Ideal for a simple midweek supper, whip up a sea of salty flavour with this Penne al Pomodoro, mixed with juicy vegan ‘tuna’
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. 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!
For the vegan ‘tuna’:
• 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:
• 120ml white wine or vegetable stock
• 1/2 quantity Big-batch Tomato Sauce
• cooked wholegrain or gluten-free pasta of choic
• caper berries, drained and rinsed
• roughly chopped fresh parsley leaves
• sea salt
• freshly ground black pepper
• extra-virgin olive oil
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).
3 Let it simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally so the sauce doesn’t burn. Stir the sauce through the pasta.
4 Serve topped with some caper berries, a sprinkling of parsley and some seasoning. Finish with a drizzle of oil.
Recipe courtesy of David Frenkiel and Luise Vindahl Andersen, extracted from Green Kitchen At Home. Photography @ David Frenkiel.