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Veggie and Herb Tomato Sauce Recipe

If you want a fresh tasty tomato sauce that is just full of veggies and herbs, look at this! Vitamins and minerals abound. It is also filled with garlicky goodness. In fact, this would be the perfect food, if your town was invaded by rampaging vampires. If you don't like a lot of garlic and herbs, adjust the seasonings to your taste.

This is a healthy choice for eating on hot sandwiches when you want an Italian flair. You could even make a pizza quesadilla with this! For a side dish with a sandwich meal, make some pasta. Use shiratake noodles, instead of spaghetti, if you want reduced carbs.

Veggie and Herb Tomato Sauce Recipe

Ingredients:

¼-1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil (I used the Kirkland brand.)
4 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 medium onion, roughly chopped (about 1 ½ cups)
1 bell pepper, roughly chopped (about 1 cup)
2-4 cups diced yellow squash (I used 4 cups.)
2 cups chopped mushrooms
1-2 tablespoons dried basil rubbed between your hands (You may also use fresh, just adjust the amount. I love basil and parsley, so I used the higher amounts.)
2 tablespoons dried parsley rubbed between your hands (You may also use fresh, just adjust the amount.)
3 cans-14.5 ounces each-diced tomatoes (I used Hunt's-2 Basil Oregano Garlic and 1 Fire Roasted Garlic.)
1 can-15 ounces-tomato sauce (I used Contadina.)
1 can-6 ounces-tomato paste (I used Contadina.)
2 tablespoons lemon juice (FRESH lemon juice mellows the sauce out and makes it taste incredibly fresh. You really do not get a lemon vibe from putting the fresh lemon in. DO NOT use bottled lemon; it's not the same.)
2 tablespoons sugar (The sugar cuts the acidity and makes the sauce come together, taste wise. Since this will be a lot of sauce, and by a lot, I mean a LOT, don't worry about a couple of tablespoons of sugar. It won't affect any one serving that much, as far as calories and carbs go. If you leave it out, your sauce just won't taste nearly as good.)


Method:

There's a lot of chopping when a sauce is full of veggies, so I chop as I cook, because doing so saves me time. If you have been cooking long enough to have a good sense of timing, here are directions that will save you time, too. If chopping while you are cooking makes you feel crazy-rushed, just chop everything, keep each veggie separately, and cook it in order. I cut the onions, peppers, and mushrooms into about ¼ to ½ inch pieces. The squash was about ½ to ¾ inch. You can cut your veggies any way that you like them. This is a recipe for you to use your creativity. Play with it!

First I cut the garlic and onion. In a large, heavy pan, like a Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Stir the garlic and onion in and stir it until all of the veggies have been coated in oil. While that is cooking, chop the bell pepper. Every once in a while, stir the onion and garlic around. Cook it for about 5 minutes, give or take, then stir in the bell pepper. Stir it until all of the veggies have been coated in oil, and let it cook for at about 5 minutes, while you chop the mushrooms. Add the mushrooms and let everything cook together for 5 minutes. Rub the dried basil and parsley into the veggies by rubbing the herbs between your palms, one tablespoon at a time. Stir after each addition. Let cook for 5 minutes while you open the tomato cans.

Pour one can of tomatoes in at a time, stirring after each addition. Add ¼ can of water to each empty can. Swirl the water around in the can, getting the residual tomato out of the can, then stir the water into the sauce. Continue cooking over medium heat until the sauce starts to boil, then turn it down to a low simmer.

Cook the sauce for 2 hours, or more if you prefer. Stir occasionally to keep the sauce from sticking. The olive oil helps to keep it from sticking. After two hours, add the lemon and sugar. DO NOT add it before, or your sauce will stick on the bottom of the pan. Cook for 30 more minutes, stirring to check every 5-10 minutes to make sure that it is not sticking. Cool for 15 minutes while you make your sandwiches for dipping or pasta for a side dish.

Sandwich Ideas:

*Add olives and burger to the Veggie and Herb Tomato Sauce and drizzle it in an Italian roll with extra sautéed mushrooms and peppers, sprinkled with a mix of Italian cheeses and baked until it is gooey!
* Eggplant, roasted and mashed then, stuffed into a pita with Veggie and Herb Tomato Sauce.
*Turkey meatballs or turkey sausage heated in Veggie and Herb Tomato Sauce and served on an Italian roll with provolone cheese and extra Veggie and Herb Tomato Sauce. You may also want to garnish this with slivered onions and thinly sliced dill pickles. I know it sounds strange, but it tastes great!
*Eggplant or squash slices (about ¼ inch thick) brushed on both sides with olive oil and roasted in a 400 degree F. oven until the vegetable slices are soft. Cover each of the roasted vegetables with a cheese slice, then serve them on buns with Veggie and Herb Tomato Sauce.

This Veggie and Herb Tomato Sauce can be used as a dip for grilled cheese sandwiches, pastrami sandwiches, or chicken sandwiches. You can also use it on hot sandwiches for Meatless Monday.


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