @ Faith Fitness Fun May 12, 2011 at 7:11 pm

    My husband is honest and I tend to like it. Although sometimes its annoying because I will love something and can tell he’s just “meh”. It all sounds delicious to me!

  9. hungryhealthyhappy May 12, 2011 at 7:42 pm

    Oh gosh . . . my first instinct would be to say I’d want them to be honest, but I think my feelings would be hurt! I wouldn’t expect a guy to like something like cauliflower pizza crust (which is SO SO good BTW!), but then I probably wouldn’t make that for him either, ya know?

  10. Jenny May 12, 2011 at 9:14 pm

    This looks delicious. Pasta with sauce is always a good choice 🙂 Lucky for me my bf will also eat anything but I can tell if he loved it or it was meh. He won’t be too ecstatic about it 😉

  11. char May 12, 2011 at 10:43 pm

    My hubby (so far) has pretty much liked anything I try. I’m a pretty hard critic on myself, so I’ll always shut down what I make before anyone has a chance to. Maybe I should shut my mouth to find out the truth haha

  12. Katie May 13, 2011 at 1:29 am

    I like a honest opinion and my son is never afraid to say his, lol!!

    I love socca! I need ton make some soon!

    Almost the weekend!! Yay!

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