Who couldn’t use more recipes packed with produce? This sneaky vegetable tomato sauce may look like an ordinary red sauce, but it’s packed with a bushel of healthy ingredients. To add richness, the recipe starts with olive oil, which I wouldn’t be tempted to omit. Not only does it enhance the flavor, but studies have also shown that your body absorbs nutrients from greens and other vegetables better when they are consumed with a monounsaturated fat.
This sneaky vegetable tomato sauce recipe and photos were shared with us by www.aboutoliveoil.org.
Enjoy this sneaky vegetable tomato sauce on just about any Italian-inspired meal, including easy grilled dairy-fee pizza bread. Simply brush 1/4- to 1/2-inch thick slices of your favorite crusty bread (wheat or gluten-free) witholive oil and season lightly with salt and pepper. Grill the bread until lightly crisp on each side and transfer to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Top each slice with the sneaky vegetable tomato sauce (recipe below), sprinkle with dairy-free cheese alternative sheds (I’m loving Follow Your Heart’s new formula right now), and then add any other toppings desired (fresh herbs, olives, etc.). Bake at 350ºF for about 5 miniutes, or until the cheese alternative is melty (may vary by brand).
And as an added bonus, the olive oil people shared this very cool butter to oil conversion chart! However, if converting for baking, use caution. These conversions may work well in cakes and muffins, but not so well in chewier or flakier baked goods like cookies and bars. In those cases, I use half the amount of oil to butter and add liquid (such as dairy-free milk beverage) as needed to get the right consistency.
Special Diet Notes: Sneaky Vegetable Tomato Sauce
By ingredients, this recipe is dairy-free / non-dairy, egg-free, gluten-free, grain-free, nut-free, peanut-free, soy-free, vegan / plant-based, vegetarian, paleo and generally top food allergy-friendly.
- ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 cups peeled and diced eggplant
- 1 cup minced onion
- 1 cup minced carrot
- 1 cup minced celery
- 2 to 3 garlic cloves, chopped
- 3 quarts canned crushed tomatoes (or fresh tomatoes)
- 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
- 2 tablespoons fresh basil cut in long, thin strips
- 1 to 2 dry bay leaves
- Fine sea salt, to taste
- Black pepper, to taste
- In a large (5-quart or bigger) thick-bottomed pot, heat the extra-virgin olive oil over medium heat. Add the eggplant, onion, carrot, celery and garlic, and sauté gently (not browning the vegetables or garlic) until the vegetables start to become tender.
- Add the tomatoes, herbs and bay leaves. Simmer, uncovered, for about 1 hour.
- Remove the bay leaves.
- Puree the mixture (a stick blender works great) until all vegetables are hidden in the tomato sauce.
- Season the sauce to taste with salt and pepper.
- Refrigerate and use this sauce to make quick meals, such as dairy-free pizzas. Freeze any unused sauce in smaller portions for future use.
Acidity Note: The carrot helps to balance the acidity, but if your tomatoes still taste too acidic in the end sauce, you can add just a little honey or sugar to help neutralize it. Some people prefer to add a pinch of baking soda instead of sweetener, but too much baking soda can lend an acrid taste. Use caution!