We all love this delicious plant-based take on this Italian classic for several reasons – it’s tasty, reliable and simple to make. Serve it with your choice of pasta or use to layer up in a lasagne. We always make a double batch to ensure there’s some for our freezer stash, making it perfect for those busy days when you can’t face the kitchen but need a reassuringly comforting dish of food.
1 large leek, finely sliced
1 stick celery, finely chopped
1 red onion, finely sliced & chopped
2 carrots, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, crushed and chopped
1 sweet red pepper, chopped
500g mushrooms, pulsed in a food processor
2 tablespoons tomato puree
2 x 400g tins of chopped tomatoes
10 fresh cherry tomatoes, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon vegan Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon miso paste
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon Italian mixed dried herbs
1 bay leaf
Pinch of salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
Serve with spaghetti or favourite pasta
Pour a tablespoon of oil into a large heavy-bottomed pan (with a lid). Once the oil is hot add the leeks, celery, carrots and onion and cook for a good 10 minutes until the vegetables begin to soften. Then add the garlic and sweet red pepper, stir, and continue to cook gently.
Meanwhile add the mushrooms to a food processor and pulse together until they become small pieces, but not a paste as they need to retain a little bite. Add the pulsed mushrooms to the pan and combine with the vegetables. Now add the tomato puree, stir and allow it to cook through the mixture for a few minutes.
Add the tinned tomatoes, the cherry tomatoes, vegan Worcestershire sauce, miso paste, balsamic vinegar, herbs, bay leaf, salt and pepper. Stir and bring to the boil, then turn down to a simmer, place the lid on, leaving it slightly ajar, and continue to cook for about 1 hour. Stir occasionally.
Serve with spaghetti or your favourite pasta.
Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days or freeze.