Monday, August 12, 2013

Hearty Garden Vegetable Tomato Sauce

Well, the tomato plants are still producing fruit like crazy. So what do you do when you have more tomatoes than you could possibly ever eat?! You cook those tomatoes down into sauce... and freeze it in small batches! Then when you need some tomato sauce, you just thaw it out. SO EASY! You can use the tomato sauce with pasta, meatballs or sausage, use it in a lasagna, or on a pizza, use it for a batch of chili or minestrone soup, or make an enchilada or barbecue sauce. Since tomato sauce is a base for so many different dishes, it's great to have pre-made batches of it around!

Unlike my recipe for Slow Cooker Tomato Sauce (which is only tomatoes), this Garden Vegetable Tomato Sauce is loaded with other fresh vegetables. The addition of the other vegetables naturally sweetens the tomato sauce and helps balance out the acidity level. This tomato sauce is super hearty and healthy!!

Garden Vegetable Tomato Sauce

5-6 pounds of tomatoes, chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
1 yellow onion, roughly chopped
2 green bell peppers, roughly chopped
1 (1 lb.) bag of carrots, roughly chopped
2 cups celery, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1 tbsp. dry basil
1 1/2 tsp. dry oregano
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Coat the bottom of a large (4 quart) stockpot with olive oil. Turn heat to low, then begin adding chopped tomatoes to stockpot.

Stir tomatoes occasionally while adding the rest of the ingredients. Place lid on stockpot and let simmer for 2-3 hours.

Check that vegetables are cooked down and soft, then use an emulsifier or hand blender to puree to desired texture.

Allow to sauce to cool. Store in air-tight freezer containers.

Can't wait to try out some new recipes with this tomato sauce!! Maybe I'll have to make a batch of spaghetti and meatballs..... YUM.


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