Sunday, April 23, 2017

Indo-Italian Red Lentil Pasta with Tempeh (No Added Fat)

I have heard of people making curried tomato sauces and found a simple and interesting recipe that I could easily make vegan. It calls for cooking onion, bell pepper, garlic, curry powder, and thyme till vegetables are soft, then adding stewed tomato and simmering for 5m. I thought I'd use fresh tomatoes.

I was thinking of making a rich Indian-Italian inspired tomato sauce and mix in artichoke quarters, but as I got going, I thought that I had a good collection of vegetables and that artichokes wouldn't be properly hilighted. Below is what I came up with.

By the way, a fellow Food for Life instructor, Cathy Katin-Grazzini, shared today a very nice "cheese" sauce recipe that I should try. Her website is a great resource for healthful vegan cooking.

  • 2 cloves garlic, finely (1/8") diced
  • 1 medium shallot, finely (1/8-1/4") diced
  • 3 spring onions cut into 1/2" lengths
  • Medium bell pepper cut into approx. 1/2" squares (about a cup)
  • 3 medium shiitake mushrooms cut into thick 3/8" slices
  • 2 medium tomatoes cut into 3/8" cubes (about 2 1/2 cups)
  • 4T tomato paste
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 1/2 t freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 leaves fresh oregano, finely (1/8") minced
  • 1/2 t turmeric
  • 1/2 t garam masala
  • 1/4 t ground cumin
  1. I put the garlic and shallot into a stainless steel pan and cooked, stirring, on medium high, with no oil or water, for a few minutes till the garlic and shallot was starting to brown.
  2. I then added the spring onion, bell pepper, and mushroom, and cooked for two more minutes, stirring.
  3. I added the tomato, tomato paste, salt, and black pepper, stirred, and simmered for 15m (or longer), uncovered, on low.
  4. I added the remaining spices and oregano, stirred, turned off the heat, and served atop organic red lentil penne, along with tempeh sauteed with no oil on a cast iron pan.


Dinner was good, though my daughter didn't like the sauce. I thought it was a good first try, but I should not have used cumin, the flavor of which wasn't consonant with the rest of the sauce. I knew that it would be a little tricky marrying in a reasonable way very different flavor profiles. I rarely mix Indian spices with Italian herbs.

Ideas for the future

I should try again in making a curry tomato sauce. A pinch of cinnamon may work. I might try cutting the garam masala back and adding a little asafoetida powder, perhaps, as well as a bit of mustard powder. Perhaps a pinch of salt or a tiny bit of maple syrup may work.

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