This is a poor man’s meat sauce: the vegetables are cut smallish to simulate the texture of ground beef. The inspiration for my version comes from a cookbook I’ve had since 1986. I wasn’t happy with a number of my sugo sauces until I started using stewed tomatoes instead of 100% plain crushed tomatoes. Then finally, Chinese-Italian success!
Saute the vegetables in olive oil until soft and fragrant.
Add dried basil and parsley (if using dried) now.
Add the stewed tomatoes and simmer over low heat uncovered until the tomato chunks start to break up. Smash the rest of the tomato chunks with a wooden spoon. You want somewhat chunky but not super chunky.
Add the can of crushed tomatoes, mix well, and simmer over low heat for at least one hour.
Add salt, pepper, a little sugar, butter and parsley (if using fresh). Adjust seasonings until you get that perfect balance between salt and sweet.
You’re ready for pasta.
This sauce freezes well. Half of the sauce was enough for Baked Rigatoni with Ricotta and Parmesan (no recipe for this, yet).
This pasta sauce will be invaluable when your kid turns into a teenager, comes home and announces she has stopped eating meat to save the planet.
Yes, I’m messing with the spice mix. So far I like the changes. Changes from the first version Chickpea and Sweet Potato Steware in bold. In this revision I used dried chickpeas instead of canned. The night before rinse one cup of dried chickpeas with 2-3 changes of water. Then add enough fresh water to cover the beans and soak overnight. (These little guys will approximately double in size so make sure you add enough soaking water). Before cooking, drain well, rinse and toss into a pot. Add enough water to cover, bring to a boil then reduce the heat to simmer. Add some garlic and onion powders and simmer for 1.5 to 2 hours.
Add the onion, garlic, and ginger (fresh if you have some, powder if not) to a soup pot with the olive oil and sauté over medium heat Add the green pepper and saute for another few minutes.
After a few minutes toss in the chili powder, smoked paprika, sweet paprika, cumin, cinnamon, thyme, and red pepper flakes or cayenne. Keep sautéing for another few minutes.
Add the potatoes, tomatoes, carrots and chickpeas to the pot. Pour enough vegetable broth into the pot to cover the ingredients by an inch.
Turn the heat up and bring to a boil. After boiling, turn the heat down to low and simmer for about an hour, lid on partially covered. Stir occasionally. Add more broth/cooking liquid as the stew thickens.
After an hour taste and adjust your seasonings. The amounts of seasonings I used results in a very mild stew.
Serve over rice (or not).
This revision has been sitting in my unpublished drafts for a long time. It was time to revisit, cook and taste again to see if it was worth keeping around. I had a half bag of frozen carrots and a third bag of frozen corn. They got tossed into the pool. The corn is a nice addition, bringing in a little sweetness.
The dried cup of chickpeas makes approximately 3 cups cooked. I used the cooking liquid and less vegetable broth.
I’m flying solo this week. At least I have breakfasts and lunches ready to go.
Sunday is a good Beanday. A day of rest. Maybe a few, but not too many errands. Hang out the rest of the day at home and make a pot of beans for the week.
This morning I was compiling a dried bean inventory so that I wouldn’t buy more of what I already have on hand. My beans are in various containers in the pantry and on the kitchen counter. Some packages of dried beans are unopened. My quick inventory told me I had green split peas, adzuki, black beans, black eyed peas, red and brown lentils, chickpeas, pinto, mayacabo, white beans, and an unidentified variety which I had to research to figure out I had Cranberry beans!
The white beans were stored in a plastic baggie and fearing they may have been in the pantry since the last time I made Wing and Leg Navy Bean Soup I thought I would cook them. After a triple rinse I quick soaked them (rinse, drain, pour boiling water over all and cover for one hour). Drain again, cover with fresh filtered water, a little onion powder, garlic powder, one bay leaf. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to super low, and simmer for several hours.
Now I had a pot of beans before deciding what dish to make. After exhausting the possibilities I decided upon a White Bean and Sweet Potato Stew. My inspiration came from the same source as Spanish Style Lentils. So if you’re a visual learner, here you go:
1/2 tsp smoked paprika and 1/2 tsp regular sweet paprika
freshly ground black pepper and salt to taste
Heat the olive oil in a medium sized stock pot
Add the onion, bell pepper and carrot. Saute until the onion is translucent. Add garlic and both paprika powders. Saute briefly for about a minute.
Add the tomatoes, vinegar and simmer for five minutes. Break up the tomatoes with a wooden spoon. Continue to simmer until the mixture thickens.
Add the beans, sweet potato, and two cups of broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low. Simmer covered for around 30 minutes. Check and stir throughout this process and add more broth to desired thickness and to prevent sticking/burning of the stew.
When the potatoes are tender the stew is done. Season to taste with freshly ground black pepper and salt.
Makes approximately six large servings.
Now I need to figure out what to make with the butternut squash I baked in the oven.
And since I’m feeling lazy today (while giving credit where credit is due) check out either the video or website for ingredients and instructions for the Classic Spanish Lentil Stew, known in Spain as Lentejas.
no red pepper because I didn’t have one in the fridge
only two cloves of garlic plus granulated garlic to taste
1/2 cup canned stewed tomatoes instead of tomato sauce (adds sweetness)
2 carrots instead of one (because I like carrots)
2 bay leaves instead of one
One quart organic vegetable stock instead of five cups (thicker stew, less soupy)
1/2 tsp smoked paprika and 1/2 tsp regular sweet paprika (watch that smokey paprika because it can be quite strong and overpowering)
no added salt
This is an excellent recipe if you are gradually adding vegan dishes into your diet.
There was a head of green cabbage in the fridge that needed to be cooked. So I made a simple saute of cabbage, onions, carrots and garlic then put the entire veggie mix back into the fridge for another day. I spend quite a bit of time being creative with food items in the pantry/freezer/fridge in preparation for massive food shortages in the near future. My WFH coworker likes soup for lunch and I’ve frozen single servings of different soups so we could have different soups together for lunch.
This soup starts with leftover sauteed cabbage. You can always make this soup by starting with a veggie saute if you don’t have leftover cabbage. I always have vegetable broth in the pantry and there were cooked chickpeas in the freezer.
2 cups cooked chickpeas (or one can, drained and rinsed)
Everyone into a small pot
Bring to a boil, then lower heat to simmer.
Simmer for about 30 minutes
Makes about two servings
Salt and pepper to taste. Adjust the quantities of spice to taste also. I tossed in some extra garlic powder because I like garlic. Red pepper flakes or hot sauce if you’re into spicy. Subbing pasta or rice for the chickpeas would work nicely (if you can’t or won’t eat beans). This soup freezes well.
I make black eyed peas once a year for good luck and good leftovers. This year will be different. One of my goals for the year is to make black eyed peas more than once a year.
“What’s all the chopping I hear?”
“I’m making a vegetarian version of my world famous Badass Black Eyed Peas.”
This recipe makes four servings as I suspect I’ll be the only one eating it.
1 T extra virgin olive oil 1 medium sweet onion, diced 3 carrots, scraped and diced 1 large green pepper, diced 2 cloves garlic, minced 1 bay leaf 1 T Mexican oregano 1 tsp apiece cumin, paprika 1-2 cups vegetable broth 1 15 ounce can stewed tomatoes 1 cup black eyed peas (dried) Salt & pepper to taste
Place the dried beans into a bowl large enough to hold the beans when fully plumped up. Rinse the beans with water several times. Fill the bowl with fresh water and soak overnight.
In the morning drain then rinse the beans. Drain again.
In a medium size pot heat the olive oil over medium heat.
Saute the onion, and green pepper until softened about five minutes. Add the garlic and saute another minute.
Add your spices, carrots and saute another minute until aromatic.
Pour the can of stewed tomatoes into the pot. Break up the tomatoes with your stirring spoon.
Add the beans and enough broth to barely cover the beans.
Bring to a boil then reduce the heat to low. Partially cover the pot with a lid and let ‘er go for a couple of hours.
Check the pot and stir occasionally to prevent sticking. Add more broth as the peas cook and the dish thickens.
Salt, pepper, and favorite hot sauce. Season to taste.
Note the process starts the evening before if you’re using dried beans. You can always substitute two cans of black eyed peas, drained and rinsed. If you use canned beans, decrease the cooking time on the stove top to around 30 minutes.
I reduced the quantity of dried beans because I think I’ll be the only one eating these beans. There was sufficient salt in both the canned tomatoes and broth so I felt no need to add any more.