A hearty cremini mushroom marinara sauce with a generous helping of fresh basil, garlic, onion, and bell peppers, served with your favorite pasta.
8 roma tomatoes, diced
Large handful of basil, finely chopped
8 garlic cloves, coarsely minced
1 medium-sized onion, diced (I used red onion)
2 bell peppers, diced
1 tsp oregano (I used dried)
1 can/jar tomato paste, about 8 oz (I used Wegman’s organic tomato paste with no added salt)
10-12 mushrooms, sliced (I used cremini mushrooms)
1 tbsp salt
2 cups water, more as needed
2 tbsp olive oil, optional
Pasta of your choice
Sauce serves 5-6 hungry people
So I typically tend to avoid white-flour pastas and go for more nutritious options like whole wheat, lentil, edamame, and black bean pastas. But for this meal, I decided to indulge myself, which is perfectly okay (even necessary) every once in a while!
Feel free to use whatever pasta resonates with you. I used Trader Joe’s organic gigli. The sauce is so banging that it could make cardboard taste delish, though it certainly won’t up the nutrient content friends, so keep that in mind.
I cannot emphasize enough how much I love, love, LOVE herbs and spices. I used roughly 4 oz of basil for this recipe, which for some people may be too much, and for some, too little! If you have fresh oregano readily available, feel free to use that as opposed to dried. As always, it depends on your personal taste preferences, so alter the recipe accordingly.
The cremini mushrooms, which are a fantastic meat substitute, give the sauce its hearty texture and umami flavor.
The sauce takes about 2.5 hours to make, which can seem lengthly, but for an awesome sauce it is totally worth it! Keep in mind that most of the time, your pot will be on simmer. If you’re looking for a quicker sauce, you can always substitute canned crushed or stewed tomatoes and simmer the sauce for about 30-40 minutes.
Direction With A Grain Of Salt
Heat large sauté pan on medium heat. Add 2 tbsp olive oil to pan. If you want to go oil-free, substitute water. Add onions and garlic, and cook for 3-5 minutes. Add oregano and stir frequently for another 3 minutes.
Mix in tomato and basil, stirring occasionally for 5 minutes. Transfer contents to large saucepan if desired, or you can continue cooking in the sauté pan if you prefer less clean up like me.
Add tomato paste and water. Bring contents to a boil and mix thoroughly. Cover pan and let simmer for 30 minutes. Add bell peppers and cover, simmering for another 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add mushrooms and salt, more water if needed to give the sauce the ideal consistency for you. Cover and cook for 45 minutes. Remove lid and let simmer uncovered for 10-15 minutes, to evaporate any excess liquid to allow sauce to thicken.
Serve over the pasta of your choice. Garnish with fresh basil and freshly ground pepper if desired.
Onion – Onions includes high levels of sulfuric compounds, which stimulates the body’s anti-inflammatory processes to promote healing. It also has folate, vitamin C, and fiber and can help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke.
Garlic – Garlic contains manganese, vitamins B6 and C, and selenium. It has incredible medicinal properties including combating illness, reducing blood pressure, lowering LDL cholesterol, and promoting longevity of life.
Bell Pepper – Bell peppers have a high amount of vitamin C, potassium, and carotenoids, and can help improve heart and eye health.
Tomato – Tomatoes are the major dietary source of antioxidant lycopene, a carotenoid which reduces the risk of heart disease and cancer. They also contain vitamin K, vitamin C, potassium, and folate.
Basil – Basil is an anti-inflammatory herb that contains powerful antioxidants. It also has antibacterial properties and high level of magnesium which promotes blood flow.
Oregano – Oregano is a rich source of antioxidants that helps fight damaging effects from free radicals, which can contribute to the development of chronic diseases like cardiovascular disease and cancer. Antioxidants found in oregano can help reduce inflammation. Oregano also has antibacterial properties that can help boost the immune system, and may also protect against some viral illnesses.
Cremini Mushrooms – Creminis are rich in selenium, copper, niacin, pantothenic acid. Selenium is a nutrient that plays a key role in immune function. Niacin assists in carbohydrate, fat, and protein metabolism. Copper is essential in our body’s iron absorption. Pantothenic acid is also known as vitamin B5 and is needed to metabolize protein, fat, and carbohydrates. Cremini mushrooms can help decrease the risk of atherosclerosis, osteoarthritis, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes.
Happy eating folks! And remember, food is art.
“Let food be thy medicine.” – Hippocrates
If you liked this recipe, share with a friend! What are your favorite pastas to use?