Every couple of months I like to make a big batch of homemade pasta sauce that is loaded with vegetables. I then freeze batches to have on hand for healthy, quick, and easy meals. This easy homemade pasta sauce tastes so much better than jarred sauce and because it is homemade I know exactly what is in the sauce. Don’t be afraid of the long cook time. Most of that time is pretty hands-off.
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Homemade pasta sauce is surprisingly uncomplicated and easy to make. This pasta sauce is filled with vegetables like carrots, zucchini, mushrooms, eggplant, onion, and tomatoes. Along with plenty of herbs and garlic for tons of flavor.
How to sweeten spaghetti sauce without sugar?
Carrots: We are trying to reduce our refined sugar intake, shredded carrots provide a natural sweetness to this sauce. Personal tastes and tomato acidity can vary so you may want to add a little sugar once the sauce has simmered for a while.
Vegetables: My favorite vegetables to add to this pasta sauce are onions, mushrooms, eggplant, and zucchini. But feel free to add whatever vegetables you have on hand. This is a great recipe to use up your end of summer vegetable and herb harvest.
While chopping all of these vegetables may seem like a lot of work the end result is completely worth it. The best part is once everything is in the pot all you have to do is stir the pasta sauce a few times while it simmers away.
Tomatoes: This pasta sauce recipe calls for 87 oz of canned diced tomatoes, but you could substitute canned whole tomatoes, fresh tomatoes, or tomato purée.
Anchovies: Anchovies give this pasta sauce a deep complex flavor and no your sauce won’t taste like fish. The anchovies melt away as the sauce cooks.
Herbs: If using fresh herbs instead of dried double the quantity.
What takes the bitterness out of spaghetti sauce?
Baking Soda: Baking soda neutralizes acidity. Adding baking soda will change the pH of the tomato sauce, making it taste less acidic.
- Saute Aromatics: In a large stockpot, heat olive oil over medium heat for two minutes. Saute the onion, garlic, and anchovies until the onions begin to soften. Approximately 5 minutes.
- Saute Vegetables: Add the carrots, zucchini, eggplant, and mushrooms. Cook until the vegetables start to soften, stirring occasionally. Approximately 15 minutes.
- Simmer Tomatoes: Add the tomatoes, herbs, and baking soda. Stir to combine. Bring the mixture to a boil stirring occasionally. Once the sauce reaches a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low and allow to simmer for 2 hours. The longer you let it simmer the fewer chunks there will be. Stir occasionally to prevent the sauce from sticking to the bottom of the stockpot.
- Adjust Seasoning: Depending on the acidity of your tomatoes you may want to add additional sweetener. You can use granulated sugar or brown sugar. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve: Use the pasta sauce immediately or allow it to cool completely before transferring the pasta sauce to freezer-safe containers. Keep a container in the refrigerator for 3-5 days or in the freezer for up to six months.
- This recipe makes a big batch of pasta sauce meant for freezing to use as a quick meal in the future. I recommend only making 1/3 of the recipe if you want to use it for just one meal.
- For an extra kick of flavor, add a parmesan or romano rind to the sauce as it simmers. I keep some in the freezer just for this purpose.
- For a thicker sauce, simply continue to simmer the sauce for longer until it has reduced to your liking. Be sure to continue stirring occasionally so that it doesn’t burn on the bottom of the pan. The more it reduces, the lower the heat should be.
- Simmering pasta sauce for a long time allows it to develop a lot of flavor. If you don’t feel comfortable leaving it on the stove, transfer it to a slow cooker. Cook the sauce on high for 4-5 hours.
- For a smoother sauce, puree with an immersion blender after cooking.
Feel free to add some browned hamburger or Italian sausage to turn this into a Bolognese sauce. Or try adding some chopped pepperoni to the sauce for a fun twist.
Using this sauce to make spaghetti and meatballs is probably the easiest way to get dinner on the table quickly. I like to add a simple side salad and garlic bread.
- Pour the completely cooled pasta sauce into a zip-top bag. Make this process easier by using this bag holder to hold the bag open.
- Label the bag with the contents, date, and amount.
- Lay the bag flat in the freezer to freeze.
This pasta sauce will keep in the freezer for up to 6 months. Thaw the pasta sauce overnight in the refrigerator. Reheat in a pot over medium heat.
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