Talk about a fresh dish for a warm summer evening. You will feel healthy after eating this sauce - trust me. All of the ingredients for this sauce came straight from the farmer's market and their colors - and flavors - burst out of the sauce. I recently discovered my food processor buried in the basement, kept in storage during my year away in Swaziland, and - feeling inspired - I used it to grate all of the vegetables that went into this sauce, making it more uniformly delicious with every bite. I also used only minimal spices so as not to overwhelm the natural freshness and flavors of the veggies. This became a rather dry sauce, as I let most of the liquid boil off of it, and it ended up with the consistency of a very thick pesto more than anything else (which I enjoyed). Keep it covered if you want it to be soupier. But have faith. Let it do its thing. Let it simmer away and voila - a beautiful sauce will emerge, one that is slightly sweet from the carrots, a bit tart from the tomatoes, and all around delicious.
Fresh Summer Vegetable Marinara Sauce
1/2 white onion
1 large carrot
3 cloves garlic, minced
5 juicy and ripe tomatoes
4 stalks bitter greens (kale, turnip greens, spinach, etc.)
1/2 red bell pepper
1 tbsp. olive oil (or less if you can get away with it)
Handful of fresh basil, chopped, or 1/2 tsp. dried basil
1/4 tsp. dried oregano
1 - 2 splashes of gluten-free balsamic vinegar to taste (I used Trader Joe's brand)
Salt and Pepper to taste
Prepare your favorite pasta as directed (I used Tinkyada Whole Grain Spaghetti Noodles).
Cut the carrots and onion into large chunks and feed into the food processor to grate (or, if you don't have one, grate them by hand). Grate the bell pepper and set aside. Heat the olive oil in your pan and add the carrots and onion; stir to coat well. Cook over medium heat for about 5 - 7 minutes. After about 2 minutes, add the minced garlic and stir.
Meanwhile, cut the tomatoes into large chunks and place directly into the food processor. Blitz them a few times until you have a chunky sauce, and add this to the carrot and onion mixture. Rinsing out your food processor between batches, chop the bitter greens the same way.
If you are using fresh basil, chop it into rough pieces and add them to the pot, along with the oregano, salt, and pepper. Add one splash of balsamic vinegar to taste, and taste it again after about 2 minutes. Add some more if you feel it needs it.
Continue to cook over medium-low heat, uncovered, for about 5 - 7 more minutes, or until you are happy with the taste and/or your pasta is done.
Serve over your favorite pasta and top with Vegan Parmesan Cheese or Daiya Vegan Cheese, if desired.
Suggestions for using leftovers:
-Place a corn tortilla on a nonstick pan and spread half with the marinara sauce and half with Daiya Vegan Cheese. Cook until cheese is melted, then fold and enjoy!
-Mix with shredded turkey or chicken and eat over a bed of lettuce as a salad or in a sandwich.