Thursday, April 12, 2012

Chunky Vegetable Pasta Sauce

Chunky Vegetable Pasta Sauce

I'll be honest....I really didn't really care for vegetables before I started eating less meat. Actually, I'm not sure if I didn't like them or if it was just that I would generally choose something unhealthy OVER something healthy. It's hard to get in the mood for a zuccini after you've eaten a half a bag of Doritos and a pint of Ben & Jerry's.

Now I am finding lots of new ways to use more vegetables in my recipes....sometimes in interesting new ways. Feel free to use whatever vegetables you like in this recipe and omit any that you don't. Play around with it but keep in mind that some vegetables take a whole lot longer to cook than others so plan accordingly. Finding a good, healthy canned tomato sauce is also key. You'll go through this sauce so fast you'll probably have lots of opportunities to experiment with different sauces!

1 Large Onion, chopped
3 Medium Carrots, diced
1 Green Pepper, diced
1 Yellow Pepper, diced
2 Medium Zuccini, chopped in large chunks
8 oz Mushrooms, sliced
6 Roma Tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1/2 can black olives (low sodium is great) halved
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 Tbsp Fresh Basil
1 tsp Dried Oregano
2 Tbsp Olive Oil (if desired)
1 29 Oz can Tomato Sauce

Start by sauteing the vegetables. You can heat olive oil over medium heat or....for fat free "steaming" saute the vegetables in water or a little vegetable broth. Just keep adding enough liquid to keep things from drying out. I've made this both ways and they are both delicious.

I saute the onion and carrots first for a couple of minutes and then add the peppers and sautee for a couple of minutes more. Then add the zuccini and garlic and saute until the vegetables just start to get a little soft (a couple of minutes more). Now add the mushrooms, tomatos, black olives basil and oregano and stir everything together and saute for a few more minutes. At the end add the can of tomato sauce and reduce heat to simmer and let the sauce simmer for about 30 minutes.

I serve this over whole wheat pasta and freeze some for other uses. Experiement by chopping your vegetables in different sizes. The different textures are interesting in your mouth and you won't even miss the meat in this sauce.

You'll notice I don't add salt to my recipes. Please feel free to add salt to taste if you wish. For cooking at home where we are really watching our sodium intake I will salt the food afterward if I really need it but I have found that I need salt less and less.

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