(Feel free to skip the ramble and scroll down to the bottom for the recipe).
One of the things that I miss the most since moving to the island is the plentiful and inexpensive produce that was plentiful on the mainland. We have a few great supermarkets here, but everything is imported and not always fresh, which makes grocery shopping expensive and unpredictable. Sadly, the outdoor produce markets are few and lack variety as well.
Will there be bananas or avocados today? Maybe, maybe not. Let’s pick up some apples for the kids’ snacks…for a dollar a piece. How about this bumpy, gourdlike object that will most likely die a slow death on my counter because I have no idea what to do with it? Perhaps some yellowed and crumbly broccoli that even Velveeta couldn’t salvage?
Let’s just say there has been a significant shortage of fruits and vegetables in our diet since moving here, and I’ve been looking for ways to incorporate the produce that we do consistently have available here.
We can just about always find good watermelon, pineapple, tomatoes, carrots, limes, cabbage, onions, garlic, potatoes, and spinach, (although the spinach is pretty bitter and thus can’t really be eaten as a salad or in a fruit smoothie).
My first thought in this regard was homemade salsa. We love blender salsas and have found a pretty good recipe that is simple to whip up. But unless you are planning on eating it by the spoonful, (which I happen to be doing right now if you count a corn chip as a spoon), salsa can only go so far.
I’ve always been a blender kind of girl, and was thinking about how nice it is to just throw a bunch of stuff we don’t usually like in and blend it into something tasty and healthy. The thought popped into my head, “What about pasta sauce?”
Pasta sauce is so versatile and when made from scratch it’s one of the world’s great wonders. But it’s time consuming. And seriously, peeling tomatoes…
A quick google search brought me to this recipe by Tessa the Domestic Diva and it is wonderful! You will definitely want to visit her site for not only this recipe, but many others as well. Those of you dealing with food allergies will especially love the abundance of allergy-friendly options.
I will share my adapted version of her sauce, based on the ingredients I was able to find and our taste preferences. What I love about it is that you can pack so many vegetables into it while still tasting amazing. And your house will smell like your favorite Italian restaurant while the veggies are roasting.
To save time and money, I tripled this recipe to make 18 servings. I divided the finished sauce into thirds, used a third for dinner that night, stored another third in the fridge for another meal the same week, and froze the final third in a gallon bag in the freezer.
I simmered the finished sauce with a 1/2 pound of ground beef and served it over pasta. And finely chopped cooked cabbage.(Don’t wrinkle your nose at me, I saw that. The cabbage adds bulk and nutrition and it camouflages itself with the pasta. It gives it a kind of Polish vibe. I’ve gotta be creative here.) 😉 I cooked the cabbage with the pasta, and tossed with butter before adding the meat sauce.
This would have been a much prettier picture if I had not mixed the pasta and sauce all together first. I tried to pretty it up with some cheese. #stillnotpretty #hindsight
If you think about it very deeply, the meal was basically salad with some pasta thrown in! We all enjoyed it. Two of my children did not exactly love the cabbage in the pasta. They ate it anyway and were just fine.
So with way too much adieu, here is my version of:
Roasted Vegetable Blender Pasta Sauce (Six Servings)
8-10 Roma tomatoes, roughly chopped
2 carrots chopped into large chunks
1 small chunked onion
Generous handful of fresh leaf spinach to taste
8 cloves garlic
1 bell pepper, chunked
1/4 cup olive oil
3 TBS spaghetti seasoning
Salt to taste
Any other vegetables you would like to add. I am hoping to add zucchini next time.
Toss vegetables, seasonings, and oil together.
Spread on baking sheet and roast at 350 for 45 minutes, until carrots are tender.
Blend all ingredients in blender until smooth.
Serve or store as desired.
I’m looking forward to using this versatile sauce in many different ways in the future.