Veggie-Full Sauce

As I have mentioned in recent posts, I am really ready to throw in the winter towel in exchange for some fresh, spring-like dishes. But, with it still miserably cold here in the Northeast, comfort dishes are still a necessity. Once again inspired by the blog world, this time by Renee, I set out to make a slow cooker recipe that combined a little bit of comfort food with lots of healthy vegetables.

vegetables

I gathered a bunch of carrots, green peppers, spinach, and a bit of onion for my sauce. My mom often puts carrots in her spaghetti sauce, and I love the sweetness it adds to the sauce. The other veggies just sort of blended in.

vegetables

I slowly pureed all of the vegetables in my food processer, whipping up the spinach last with some garlic and olive oil creating an almost pesto-like consistency.

grated carrots

Veggie mush! Don’t worry, it all ended up okay Smile As the batches of veggies were pureed, I added them to my slow cooker. Once all of the vegetables were added, I poured in two cans of crushed tomatoes, plus a grind of black pepper, a shake of red pepper flakes, a pinch of basil, and a grind of sea salt.

vegetable puree

I also added a few teaspoons of leftover Tunisian harissa for some smoky spice.

harissa

I set the slow cooker to low and let it get cooking while I prepared several cups of baby portabella mushrooms. I roughly chopped them, then sautéed them on their own in a frying pan to pull out some of the moisture. I did not want watery sauce!

mushrooms

Once the mushrooms were cooked down, I added them to my sauce, which I cooked for six hours on low.

Vegetable tomato sauce

The kitchen smelled amazing. I made sure to check in on the sauce about every hour to make sure it wasn’t burning at the edges. The end result was beautiful and very hearty because of all of the mushrooms and vegetables. My husband had a later than usual night at work, and this was the perfect meal for two different dinner times. I served it over whole wheat rotini, topped with a generous shake of nutritional yeast, a product that I am loving these days.

nutritional yeast

It is full of vitamins and minerals, and with all of the illnesses I have had this winter leaving me feeling lethargic and bleh, I am trying to consume all of the nutrients I can get! Plus it really does taste just like cheese, and it thickened my sauce nicely. Have you tried it?

Do you make spaghetti sauce from scratch? I used to buy jars, but with so many easy recipes out there, I have started making my own and never turned back!

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Tags: carrots, green peppers, nutritional yeast, pasta, spaghetti, spinach, tomato sauce, vegetables, vegetarian recipe, whole wheat pasta

  1. Kathy’s avatar

    Did you know you can get a tube of harissa at russo’s in watertown? it keeps just like the tubes of tomato pesto, if you want one let me know I can snag one and bring it to the next BFB event we will be at together!

    Reply

    1. traveleatlove’s avatar

      I am SO overdue for a trip to Russo’s, and I had no idea they sold harissa. Thank you! If I don’t get there soon, I may take you up on that kind offer :)

      Reply

    2. Justin @JustinCanCook’s avatar

      Yeah… I’ve really got to try incorporating Harissa in a few dishes. This looks like such a great slow-cooker meal. I always make my own tomato sauce, which I’m pretty proud of. I started with Mario Batali’s simple recipe, and have tweaked it here and there.

      Reply

      1. traveleatlove’s avatar

        I love the time you made the butter and onion sauce. Good, simple stuff.

        Reply

      2. Kimmy’s avatar

        That looks like a perfect meal to warm up with AND try to boost your mood. That looks awesome, I’m so trying!

        Reply

      3. Megan’s avatar

        I almost always make my own sauce, but I am known to have a couple jars on hand in situations when I have no desire or energy to cook anything. All those veggies in your sauce sound so good. I am so ready for spring too!

        Reply

      4. Michelle’s avatar

        When I read Renee’s blog post about her pasta sauce, it inspired me to make a “clean out the fridge” version that included Bloody Mary mix. It was SO good! I sometimes rely on jar sauce when I’m in a pinch but I try to make my own usually!

        Reply

      5. Kelly’s avatar

        Wow, this looks amazing and I can only imagine how awesome your house smelled while it was cooking- YUM. I usually buy jars of tomato sauce but it’s definitely just me being lazy. My moms is so much better and she makes it from scratch :)

        Reply

      6. MichellePC’s avatar

        This looks delicious! I love making homemade pesto as a sauce for pasta, or making a simple sauce with grape tomatoes, basil, olive oil, white wine, and garlic. I rarely buy store-bought pasta sauce anymore!

        Reply

      7. MelissaNibbles’s avatar

        Veggie mush looks yummy.

        Reply

      8. alicia’s avatar

        I love making sauce – i could eat pasta most days and not get tired of it! Your sauce looks great! All the veggies make it super-hearty!

        Reply

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