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Veggie Pasta Sauce

Veggie-pasta-sauce

How can you get more vegetables on the table and into your family? Chef Robin does NOT believe in disguising foods (like hiding the spinach in a brownie), but thinks you can add healthy vegetables to foods your family already loves. You can make this delicious pasta sauce using the same base and incorporating different vegetables depending on what your family loves.

This recipe is healthier and much less expensive than ready-made sauce. If you read the ingredients list from a bottle of sauce, look for the salt (sodium) and sugar (4 grams equals a teaspoon) and see how much there is per serving. Additionally, both of these sauces freeze well. Make a double batch and freeze half for later!

Ingredients

  • 1 big onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 carrot, peeled and sliced very thin in circles
  • 2 Tbsp. canola or olive oil
  • 1 (28 oz.) can low salt whole or chopped tomatoes
  • 6 basil leaves, washed and dried
  • Grated cheese (Parmesan, Romano or Grana Padano), to taste

EGGPLANT VERSION

  • 1 medium eggplant
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

ZUCCHINI-MUSHROOM VERSION

  • 1 small zucchini, peeled and cut into very small chunks
  • 1 small summer squash, peeled and cut into very small chunks
  • 10 oz. fresh mushrooms, washed and sliced thin
  • 3 Tbsp. canola or olive oil

Instructions

  1. In a saucepan with the lid on, over low heat cook the onion, carrots and garlic with the oil until tender, about fifteen minutes. (The carrots add sweetness to your sauce.)
  2. Add tomatoes to saucepan. Simmer on low for ten or fifteen minutes.
  3. Add vegetables for flavor:EGGPLANT: Scrub the skin. Cut into 1/2 inch cubes. Toss with oil and salt and pepper. (If you have time, a good way to reduce bitterness in eggplant is to take the small cut pieces, salt liberally, put in a colander, weigh the whole thing down with a bag of water, wait forty minutes, then rinse the salt off, dry on a dish towel, and proceed with your recipe.) Put onto lightly oiled cookie sheet, in 400 degree oven for ten minutes. Using a large flat spatula, turn over all the cubes. Put back in oven and cook for another ten or fifteen minutes. The eggplant is done when it feels tender when pierced with a fork.  Add cooked eggplant cubes to homemade tomato sauce. Simmer for another fifteen minutes. This sauce will deepen its flavor after 24 hours.ZUCCHINI MUSHROOM: Put all veggies in pan. Put lid on and cook on low for twenty to twenty five  minutes.  Stir every five minutes. Poke a fork into a piece of squash to test for doneness. It should be tender. Add to homemade tomato sauce and simmer for ten minutes.
  4. Roll the basil leaves up lengthwise. Chop fine into long strips. Put into tomato sauce right before serving. Serve with grated cheese (Parmesan, Romano or Grana Padano).
  5. If the sauce is too thin, either cook it down (simmer until more water evaporates) OR put a heaping tablespoon of tomato paste into it. You can put the rest of the tomato paste into a small plastic bag and freeze for later.

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