I’ve been lucky to have quite a few good influences in my adulthood – all of the bad influences were in high school.
One of the best influences I’ve had in the last couple of years has been our good friend G. I consider him a friend, a mentor, and my go-to nutrition expert (plus he’s married to one of my girls). So much of what I’ve learned about cooking and nutrition have come from his brain (he’s a read-a-holic to say the least).
On our last visit with G, we were talking about canned tomatoes and the dangers of eating too many canned goods (most cans are lined with BPA don’t ya know). So since that discussion I have not bought canned tomatoes (tomatoes and emergency cans of beans were really the only canned goods we bought).
Instead, I’ve been buying fresh tomatoes (organic or not organic, that’s another blog post) and throwing it old school when using tomatoes in a recipe. Yes, there was a time when people didn’t use canned goods at all!
The hardest recipe to work with was my tomato sauce. It used to be so easy: canned tomatoes, onion, garlic, herbs, and voila. I just don’t like that jarred tomato sauce taste ( I know you know what I’m talking about) so we almost always make our own for pizza and spaghetti.
I have come up with a super easy and healthy way to use fresh tomatoes for spaghetti sauce and pizza ( it’s not rocket science but sometimes we just need to be reminded how easy it can be). I’ve added quite a few notes as there are a lot of ways to jazz up this sauce.
6-8 medium-sized plum tomatoes diced (or whatever tomatoes you want to use)
3 cloves of garlic
2-3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 tbsp balsamic vinegar (optional)
Fresh basil and oregano OR dried herbs of your choice
A cup of spinach or kale
Sea salt and pepper to taste (and since you’re not using canned tomatoes you can use lots of salt)
1/2 cup nutritional yeast (the good tasting kind) OPTIONAL
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Grease an 8×8 pan with olive oil. Dice tomatoes and chop garlic. Place in prepared pan. Pour olive oil and balsamic vingear into pan and coat the tomatoes. Add herbs and spinach/kale and toss mixture one more time. Season with salt and pepper. Bake covered for 30 – 40 minutes and check to make sure the tomatoes appear roasted and juicy! Stir in the nutritional yeast when you remove the tomatoes from the oven (it adds a cheesy flavour and a whack of health). Let cool and toss with your preferred gluten-free pasta shape.
If I have any pesto in the fridge I toss some into the pan before putting the tomatoes in the oven.
I roast the tomatoes whenever I get a chance in my toddler/preschooler-filled day. Then I simply reheat when I’m ready to serve dinner. You could easily roast your tomatoes the day or night before too.
I like to roast some veggies to add to my sauce as well. Recently I chopped parsnips, beets, and sweet potato and tossed them with some olive oil, garlic and herbs. Roast at the same temperature as tomatoes for about 40 minutes. Oh my goodness this was a yummy addition to the pasta.
We like to fry onions, garlic and ground tempeh and then add it to the roasted tomatoes for a protein-packed sauce. We crumble a block of tempeh right into the frying pan once the onions and garlic have softened. So good. Season with salt and pepper before adding to the roasted tomatoes.
Sometimes we puree the sauce if we know that Callum isn’t in the mood for a veggie-packed bowl of pasta.
If we want a runnier sauce we add some vegetable broth or gluten-free vegetable stock. Usually just one cup. We always add broth or stock when using ground tempeh.
You can also find this recipe and many more ‘slightly indulgent’ recipes at Simply Sugar and Gluten-Free