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Veggie-Packed Bolognese Sauce

One thing I’m using this Blog for is to record, catalogue and share my favorite recipes.  “Spaghetti Sauce” (as we used to call it in my house growing up) is one of the first things I learned to make on my own as a kid.  I’ve made a few adjustments to the recipe over the years – packing in more veggies via carrots, spinach, kale and blending in the vitamix to make it smooth for my chunk-averse son – but the herbs remain the same.  Plenty of basil, oregano, parsley and a couple of bay leaves.  Plus lots of sautéed onions, garlic and olive oil.

We use this sauce to make spaghetti and meatballs, lasagna, pizza – really anything requiring an Italian seasoned tomato sauce.  Back when we were following the full GAPS diet for my son, one of our staple meals was browned, ground beef mixed in with this sauce.  My son knew this dish as “spaghetti” even though there was no pasta at all in it.  We confused many house guests with this over the years.

Now that we have transitioned from a full GAPS diet to a gluten/casein free diet our favorite way to have this dish is with meatballs, gluten free pasta of some sort and dairy free parmesan cheese (which as weird as it sounds is surprisingly good).  We refer to this as “real spaghetti”.  My son was so overjoyed the first time I served “real spaghetti” and this continues to be one of his favorites.  Meanwhile, I always feel like I’m doing something good for my family when I look into the pot full of beautiful, colorful, fresh veggies.  One small step for me in my attempt to help each other, help the world.

Veggie-packed Bolognese Sauce (Italian Style Tomato Sauce)

**The quantities listed below are guidelines.  Adjust as you like with additional seasonings, veggies, etc.  If you have a finicky eater in the family, you may want to start off by just adding a few veggies – and increase the amount over time as taste buds adjust.  I like to double/triple the recipe and make bunches to have on-hand in the freezer!
  • 1/4C olive oil
  • 2 onions
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 12 medium sized tomatoes (can substitute jarred tomato sauce – just check ingredients to make sure no nasties – and adjust spices if spices are already included in the jarred sauce)
  • 4 large carrots
  • 2T parsley
  • 1T oregano
  • 1T basil
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3/4 C frozen spinach or kale (or 2 C loosely packed fresh)

Instructions

  1. Peal, wash and chop all the veggies.  Veggies can be cut in fairly large chunks as all will go through the blender later.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large sauce pan on medium high
  3. Add the onion and saute for 5 minutes or until translucent (stirring occasionally)
  4. Add the garlic and stir/saute until fragrant (1 minute)
  5. Add the chopped tomatoes and carrots, turn down the heat to medium and give things a good stir
  6. Bring everything to a boil (allow this to happen at a slower pace/temperature if using fresh tomatoes in order to allow tomatoes time to release their juice and prevent burning at the bottom of the pan)
  7. Turn down to simmer for 20 minutes (or until carrots are soft)
  8. Add frozen or fresh spinach/kale
  9. Bring back to boil and then turn down to simmer for an additional 10 minutes (if frozen spinach/kale) or 5 minutes (if fresh)
  10. Remove the pan from heat and take off the lid to allow cooling
  11. Remove the bay leaves
  12. Puree in Vitamix blender or food processer until smooth
  13. Freeze for future use or use immediately in recipes as indicated

 

 

 

 

 

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