Cooking for your family can be a difficult task, especially during the weeknights. You want to prepare a meal that is somewhat quick, but also healthy, that both the parents and kids will enjoy. Well, meet the Roasted Vegetable Tomato Sauce. Packed with veggies sweetened by a simple roast and so versatile, a little time and effort on the weekend can cover two to three meals on the weeknights. Use for pizza sauce, over chicken, pasta, bruschetta, etc. Whether dressed up or simple, this sauce’s nutritious ingredients and deep flavors are sure to please both the mind and the palate.
2 Medium Onions
1 Green Bell Pepper (or color of your choice)
3 Medium Carrots
1 Medium Eggplant
1 Small Head of Broccoli
Approximately 3 lbs. Baby Bella Mushrooms
1 28-ounce can of crushed tomatoes (2 can be used if you want a less chunky sauce)
2-3 tbsp. Garlic
Salt and pepper to taste
1-2 tbsp. Mixed Italian Seasoning to taste
¼ cup olive oil
1. Pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees F.
2. Wash off all of your vegetables and set them on some paper towels. Yes, that includes the mushrooms! They will only absorb too much liquid if you soak them, but a quick rinse and scrub under the faucet will do the trick without saturating them.
3. Depending on the size of your sheet pan, you may need just one large or two medium pans. Drizzle each pan with a good amount of olive oil and spread so that it covers the entire bottom (you may use an onion quarter to spread if you want to minimize dishes).
4. Quarter your onions and mushrooms (it is a good idea to have a bowl nearby to place all of the scraps you are trimming off). Cut the eggplant into circles about half an inch to an inch thick. This makes it incredibly easy to then cut them into uniform cubes. Lastly, cut the carrots, green pepper, and broccoli so that all the vegetables are of uniform size (this will promote even roasting).
5. Dump all of your vegetables onto the sheet pan (if working with more than one, make sure to evenly distribute your veggies). Season with salt and pepper to taste (since there are a lot of vegetables, don’t be afraid to put a decent amount of seasoning) and drizzle well with the olive oil. Then carefully toss to make sure everything is coated.
6. Pop the sheet pans in the oven and roast until the vegetables have begun to soften and get some nice caramelization. Don’t even worry about opening the oven to stir for at least the first 20 minutes of baking because color = flavor. Final roasting time will vary depending on the oven and how crowded your sheet pans are, so just be mindful and check every 10 minutes or so after that first stir. All in all, it should take anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour.
7. Once the veggies are roasted to your liking, remove them from the oven and allow to cool slightly while you get out the garlic and open the can of crushed tomatoes.
8. Scrape the sheet pans with a metal spatula to get up all of the yum-yums (i.e. the dark in color pieces of vegetable that got stuck to the bottom of the pan) and carefully transfer the veggies into a food processor. Because of the sheer amount, it would be wise to work in batches.
9. Pour in some of the crushed tomato, as much garlic as you enjoy, and the Italian seasoning to taste (but at least a tablespoon per batch).
10. Blend to desired thickness, let cool a little more, and store in plastic storage or freezer bags (as they take up much less room in the fridge than plastic or glass containers). Since the recipe makes a good amount of sauce, you could even portion and store it in several bags to be used for different meals. Freeze the batches you are not using in the next couple of days and thaw when you need them!
Start with fresh veggies
Assorted veggies give this sauce a nutritious foundation and a rich depth of flavor. If any of the listed veggies in the recipe are not a favorite, feel free to substitute. Summer squash would be a delicious and lighter swap for the eggplant!
Size is key
The key to even roasting is cutting the vegetables to a uniform size. If they are all different sizes, smaller pieces would burn, while the larger pieces would remain raw and crispy. Either extreme does not make for a very pleasant flavor.
In about 45 minutes to an hour, all veggies should be softer and caramelizing nicely. Not to mention your kitchen will also smell amazing! Once they reach this point, they are ready to blend with the garlic, Italian seasoning and the canned tomato sauce.
It is a good idea to work in batches. Once blended to the desired consistency, this sauce can really be used in a variety of dishes, whether as a foundation or the main star.