Penne al Pomodoro with Vegan ‘Tuna’

Penne al Pomodoro with Vegan ‘Tuna’

By
From
Green Kitchen At Home
Serves
4
Photographer
David Frenkiel

By pulsing soaked sunflower seeds with salty capers, onion, oil, apple cider vinegar, lemon and nori sheets in a food processor, you actually get something that looks surprisingly similar to tinned tuna, with a crumbly, moist texture and a flavour that reminds us of salty seas and umami.

You can use the ‘tuna’ as a spread or in a salad (with the addition of celery and fresh herbs) but we like to add it to a tomato sauce and serve it with penne, creating a classic Italian peasant dish. The vegan ‘tuna’ adds a nice texture to the sauce and it improves the flavour, too. The kids love it! It is a simple recipe if you are on a budget and it is a tad more special than your basic pasta al pomodoro. So, go put your sunflower seeds in water and pretend they are a fish!

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient

For the Vegan ‘Tuna’

Quantity Ingredient
1 small red onion, peeled
150g sunflower seeds, soaked in filtered, water for 6 hours, then strained and rinsed
1 raw nori sheet, crushed
3 tablespoons capers, plus brine
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon unfiltered apple cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon sea salt

For the Sugo al Pomodoro

Quantity Ingredient
120ml white wine or vegetable stock
1/2 quantity Big-batch Tomato Sauce

To Serve

Quantity Ingredient
cooked wholegrain or gluten-free pasta of choice
caper berries, drained and rinsed
roughly chopped fresh parsley leaves
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
extra-virgin olive oil

Method

  1. Roughly chop the onion, transfer to a food processor, add the rest of the ingredients and pulse until the texture resembles that of tuna.
  2. Place a large frying pan on a medium-low heat, add the wine and the tomato sauce, bring to the boil, reduce the heat and add the ‘tuna’ (reserving a little bit for serving). Let it simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally so the sauce doesn’t burn. Stir the sauce through the pasta. Serve topped with some caper berries, a sprinkling of parsley and some seasoning. Finish with a drizzle of oil.

Tips

  • The ‘tuna’ can also be prepared in a medium-sized bowl with an immersion (hand) blender or by using a pestle and mortar.

    It’s important to soak the sunflower seeds to achieve the right texture, so don’t skip that step.
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