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Alright, it’s week 5 of the Very Veggie Challenge and I am shamelessly considering tomatoes a vegetable for this purpose. However, even if you are being a stickler, this tomato sauce recipe includes lots of legitimate veggie goodness like carrots, onions, peppers and spinach. It is chock full o veggies, which is awesome, healthy and flavorful.

If you are feeling an the fence about this recipe, a friend of mine came  over for dinner the night I made this sauce and was bubbling with excitement over it. Well,my friend is a lovely, bubbly person by nature, but there was extra bubbliness. She informed me that she is extremely picky about tomato sauces, but that this one was incredible. Then she picked up her phone and started sending pictures of the supper to other friends. It’s nice to have a little affirmation once in a while. :)

A note on preparation: the1/2 tsp crushed red pepper adds a nice little bite to the sauce. It’s not overly spicy, just a little kick. However, if you are super sensitive to spicy things, you might want to adjust the amount of crushed red pepper accordingly. Oh yeah, it’s also pretty great with some goat cheese sprinkled on it.

 

 

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Ingredients:

3 lbs plum tomatoes
1 26 oz box or canned chopped tomatoes (I like the brand Pomi)
olive oil
1 1/2 C carrots
1 C bell peppers (or small sweet peppers)
3 large sweet or yellow onions
4 cloves garlic
2 tsp oregano
1/4 – 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
1/2 C red wine
up to 2 tsp sugar
3 – 4 handfuls of spinach
fresh basil, chopped
salt & pepper

 

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Start out by dicing the carrots, peppers, onions and garlic. Then peel, seed and roughly chop the tomatoes.

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Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pot and add the onion. Cook the onion for a few minutes, until it starts to soften, then add the carrots, peppers, garlic and oregano. Season with some salt and pepper and saute for approximately 10 minutes.

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Next, add the both the fresh and boxed tomatoes and the crushed red pepper.  Stir in the wine, cover and cook for about 45 minutes – until the tomatoes are breaking down and everything seems cooked through.

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At this point, remove the lid and taste. If the flavor seems a little flat, start adding the sugar, a little at a time until the flavor has rounded out. Adding sugar cuts the acid taste a little bit and brings out the natural sweetness of the tomatoes. In the height of tomato season this might not be necessary. Stir in the spinach and basil and cook until the leaves are wilted. Alas, the addition of the greens will start to mute the beautiful red sauce, but these are the sacrifices one must occasionally make in life.

Remove the pot from heat and blend the sauce until you like the consistency. There are two ways to go about this: you can carefully transfer the sauce to a blender in batches (be super careful with steam when blending hot things) or run an immersion blender through the sauce in the pot. Taste and season again with salt & pepper, or any of the other herbs you want to add more of. If the sauce is too runny after blending, put it back on the stove and reduce, uncovered, until you’ve reached the desired consistency.

Remove from the heat, toss with some cooked pasta and enjoy! Also, as with many sauces, this is even better the next day once all the ingredients have had time to get to know each other.

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Vegetable Tomato Sauce
 
Ingredients
  • 3 lbs plum tomatoes
  • 1 26 oz box or canned chopped tomatoes (I like the brand Pomi)
  • olive oil
  • 1½ C carrots
  • 1 C bell peppers (or small sweet peppers)
  • 3 large sweet or yellow onions
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2 tsp oregano
  • ¼ - ½ tsp crushed red pepper
  • ½ C red wine
  • up to 2 tsp sugar
  • 3 - 4 handfuls of spinach
  • fresh basil, chopped
  • salt & pepper
Instructions
  1. Start out by dicing the carrots, peppers, onions and garlic. Then peel, seed and roughly chop the tomatoes.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pot and add the onion. Cook the onion for a few minutes, until it starts to soften, then add the carrots, peppers, garlic and oregano. Season with some salt and pepper and saute for approximately 10 minutes.
  3. Next, add the both the fresh and boxed tomatoes and the crushed red pepper. Stir in the wine, cover and cook for about 45 minutes - until the tomatoes are breaking down and everything seems cooked through.
  4. At this point, remove the lid and taste. If the flavor seems a little flat, start adding the sugar, a little at a time until the flavor has rounded out.
  5. Stir in the spinach and basil and cook until the leaves are wilted.
  6. Remove the pot from heat and blend the sauce until you like the consistency.
  7. Taste and season again with salt & pepper, or any of the other herbs you want to add more of. If the sauce is too runny after blending, put it back on the stove and reduce, uncovered, until you've reached the desired consistency.
  8. Remove from the heat, toss with some cooked pasta and enjoy! Also, as with many sauces, this is even better the next day once all the ingredients have had time to get to know each other.
 

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