It’s easy to pick up a jar of marinara sauce at the store, but simple homemade versions of marinara sauce can be ready to go in a half-hour or less. In lieu of the usual ground meat or sausage, this vegetarian sauce recipe adds the texture and flavor of chopped portobello mushrooms.
Get started by using a large, heavy-bottomed pot with a splash of olive oil, to saute 1 heaping cup of diced white onion, 3 chopped portobello mushrooms, 2 large cloves of minced garlic, 1 1/2 tsp of dried basil, 1 1/2 tsp of dried oregano and a couple of bay leaves.
After 7-8 minutes, when the mushrooms are nice and soft, add two 28-ounce cans of crushed tomatoes and an optional pinch of red pepper flakes.
Then add 1/2 to 1 cup of water to the empty cans, and add that "tomato water" to the pot so the sauce doesn't thicken up too much. Simmer the sauce for about 20 minutes.
Plan ahead and cook the pasta so that it's done at the same time. Use any pasta you like, but I think cheese tortellini is a good choice for a vegetarian meal.
***My comments on the meal: I added several things to this recipe. First, I used a 28 ounce can of organic diced tomatoes instead of crushed tomatoes. I also added artichoke hearts (canned in water) and red pepper flakes for some spicy flavor. I do not eat cheese so I put it over whole wheat penne pasta instead of cheese tortellini. It was a great meal and very satisfying.