So last night, my plan was to make a seitan (pronounced “say-TAN”) roast with vegan gravy, mashed potatoes, and veggies on the side. Sort of like a mini-Thanksgiving. I prepared the seitan, put it in the oven, but when I fetched my potatoes, I discovered that they were all sprouted and way past their prime. Sigh.
What to eat with the seitan, which was set to finish baking in an hour? How about… pasta! Use the seitan like it’s sausage. But not just any pasta, no… pasta topped with a robust, roasted red pepper tomato sauce. Mmm, mmm… what better way to rescue dinner?
Quick side story… I stopped buying jarred pasta sauce about a year ago when hubs and I decided it would be better if we mostly ate organic foods. Organic pasta sauce is more expensive than the regular kind, and I would usually end up adding my own seasonings to it anyway. Also, because I was cooking for two, I would only need half of the jar of pasta sauce for a meal, and the other half would more often than not turn funky in the fridge before I had the chance to finish it.
Save yourself the heartache.
If you buy the plain, canned tomato sauce (I get a box of organic ones at Costco and they last me a long time), it’s pretty simple and affordable to make a basic pasta sauce. The easiest, fastest method I’ve found (*that still tastes good) is to press a couple of cloves of garlic, sauté in olive oil, add 2 cans of tomato sauce, then simmer and season with salt, pepper, and a pinch of sugar. It’s ready in less than the time it takes to cook your pasta, and it tastes way fresher (and less salty) than the jarred sauce.
(*The reason I say “that still tastes good” is because one time I was super lazy and tried the shortcut of using just garlic powder and Italian seasoning, and it left much to be desired. I even added crushed red pepper and balsamic vinegar to try to elevate it; it was just alright. You really gotta have that fresh garlic.)
This particular sauce kicks it up a notch with the addition of roasted red pepper and sun-dried tomatoes. I roasted my own peppers in the toaster oven, but you could totally use the jarred kind and I wouldn’t judge you.
Serve this roasted red pepper tomato sauce with any shape of pasta that you like…
…I picked corkscrews last night. Just for fun. Stay tuned, I’ll post the seitan roast “sausage” recipe soon (I tell you, it smelled heavenly in the oven!).
- 1/2 small yellow onion, diced
- 2-3 cloves garlic, pressed
- 1-2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- 2 Tbsp. tomato paste
- 2 (15 oz.) cans plain tomato sauce
- 2 Tbsp. sun-dried tomatoes, optional
- 1/2 roasted red bell pepper, jarred or home-roasted (see notes)
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 Tbsp. nutritional yeast, optional
- Pinch sugar, if needed to balance out tartness
- In a medium saucepan, heat olive oil and onions over medium-low heat. Saute for 3-4 minutes until softened and translucent.
- Add garlic; cook for 30 seconds to 1 minute until fragrant. Add tomato paste; stir and cook 1 minute.
- Carefully pour in the tomato sauce and stir. Cover; when it starts to bubble, reduce heat to low. Let simmer 2-3 minutes.
- Carefully transfer the sauce mixture to a blender. Add the sun-dried tomatoes, if using, and roasted red pepper. Blend, starting at low and working up to a medium speed for 20-30 seconds, until you can no longer see any large chunks.
- Transfer sauce back to pan; simmer 1 minute. Season to taste with salt, pepper, nutritional yeast, and sugar (if needed).
- Serve over hot, cooked pasta.
To roast red bell pepper:
Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees or set toaster oven to "Broil/Grill". Line a small baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil.
Cut the bell pepper half in half so that you have 2 quarters. Drizzle olive oil over bell pepper pieces; rub so that they're evenly covered. Place on pan, skin side up.
Roast for 20 minutes or until the skin starts to get charred. Use tongs to transfer bell peppers to a plastic bag (such as a produce bag), tie or seal and let sit for 5-10 minutes. This will steam the peppers and cause the skins to easily peel off.
When cool enough to handle, remove from bag and carefully peel the peppers.