I’m sitting at the dining room table. The sun is shining through the windows and the sky is a crisp Fall blue. The leaves on the trees are a mixture or red and orange, and there is a slight chill in the air. I breath in deeply and take a bite of piping hot spaghetti and am transported back to winter in Miami as a kids sitting happily at the kitchen table.
I have been working on my bolognaise recipe for over 15 years and it finally tastes like my mom’s spaghetti. Ironically, I managed to nail it down with a few new products that I tried from our local organic grocery store – AND it’s vegan – the original recipe is meat based! So, not just 1 high five to myself, but 2!
Four years ago I decided to go vegan and in January of this year we decided to go all organic which was a harder step for us to take since organic foods are more expensive. However, it has been well worth the change. We have no more stomach aches or acid reflux from pesticide-laden foods or hidden additives that don’t need to be declared. What we have learned in the process is to buy only seasonal produce. We were already buying local before the change, but we don’t, for example buy tomatoes in Winter even if they are grown in a German greenhouse. They are more expensive than cabbage and kale and just don’t taste as good without all that Summer sunshine. Another thing we have learned is to avoid processed foods. We thought we did this before, but didn’t realize how many cans of beans we went through in a week.
So, to tie this to the bolognaise sauce – I have been eyeing ground freeze dried sunflower seeds (a processed product) at our local organic grocery store for a while. My niece recommended it to me, but I just didn’t have the heart to try it until this week when I had such a rare craving for spaghetti. I have to say that it’s a pretty impressive product. I am still going to stick to buying processed foods on rare occasions, but this is a great ground meat replacement.
For that special occasion:
3 Tablespoons Sunflower Oil
2 small yellow Onions, diced
2 gloves Garlic, finely grated
3 Celery Stalks, sliced
100 grams Brown Mushrooms, sliced
76 grams ground freeze dried Sunflower Seeds
1 Tablespoon Basil
2 teaspoons Oregano
1 teaspoon Marjoram
1/2 teaspoon Pepper
1 pinch Thyme
1 small Pinch ground Rosemary
1 Liter Tomato Püree
1 Cup Water
Salt, to taste
500 grams Spaghetti
Set a pot of water to heat up to a boil. In the meantime, prepare the sauce.
Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Sauté onions until clear. Add celery and sauté until it begins to soften. Add garlic and mushrooms and sauté until mushrooms begin to soften.
Pour the freeze dried ground sunflower seeds into a bowl and add a little bit of water at a time until they feel moist and no longer hard. Add ground sunflower seeds to vegetable mixture as well as basil, oregano, marjoram, pepper, thyme, and rosemary. Mix it up a bit to activate flavors. Add tomato purée and clean out the jar with a bit of water – add this water to the sauce – it’s about a cup. Give it a good stir and bring the sauce to a simmer. Turn the heat to medium-low and put a lid on it.
At this point the water for the spaghetti should be boiling. Add about 2 tablespoons of salt and allow the water to return to a boil. Add the spaghetti and let it boil for 2 minutes, the turn off the heat completely and put a lid on the noodles. Let them sit covered for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes they should be perfectly al dente. Pour out the spaghetti into a strainer and then return to pot to keep warm.
Taste the spaghetti sauce and adjust salt and pepper to your liking. Serve and enjoy!