I’ve had a long standing love affair with chorizo, so when I saw this chorizo ‘bolognese’ by Donna Hay I had to make it. I loved it, but as much as I love fat, it felt a little too fatty for me. Grinding up dry-cured sausages like that also felt a little wasteful. So this seemed like the perfect candidate for veganizing.
Mexican vs Spanish chorizo
As you may know, I’d already worked out a spice mix to make a Mexican chorizo for my chorizo tofu tacos. I’d wager to say that Spanish chorizo is a bit smokier, earthier and headier where Mexican chorizo is a little brighter and lighter on the flavor spectrum. I used this recipe as my Spanish chorizo base.
Inspired by the Lucky Peach mushroom mapo tofu recipe, I used a mix of mushrooms as a base. I used a mix to get some different textures in, as you would find in a dry cured sausage. You can use any mix of mushrooms, as long as there is a little variety in textures.
But then… DISASTER
After I soaked the dried shiitake I got my food processor out, chucked all the shrooms in and turned it on. Except… nothing happened. My food processor is deceased, kaput, a goner. Sad. I had to chop my mushrooms by hand, so the sauce looks a little chunkier in these photos than I’d imagined.
Vegan chorizo pasta sauce
- Large bowl + small plate for soaking shiitake (if using)
- Food processor (optional)
- Large frying pan
- Large saucepan for cooking pasta
- 2.5 oz - 75 g dried shiitake see notes
- 5 oz - 150 g fresh shiitake see notes
- 5 oz - 150 g oyster mushrooms see notes
- 2 T - 30 ml olive oil
- 2 sprigs fresh rosemary leaves only, optional (see notes)
- 1 1/2 t - 7.5 g sweet smoked paprika see notes
- 1 t - 5 g medium (smoked) paprika see notes
- 1/2 t - 2.5 g hot smoked paprika see notes
- 1 t - 5 g dried oregano
- 1/4 t - 1 g dried chili flakes I like chipotle flakes
- 2 cloves garlic crushed and finely chopped
- 1 t - 5 g MSG optional, but it really amps up the umami
- 1 t - 5 g salt
- 1/2 c - 125 ml red wine
- 14 oz - 400 g tinned tomatoes chopped
- 2 T - 30 g brown sugar
- 14 oz - 400 g pasta of choice
- cheese of choice optional, I preferred parmesan over mozzarella
- freshly ground black pepper for finishing
If using dried shiitake
- Put the kettle on, place 2.5 oz - 75 g of dried shiitake in a large bowl, cover with hot water and a small plate to ensure they remain covered and leave to soak for 30 minutes before draining and removing the stalks. Be sure to keep the drained water, because it makes a great foundation for mushroom risotto or soup and keeps well in the freezer.
Make the vegan chorizo pasta sauce
- Place the soaked and drained dried shiitake (stalks removed) in a food processor with 5 oz - 150 g of fresh shiitake and oyster mushrooms and chop until it forms a rough pulp. You can also do this by hand.
- In a large frying pan, heat 2 T - 30 ml of olive oil, add the leaves of 2 sprigs of rosemary and cook for 30 seconds until fragrant. Remove the leaves and set aside.
- Now tip your mushroom pulp into the frying pan along with 1 1/2 t - 7.5. g sweet smoked paprika, 1 t - 5 g medium (smoked paprika), 1/2 t - 2.5 g hot smoked paprika, 1/4 t - 1 g of chili flakes and 2 cloves of chopped garlic along with 1 t - 5 g of MSG and salt. Stir for 5-7 minutes until the mushrooms have browned and most of the moisture has cooked out of the mushrooms.
- Add 1/2 c - 125 ml of red wine and cook for 30 seconds. Now add 14 oz - 400 g of canned and chopped tomatoes and 2 T - 30 g of brown sugar, bring to a simmer and leave to cook on a low heat for 5-6 minutes until the liquid has reduced.
- While this is happened, cook your pasta according to the packet instructions. Be sure to reserve 1/2 c - 125 ml of its cooking liquid when you drain the pasta and stir this through the sauce.
- I prefer to mix in the pasta with the sauce before serving and top with the crisp rosemary leaves, coarsely grated parmesan and freshly ground black pepper, but as far as finishing flourishes go: you do you.
- You can use whatever mushrooms mix you like, all fresh works just as well, just be sure to get some different textures in and end up with roughly the 12.5 oz - 450 g of mushrooms (dried shiitake become heavier once soaked).
- The rosemary really ads an extra depth of flavor, but if you need to skip it no harm no foul.
- The different paprika's really make a difference in this recipe, budget wise if you can't go wild on smoked paprika's I'd invest in smoked sweet paprika and then go non-smoked for the other two (or even skip the hot all together and up the chili flakes instead).
- The alcohol in the red wine will be reduced away in the sauce so this is safe for kids and people that avoid alcohol, that said if you'd prefer to be safe rather than sorry it's fine to skip it.