This recipe is fresh and delicious. It captures the last flavors of summer and makes a wonder satisfying meal when added to your favorite pasta noodles. An let me just say, this is just a guideline. If you have a veggie in the bottom of the fridge you need to use up, please, feel free to improvise!
To make this recipe you will need:
- 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
- 2-3 cloves of garlic, minced or crushed
- 1 bell pepper, color of your choice, chopped
- 1 medium eggplant, chopped ( do not peel the eggplant for firmer texture and better flavor, plus the purple skin is full of wonderful antioxidants)
- approx. 2 cups chopped baby portobello mushrooms ( you can also use white button mushrooms if that is what you have)
- 1 medium yellow summer squash, chopped
- 1 jar of pre-made marinara sauce
- 1 tsp Italian seasoning
- fresh parsley
- fresh basil
- black pepper
First, I sauteed the onions, bell pepper and garlic in some expeller pressed coconut oil
Then I cut up these beauties. I put them in the pan in the following order: eggplant, summer squash, mushrooms. I left the fresh parsley and basil for later.
You can use any mushrooms that you have or like. I used baby bella/ crimini.
Feel free to add zucchini or some chopped carrots. If you add carrots, saute them with the onion, garlic and pepper.
I have learned that if you wash the mushroom with water before you put them in a sauce, they will release their juices and flavor in the sauce more easily.
I cut up the eggplant in about 1/2 inch cubes. This helped it to cook faster and gave the sauce a more uniform texture when it was done. The eggplant will soften and the pieces shrink a little bit. I really liked that all the veggies I used cook pretty fast. I did not let them soften completely because they still have to simmer with the tomato sauce a little bit. You don't want them to become a tasteless mush. I wanted texture, so I stopped cooking the veggies right before they crossed the line between raw and cooked.
I added a jar of our favorite marinara sauce. I did not take a picture of that , since we all have our favorite brand of sauce. If you make your own sauce, use that by all means. Fresh grown tomatoes are so precious for us in Colorado, that we tend to enjoy them while we can and I dare not sacrifice any for making a sauce.
I added my dry herbs, salt and pepper, at this stage of cooking. I used Italian seasoning which is a mix of oregano, rosemary, thyme , marjoram, basil, and sage. It is perfect for tomato dishes.
I let the sauce simmer for about 10-15 minutes on very low heat. I just wanted all the flavors to mingle and the vegetables to finish coking.
After the sauce was done I turned off the heat and added my fresh herbs - flat leaf parsley and basil. I chopped them pretty fine and stirred them in the sauce. I did not let them cook. The sauce was hot enough to infuse with the flavors of the fresh herbs without taking away their vibrant color.
I like to use flat leaf parsley in dishes like this , when there are other strong flavored herbs and spices. I think flat leaf parsley has a milder flavor and compliments herbs like basil, without overpowering the dish.
Serve this sauce over you favorite pasta or noodles, and wish yourself Bon Appetite!
And here are a few different ways you can serve this sauce:
- Serve it over your favorite pasta or noodles. You can add some cooked ground organic turkey or beef for the meat eaters in your family.
- You can layer the sauce with some lasagna noodles and ricotta cheese or crumbled tofu
- You can serve it over rice
- You can add some leftover roasted chicken and serve it with a side of quinoa
- You can add some extra water, black or garbanzo beans and cook it a little bit longer to make it into a delicious, and nutritious, tomato and vegetable soup.
So , as you can see, the sky is the limit. Be inspired and have fun!
Oh, and don't forget to share!!!