Saturday, March 10, 2012

Vegetable-Packed Tomato Sauce

Save your odds and ends from your cooking for the month -- mushrooms, bell peppers, eggplant, tomatoes, spinach, greens, pesto, pine nuts, red wine, olives, and so on -- and freeze them for the base of this amazing tomato sauce.

Vegetable-Packed Tomato Sauce
Up to 8 cups vegetable trimmings (from the freezer)
1⁄4 cup olive oil (divided)
2 medium carrots (chopped)
2 ribs of celery (chopped)
1 large white onion (chopped)
1/2 cup white wine
4-6 cups diced tomatoes
1 tube tomato paste
2 tablespoons Italian seasoning
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
1 head of garlic (8-12 cloves, peeled)
Preheat oven to 425°.  Place frozen vegetable trimmings (stems and cores removed) on a 12 x 17 rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with 1/8 cup olive oil. Cook for thirty to forty-five minutes or until the vegetables begin to brown on top. Remove and set aside. Put 1⁄8 cup of olive oil into a large stockpot on medium heat and place chopped carrots, celery, and onions in the pot. Sweat vegetables until onions are translucent. Add Italian seasoning and white wine, vinegar, and sugar and reduce for 5 minutes or until most of the liquid has evaporated. Add diced tomatoes and tomato paste and bring to a simmer. Add the roasted vegetables. Using an immersion blender, blend the sauce until smooth. Add water or stock to adjust the thickness of the sauce. Add sea salt and cracked black pepper to taste. Cook sauce for an hour.


  1. I am making this now and wanted to note first that there is nothing in the directions about the head of garlic. I didn't notice until I got to blending it, so I chopped it up and threw it in then. Is it supposed to go in with the celery, carrots and onion? -KS

  2. I like to add it late in the mix like you did. It's punchier and doesn't get muddied. What vegetables did you add?

  3. I had a bag full of veggies that I was saving for broth, but took everything except for the stems and ends. It was a mix of eggplant, zucchini, red pepper, spinach, carrot, onion, red onion, some tomato and I threw in 3 cloves of garlic to roast with it. It was about 5-6 cups in total (hard to measure some because it was clumpy). After cooking down and adding in the tomatoes and veggies, it was too sweet for my liking, so I added a 28oz can of crushed tomatoes, a bit more salt & pepper and 2T of nutritional yeast and it was perfect. About 2/3c of water was added to get the thickness right for me.

  4. As a note, I think that olives and pesto would make this absolutely perfect and I will be adding either or both to some of the leftovers, as after adding the extra tomatoes, it will be enough for at least 3 whole meals.

  5. i'm a bit confused by the concept of 'odds and ends from cooking'. should i be putting a little bit of pepper, a little bit of eggplant etc aside as I go? Or is this aimed at people who have veggy gluts or get veg boxes so perhaps have a bit more going than they want to cook with? I'm not in the habit of having veg go to waste, so i don't have any spare lying around either!

    are you advocating setting a little aside, a sort of vegetable layaway, from every cooking venture? I could get behind that.