Wrinkly peppers and mouldy tomatoes are a sad sight that often lead many of us regrettably steering them towards the compost bin (hint hint compost hint hint). They could have been forgotten in the refrigerator, or perhaps you’re a gardner that has allowed a zucchini to grow too large. A favourite spot of mine to find items such as these, is the discount produce rack that most grocery stores have. Fresh vegetables can be pricey but should never be considered a luxury. If you can find uses for the discount items, fresh produce with hopefully be on the menu more often than not.
Finding ways to use these fairly sad looking vegetables has inspired many to create concepts such as “clean the fridge soup.” While this is always a winner, the summer heat is not inspiring me to snuggle up to a hot bowl of goodness.
I now introduce you to a simple Pasta Sauce recipe that includes many variations and tips, depending on what sort of veggies you plan on saving today.
Tip 1: When making one pot dishes, try to start with the items that take the most amount of time to cook and end with the ones that take the least amount of time. There are always exceptions but this a good general rule.
3 tomatoes diced
2 red/yellow or red peppers diced
1 large or 2 small zucchinis grated
2 cloves of garlic minced (feel free to add more, I do if I don’t have an onion and vice versa)
1 small onion diced
Sugar (can be maple syrup, honey, brown sugar, etc.)
Any variety of dry or fresh herbs
Optional: Serve with grated cheese of any sort you may have on hand!
Heat sauce pan, add oil, add onion.
Cook onion until soft.
Add garlic and zucchini.
Cook until zucchini has reduced to just over half its original amount.
Add tomatoes and peppers.
Cover with lid and simmer until tomatoes become somewhat stewed/reduced and peppers are soft.
Optional: If you have a potato masher, mash down tomatoes and peppers as best you can. If you have an emulsion blender, blitz briefly so it becomes saucy while still maintaining some texture.
Add salt, pepper, sugar, and herbs to taste.
Recommended amounts: 1 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper, 1 tbsp sweeter, a fist full of fresh basil, or a few sprigs of thyme. (Quantities will vary, based on what veggies you add and take away from this recipe, as well your taste) Always start with small amounts and work your way up.
Tip 2: Tomatoes can be very acidic. To combat this sugar is needed. If you are using peppers in your sauce they will add a fair amount of sweetness, but you may still want to add a small amount. I use maple syrup in just about everything, however honey is often a lot sweeter and you can get away with using smaller amounts, making it cheaper in the long run. For this recipe I would start with 1 tbsp of maple syrup or honey, and less if you are using white or brown sugar.
Tip 3: For all you zucchini haters out there, grating it is the perfect way to hide the texture of zucchini while naturally increasing the thickness of your sauce. You can also grate it into curry dishes and other stew like recipes.
Tip 4: Good veggies to add could include, eggplant, swiss chard, or kale.