There are few things I love more than a heaping bowl of pasta swimming in a homemade tomato sauce. Couple that with a crusty loaf of bread doused in olive oil, fresh garlic and Parmesan, and I was once in heaven. Since my husband and I have become vegan, we’ve had to alter our pasta nights, but we still find ways to enjoy a decadent Italian feast.
The first time I made my own pasta sauce, I couldn’t believe how amazing it tasted. All this time I’d been buying sauce from jars, spending upwards of $6 to $7 on organic low-sodium concoctions that still tasted too salty and much too sweet. One day, my husband suggested I make my own. I looked at him, perplexed. “From scratch?” Instantly, I envisioned plucking fresh tomatoes from the vine, wearing an apron, and swirling a fat glass of wine in my right hand. “Done,” I said.
The ease of making your own sauce is wonderful. It doesn’t have to take hours (although the longer you cook, the more the flavors will be extracted) and can be made in one pot. As a vegetarian, I find the addition of vegetables, especially portabella mushrooms, zucchini and red pepper provides the desirable meaty texture.
We typically eat quinoa or brown rice pasta, a delicious alternative that tastes even better than regular pasta. However, if grains make you sluggish, especially pasta, consider zucchini pasta. Simply peel zucchini into fat strips and toss with sauce. Low in calories, this fruit (yes, it’s a fruit!) is also packed with fiber and vitamin C and is 95 percent water (making it incredibly hydrating). It’s also a good source of vitamin B6 and is easy on the digestive system.
Homemade Tomato Sauce
1 to 2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil or coconut oil (I prefer olive for pasta sauce)
1/3 cup diced white onion (or dried)
4 garlic cloves, minced
8 vine-ripened tomatoes
1/3 cup red wine (Menage a Trois works wonders with this recipe)
2 jars organic low-sodium tomato paste
1/2 to 1 red bell pepper, diced
2 medium zucchini, peeled
1 portabella, chopped
1/3 cup basil, chopped
Paprika, cayenne, and oregano, to taste
Daiya cheese or nutritional yeast, to taste (optional)
1 box of pasta of your choice like quinoa, mung bean or brown rice pasta (be sure to choose GF if you have a sensitivity)
Or just zucchini, sliced into ribbons
Let’s get started.
1. In a large pan, heat oil. Add a little water, onion, garlic, and spices, and sauté until just tender.
2. Rinse and chop tomatoes and add to pan. Pour in red wine. Cover and let simmer for 10 to 12 minutes or until tomatoes start to reduce.
3. Once tomatoes have reduced, add tomato paste, stirring frequently.
Add veggies, such as bell pepper, portabella, and zucchini and continue cooking. Reduce heat to low and add basil.
4. Boil water for pasta or simply toss sauce and serve with veggies. The zucchini will act as noodles. Top with nutritional yeast or Daiya cheese!
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