Vegan Juna Pasta

In this recipe, Rachel Ama creates a tasty, plant-based version of a classic comfort meal: tuna pasta. She replaces the tuna with jackfruit for a dish that's just as delicious (and just as budget-friendly) as the original.

Introduction

Tuna pasta covered in cheese was pretty much the meal that got me through university. I wanted to devise a version of it that evoked the original dish but without using tuna or cheese, so I came up with this recipe, made with jackfruit. It still takes me right back to my uni days but tastes much more delicious! To make it soy-free, simply substitute coconut aminos for the soy sauce.

Serves 4

Ingredients

500g dried spaghetti
For the juna (jackfruit tuna):
1 × 400g tin jackfruit, drained and rinsed
3 tbsp soy sauce (or coconut aminos)
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 tbsp nori flakes
For the tomato sauce:
1 tbsp olive oil
1 red onion, finely diced
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried basil
2 × 400g tins cherry tomatoes
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1–2 tsp maple syrup (optional, for sweetness)
A handful mixed olives, pitted and chopped
A handful capers
salt and black pepper
To serve:
A handful fresh parsley, chopped
A handful Herby Macadamia Crunch (see page 151 of Rachel Ama's Vegan Eats) or a sprinkling of nutritional yeast
4 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

Instructions

First prepare the juna. In a bowl, using cleans hands or a fork, break the jackfruit into small pieces, removing any tough stems, the stir in the soy sauce, lemon juice and nori flakes. Mix well to combine, then cover the bowl with a plate and set aside while you prepare the rest of the dish.

Pour the olive oil into a deep saucepan set over a medium heat, add the red onion and sauté for about 7 minutes until softened. Stir in the garlic, dried oregano and basil and cook for 3–4 minutes, stirring from time to time, then add the tinned tomatoes and balsamic vinegar. Season with salt and pepper, then bring to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Check the flavour and add 1 teaspoon of the maple syrup if needed.

Mix the juna into the tomato sauce with the olives and capers. Bring the sauce back up to the boil, then reduce the heat to low and cook for another 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Taste for seasoning, adding more maple syrup and salt and pepper if needed.

Meanwhile, cook the spaghetti in a saucepan of boiling salted water according to the packet instructions until it is al dente. Drain in a colander and then tip the spaghetti into the pan with the tomato sauce.

Stir the spaghetti into the sauce, then divide between plates or bowls and serve garnished with the parsley, herby macadamia crunch (or nutritional yeast), a grind of pepper and a tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil drizzled over.

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