Monday, May 7, 2012

Quick and Chunky Vegan Pasta Sauce
Quick and Chunky Pasta Sauce

 This Meatless Monday, I want to tell you about some of my favorite pantry staples.  

I, as I tell you all the time, am not a super-organized person.

That makes it all the more important to have some basics on hand for when my elaborate meal planning does not come off as anticipated.  (All the time, in my case!)

So what do I keep in stock for those times when I can't whip up the elaborate casserole that I intended, but still need dinner after baseball practice?

Some, but not all, of my favorites include:

  • canned tomatoes in a variety of formats (diced, paste, sauce, fire-roasted)
  • canned beans (black beans, garbanzo beans, cannellini beans)
  • canned pumpkin
  • canned artichoke hearts
  • a variety of grains (oatmeal, brown rice, quinoa, etc.)
  • spices
  • olive oil and coconut oil
  • pasta (there are a wide range of gluten-free pastas available -- brown rice, quinoa, corn)
  • boxed non-dairy milk alternatives
  • dried cereal (In particular crisp brown rice cereal on its own or as an ingredient)
  • applesauce
  • frozen spinach (Though not technically in my pantry, I always buy it at the store so I'm never out.)

With these ingredients, I can figure something out for breakfast, lunch or dinner.  Obviously, fresh foods play an important role in my kitchen, but sometimes my day gets away from me and I don't get to the store, or I don't have time to make the lovely dishes that populate my imagination.  It is at those times that I am grateful that I have these items on hand.

My husband has been teaching children with autism for 25 years.  He has always focused on helping his kids to find their joy and their true selves.  He brings music and yoga and art into their daily lives, and they form friendships and a sense of community that is truly heart-warming to experience.  I am so fortunate that I get to share this part of his life by cooking with his kids every week.  Last week, we made an easy, chunky, pantry-based pasta sauce that I wasn't sure if they'd like.  They loved it.  Several of them had three servings.  One boy had four!

This Meatless Monday, I thought I'd share this recipe with you so that even if your best plant-based plan doesn't come off due to your hectic day, you can still whip up a quick, nourishing and delicious dinner. 

I shared this with Allergy-friendly Friday, Allergy-friendly Lunchbox Love, Wellness WeekendSlightly Indulgent Tuesdays and Allergy Free Wednesdays.

Quick and Chunky Pasta Sauce
Serves 4


1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large clove of garlic (or 2 small cloves)
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes, drained
salt and pepper to taste


In a medium saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat.
Smash and mince garlic, add to olive oil.
Cook for 30 seconds, add dried spices and stir.  Cook for another 30 seconds or so.
Add drained tomatoes, stir to combine, and simmer for 10 minutes (or longer if you have time).
Serve over pasta, polenta, rice or quinoa. 

Happy Cooking!

Find more tasty recipes in Welcoming Kitchen: 200 Delicious Allergen and Gluten-free Vegan Recipes.

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  1. My plan was to make a veggie based soup for meatless Monday, but I am not sure I will have time before or after baseball practice. You know what I will have time for? This sauce! Thanks for the great idea.

  2. What a delicious simple recipe, with the herbs for added flavor.

  3. Thanks, Eileen! I hope you enjoy it!