Veggie Loaded Pasta Sauce

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I stopped buying store bought pasta sauce a few years ago and instead buy crushed tomatoes. I did this for a few reasons. 1) It’s crazy expensive considering how much you get. Jarred pasta sauce costs almost $2 a jar for 24 oz, a can of crushed tomatoes costs $0.88 for 28 oz. 2) Store bought is significantly higher in sodium, sugar, carbs, and calories. Jar sauce tends to have about 480 mg of sodium (compared to 110 mg), 9g of sugar (compared to 2g), 13g of carbs (compared to 5g), and 88 calories per 1/2 cup (compared to 50 for crushed tomatoes). This obviously will vary from brand to brand. 3) I mostly stopped buying it because I find store bought too sweet and didn’t really enjoy it. Also, I’m cheap and don’t like to spend extra money.

Now obviously, you can also use fresh tomatoes to make your own pasta sauce. Frankly you won’t see that on this blog. No time for that in this household. I say that. I may take it back. We have a garden going right now. My tomatoes are just starting to get red. I feel like they will all probably turn red at the same time. I’ve got salsa planned, tomato sandwiches, some baby food for my 6 month old, and I’ll cook with some. If I still have some left over, I may have to make my own sauce. So exception there.

Anyways, on rushed night, I often heat crushed tomatoes, add some seasoning, spinach and mushrooms and throw it over some cooked pasta. In my mind, pasta nights are generally meant to be fast, easy, and satisfying for the whole family. The sauce can be adapted to what you have on hand. Which is what inspired this sauce, I had a bunch of garden veggies to use up.

Tomatoes, zucchini and yellow squash are from our garden.

Start by dicing up 1 zucchini, 1 yellow squash, 1/2 an onion, and 4 cherry/grape tomatoes. Place these right into a large sauce pot. Add 1 tsp of garlic and a dollop of olive oil or oil of your choice. Sorry, I don’t tend to measure my oil when sauteing.

Saute the veggies for about 10 minutes until the zucchini and yellow squash have softened. Pour a 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes in with the veggies. Also, add in a 15 oz can of diced tomatoes, 1/2 a cup of vegetable broth, 1 tbsp of tomato paste, 1/2 tsp of salt (optional), and add a couple handfuls of frozen spinach

Didn’t measure exact amount of spinach. This was about 2 1/2 handfuls.

Let the sauce continue to simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to mix in the spinach as it defrosts. Once the spinach is defrosted and mixed into the sauce, add 1 tbsp of nutritional yeast and 1 tbsp parmesan cheese. Serve over your choice of pasta. This makes a large quantity of sauce so you may want to make extra pasta for left overs.

Veggie Loaded Pasta Sauce

Ingredients:

  • 1 zucchini
  • 1 yellow squash
  • 4 cherry/grape tomatoes
  • 1/2 an onion
  • 1 tsp garlic
  • Olive oil
  • 1/2 cup of vegetable broth
  • 28 oz crushed tomatoes
  • 15 oz diced tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • frozen spinach
  • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 tbsp parmesan
  • pasta of your choice (cooked)

Instructions:

  1. Begin by dicing up your veggies and placing them in a large sauce pot. Add a dollop of olive oil and saute for about 10 minutes until the zucchini and yellow squash have softened.
  2. Add 1/2 a cup of vegetable broth, 28 oz crushed tomatoes, 15 oz of diced tomatoes, 1 tbsp tomato paste and 1/2 tsp (optional) salt. Stir and let simmer for 5-10 more minutes.
  3. Add a few (2-3) handfuls of frozen spinach to the sauce. Let this simmer while stirring occasionally as spinach defrosts. Once the spinach has mixed throughly, add 1 tbsp nutritional yeast and 1 tbsp parmesan cheese.
  4. Once your pasta of choice is finished cooking, serve and enjoy!

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