Wait, what? Yes, a vegetarian "meat sauce" that is as “meaty” and satisfying as the real thing.
This recipe comes from Yotam Ottolenghi’s cookbook, Flavor. Like many of his cookbooks, nearly all the recipes are focused on vegetables. Flavor is a celebration of vegetables and is a beautiful thing indeed.
Prepare yo self, this recipe takes sometime and requires few specialty ingredients but overall it’s fairly easy to make and promises a cozy Sunday dinner vibe.
2 carrots, peeled and chopped into large chunks
1 onion, peeled and chopped into large chunks
8 ½ oz oyster mushrooms, roughly chopped
1 ¾ oz dried porcini mushrooms, roughly blitzed *I used 6 regular mushrooms instead
3 cloves garlic, crushed
2-3 plum tomatoes, chopped into large chunks
6 Tbsp olive oil
3 Tbsp miso paste
2 Tbsp rose harissa
3 Tbsp tomato paste
5 Tbsp soy sauce
1 ½ tsp cumin seeds, crushed
¾ cup dried brown or green lentils
¼ cup + 2 Tbsp pearl barley
3 ¼ cup stock (veg or chicken)
7 Tbsp coconut cream *not coconut milk*
1/3 cup red wine
½ cup water
Salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 400F or 190C fan.
Working in batches, put the carrots, onion, mushrooms, garlic, and tomatoes in a food processor and pulse until everything is finely chopped (or very finely chop everything by hand). Empty into a big bowl.
Add the olive oil, miso paste, harissa, tomato paste, soy sauce, and cumin seeds to the bowl and mix very well. Dump the mixture into a 9x13-inch non-stick roasting pan with at least 2 ½ inch sides. Spread out evenly and bake for 40 minutes, stirring half way through, until browned in places and around the edges.
Decrease the oven temp to 375F or 180C fan.
Add lentils, barley, stock, coconut cream, wine, water, ¼ tsp salt and a very generous grind of pepper to the roasting pan. Stir very well, scraping the crispy sides and bottom of pan with a spatula. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and bake for another 40 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for a final 5 minutes. Set aside and rest for 15 minutes, for the sauce to be absorbed a little before serving.