This quinoa spaghetti sauce provides all the heartiness of a meat-based spaghetti sauce without the meat. It makes a great healthy, vegan substitute!
You will need:
- three stalks of celery
- one bell pepper (any colour)
- 1/2 medium onion (I prefer spanish)
- three medium carrots
- three cloves of garlic
- one zucchini
- one can tomato paste (156mL)
- one can diced tomatoes (796mL)
- dried quinoa
- basil, oregano, salt, pepper, thyme, bay leaf
- brown sugar
- red wine
- soy sauce
- vegetable oil
- dry pasta / pasta substitute
This recipe will feed about 4-6, or can be made for fewer people and easily frozen.
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Step 1: Compile Ingredients and Chop Vegetables
Chop up your vegetables and feel free to add or omit depending on your preferences. Mince the garlic cloves.
Step 2: Stir Fry the Vegetables to Soften
Add 1-2 tbsp vegetable oil to a frying pan or wok and stir fry the vegetables on medium for 10-15 minutes, until tender. You could skip this step if you intend to leave the crock pot on all day, but I was hungry so used this to speed up the process.
Once softened you could use a food processor / blender if you prefer a smoother sauce, but I like it chunkier.
Step 3: Add Ingredients to Crock Pot
Add the tomato paste and canned tomatoes to the crock pot and add the spices and flavouring. Mix well.
Spices and flavour:
- 1 tbsp dried basil
- 1 tbsp oregano
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
- 1 tsp thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/4 cup red wine
- 2 tsp brown sugar
- dash of soy sauce
Now add the stir fried softened veggies and stir them in. Turn the crock pot on to high and let stew for about 2-3 hours. Continue checking and stirring periodically to make sure enough liquid is in the pot to prevent burning. Add small amounts of water if necessary.
Step 4: Add Quinoa to Crock Pot
Add 1/2 cup of dried quinoa to the crock pot about 30 minutes prior to removing from the crock pot. The quinoa will expand in the fluid of the sauce but not over cook and keep it's texture. Stir well. Alternatively, you could cook the quinoa separately and add at the end.
Let stew for 30 minutes after adding the quinoa. Test it's doneness with a piece of carrot from the sauce - it should nice and soft.
Step 5: Make Pasta or Pasta Substitute and Enjoy!
Cook your preferred type of pasta according to directions and add it to your pasta, garnish with fresh basil if you're feeling fancy. This recipe pairs nicely with a simple salad with balsamic dressing.
If you don't eat pasta, this sauce is delicious on a bed of spinach or spaghetti squash which makes for a great gluten-free alternative.