This chickpea bolognese is a hearty, rich tomato sauce that will add so much flavor and bite to your pasta, or anything else you top it on. The chickpeas provide the perfect consistency and texture, and are such a great meat substitute because they are tasty, high in protein, fiber, and other nutrients. Unlike many of my other sauces, this one doesn’t require any fresh tomatoes. The nature of it is meant to be thick, so I used canned tomatoes and paste. A scoop of this goes a long way. And, you may be able to fool a carnivore or two with this sauce, or at least show them how delicious and cheap using plant based foods is as an alternative. What I also love about this dish is that it’s twice as filling, given the nature of the chickpeas and the tartness of the tomato. A great meal for kids, but also beautiful enough for adults, dinner parties, and at home solo.
Yields: 4-6 cups sauce
- 1 box pasta
- 1 15.5oz can chickpeas
- 1 6oz can tomato paste
- 1 28oz can ground tomatoes (if you want more volume, add 2 cans, but it will be different)
- 3/4-1 cup leftover pasta water (after straining pasta, save the water)
- 2 handfuls basil
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tbsp maple syrup or sugar
- 1 tbsp salt and pepper
- 1-2 tsp cayenne
- chopped basil for garnish
- optional; handful of fresh, raw string beans for topping
Place all the ingredients, except for the pasta water, in the food processor and blend on low to medium, depending on how chunky you like it.
Move the contents to a hot skillet or sauce pan and let it simmer on medium heat for up to an hour, cover it with a lid, constantly stirring and checking on it. If it's bubbling wildly lower the heat and keep it covered until it only has a slow bubble. Add the pasta water the moment you have it and as soon as possible. If you are not making pasta with this, just add regular water. If the sauce is too thick for you, add more water, a half cup at a time, until it's how you like it. It will thicken as it's simmering.
Once the sauce has mellowed out and lowered in acidity, taken on some orange tones, it will be ready. This could take a while, but taste it until you find it's robust, yet smooth.
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