A Meatless Spaghetti Sauce With a Chopped Sunflower Seed Base
Want a Rich-Tasting Meatless Sauce? Start With Sunflower Seeds
Chopped sunflower seeds make a good substitute for meat in this vegetarian spaghetti sauce
Years ago, while leafing through a vegetarian cookbook, I stumbled across a recipe for spaghetti sauce that suggested using chopped sunflower seeds in place of meat. While doubtful, I tried it and loved it! Once the seeds were chopped and fried with onions, they looked very much like meat and better still, when added to spaghetti sauce, they added a pleasing meat-like consistency.
There’s nothing better than a plateful of noodles, topped with a mouthwatering and tangy sauce. But, how can you cut out harmful fat and cholesterol while still enjoying spaghetti, a traditional dinnertime favorite?
We all know that meat can be high in saturated fat and that animal products contain cholesterol.
A diet that includes seeds is a step in the right direction. You can replace the meat in recipes with plant alternatives, such as sunflower seeds, thus cutting consumption of the wrong kinds of fats and reducing dietary cholesterol.
Protein-rich sunflower seeds can be used as an alternative to ground beef when making spaghetti sauce. As reported in Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, in a November 8, 2005 article entitled "Phytosterol Composition of Nuts and Seeds Commonly Consumed in the United States" sunflower seeds contain important plant compounds (phytosterols) that help to lower blood cholesterol levels.
Because sunflower seeds actually help to lower cholesterol levels, it can be seen why they make such a good meat substitute.
While all this sounds well and good from a health standpoint, let's be honest, meatless sauces may be chock full of good things but ... they may also be lacking in flavor. For someone who has grown up eating meat-based spaghetti sauce, "meatless" may not offer enough satisfaction for the taste buds.
I was happy to discover that chopped sunflower seeds add both flavor and texture to spaghetti sauce and other vegetarian dishes.
This is one of my favorite vegetarian pasta toppings and I hope you enjoy it as much as I have.
A Vegetarian Sauce
Making Meatless Spaghetti Sauce Using Sunflower Seeds
This recipe uses unsalted, toasted sunflower seeds. These should be chopped in a food processor, prior to adding to sauce mixture.
I loosely chop the sunflower seeds. Don't overdo it and turn them into meal.
Meatless Doesn't Have to Mean Tasteless
A vegetarian pasta topping doesn’t necessarily mean a shortage on taste. Sunflower seed spaghetti sauce is easy to make and, best of all, it is rich, thick, and satisfying.
Sunflower Seed Mixture:
When this mixture is browned, it resembles hamburger.
- 1-2 cups of chopped unsalted, toasted sunflower seeds.
- 1 onion, chopped
- Sauté chopped onion in butter or olive oil until browned
- Add in chopped sunflower seeds and stir on low heat until mixture is evenly browned
- Set aside
Seeds Chopped, Fried and Added to Sauce
In a medium to large pot combine:
- 1 14oz. can of tomato sauce
- 1 large can of diced tomatoes
- 1-2 cloves of crushed garlic
- 4 tbsp. basil
- 1-2 tbsp. oregano
- 1 tbsp. marjoram
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp. seasoned salt
- 1/2 tsp. paprika
- 1/4 tsp. taco seasoning
- 3-6 drops of hot sauce
- 1 cup chopped mushrooms
Doesn't This Look Rich?
- Add seed mixture to tomato sauce
- Cook for at least one hour on low heat setting. Stir frequently to prevent seeds from sticking to bottom of pan
- Add the mushrooms and olives 15 minutes before serving pasta sauce.
Additional Ingredients for Vegetarian Spaghetti Sauce:
- Olives-- add 1/2 cup of sliced black olives
- Red Wine--add red wine (to taste) to spaghetti sauce prior to serving
- Parmesan--if you enjoy Parmesan but are worried about the fat, combine equal amounts of Parmesan with ground almonds. The ground almonds will absorb the cheese flavor.
Tasty and Healthful Noodle Topping
Sunflower seed spaghetti sauce is a tasty and healthful noodle topping you can use in place meat-based spaghetti sauce.
© 2013 Athlyn Green