I operate under the 80/20 rule. 80% of the time I try to eat healthy so that the other 20% of the time I can indulge when people bring cookies into the office or I decide to make something delicious and don’t want to give it away.
This meal falls into the 80% category. It’s a great choice that is healthy and family friendly. In fact, my 5 year old told me “Mom, you’re the best basketti chef in the world!” So. There you have it. It’s been decreed. Even my husband who hates tomatoes doesn’t mind this sauce.
I’ve spoken before about my parent’s ridiculous over-productive garden. During the summer my mom sometimes will doorbell ditch people and leave bags of tomatoes on their porch. Not really, but I wouldn’t put it past her. Regardless of how many tomato plants they plant, they usually have tomatoes covering every surface of their kitchen, 4 bags in the fridge, and at least a quarter million still on the vines. We live on chips and fresh salsa for a good portion of the year. I have a friend who aspires to be an urban farmer while she and her husband work full time. They planted 30 tomato plants. When I told that to my mother she almost fainted. This year my mom planted 2. Two tomato plants. There were two additional grape roma tomatoes that came up anyway that my mom wanted to throw away but I convinced her I would take the tomatoes off her hands. Between the 4 tomato plants there were approximately enough fresh tomatoes this summer to fill a semi truck.
My punishment for convincing my mom to keep the 2 unwanted tomato plants was that about every week I would be given several grocery bags full of tomatoes. This was obviously not a very effective punishment because it’s exactly what I wanted. 🙂
The nice thing about this marinara is that the flavors of the tomatoes get concentrated and caramelized in the oven which not only creates a more complex flavor, but there isn’t a ton of water that needs to be cooked out on the stovetop for hours and hours. Plus you don’t have to use much oil at all to create that flavor. Plus it’s about the easiest sauce in the world to make. If you know how to chop veggies and turn on the oven, then you’re more than halfway there.
Over the weekend I made some turkey meatballs to top this sauce with. The recipe for that will come later. When it was time for dinner we were able to pull the sauce out of the freezer, cook some pasta (or make zoodles) and make some green beans that I tossed with the zest and juice of 1 lemon and some salt. It was a perfect weeknight meal that was full of vitamins and fiber. I’ve also had this over some roasted spaghetti squash and that was equally delicious. If you are doing 21 day fix this is a great way to save one yellow container to be able to swap out for a treat later!
I served this with some steamed green beans dressed in the juice and zest from one lemon plus a little salt. It was perfect!
Roasted Vegetable Marinara
Makes about 5 quarts
2 grocery bags full of tomatoes (approximately 8 lbs?)
1 head of garlic
1 red pepper
salt & pepper
Preheat oven to 350° and cover two sheet pans with parchment paper. Cut the smaller tomatoes in half and the larger tomatoes to roughly the size of the halved grape tomatoes. Peel garlic but leave cloves whole, peel and chop carrots into 1 inch pieces, chop pepper into 1 inch pieces. Drizzle vegetables with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper (add red pepper flakes if desired). Toss vegetables until they are well coated and arrange in one layer on the sheet pans. If there are too many vegetables to fit on the two sheet pans, roast in multiple batches. Roast for approximately 45 minutes or until the vegetables are soft and there are some charred edges. Transfer the veggies to a large bowl and puree using an immersion blender or regular blender until pureed but with some texture left. If not using immediately, put in the refrigerator overnight to fully chill, then put in the freezer until ready for use.
Delicious over whole wheat pasta, zoodles, or spaghetti squash.