A Feast of Flavonoids … and Much More!
On a cold winter’s night, there’s nothing better than curling up in front of the fireplace with a simple meal and a favorite board game. This Vegetable Bolognese is just the kind of dish for that moment. You can simmer this Sunday-night favorite throughout the afternoon, and be sure to make enough for leftovers. Even without a long simmer, the tasty combination of vegetables, herbs, garlic, and olive oil is a perfectly satisfying meal. Serve it over your favorite pasta or whole grain, or just as is, with a side of crusty bread.
Our Vegetable Bolognese is not only a comfort food, it also bolsters natural immunity and long-term health. Onions are one of the richest sources of a flavonoid called quercetin, which can lower the risk of some cancers. Flavonoids are more concentrated in an onion’s outer layers, so try to peel away as little as possible during prep. Low-temperature cooking helps preserve quercetin’s health-promoting action.
Carrots are bursting with beta-carotene and vitamin C, both of which offer strong antioxidant benefits. Celery and parsley are also rich in vitamin C, and parsley offers volatile oil compounds, including myristicin, which has been shown to inhibit tumor formation. Mushrooms are rich in beta-glucans, excellent for maintaining cardiovascular health, and selenium, important in our antioxidant systems and for DNA repair.
Tomato sauce is rich in the superstar carotenoid lycopene, which protects against a number of cancers and promotes colon and prostate health. Organic varieties of tomato products may boast substantially higher lycopene levels than non-organic. To top it all off, there’s the resveratrol found in red wine, which has been generating exciting early data for its ability to turn off the genes of aging.
Serves 4 to 6
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 large Spanish onions, medium diced
1 large carrot, peeled and medium diced
2 stalks celery, medium diced
5 large white mushrooms, medium diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup parsley, chopped
2 tablespoons rosemary
½ cup burgundy wine
3 cups vegetable stock
1½ cups canned plain tomato sauce
½ teaspoon sea salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
Heat oil in medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, carrot, celery, and ¼ teaspoon of the salt and sauté on low heat, with the lid on, until the onions are translucent, about 6 to 8 minutes. Remove the lid, raise the heat to high, and cook vegetables until caramelized.
Add the mushrooms and continue to sauté until they become lightly caramelized. With the heat still on high, add the garlic, rosemary, and parsley. Cook 3 to 4 minutes, until the garlic is fragrant. Add the wine and continue to simmer, reducing until mixture is dry.
Add vegetable stock and tomato sauce, and simmer for 30 minutes or up to 2 hours. (If you intend to simmer it for a longer time, add an extra ½ cup of stock and keep an eye on it, as it will cook down over time.) Finish with salt, pepper, and olive oil.
Note: The flavors of certain soups and sauces develop over longer cooking times. If time is an issue, partially pureéing the sauce or soup will help to marry the flavors more quickly.