This is the second of my entries for the Platinum Chef Challenge on The Nest. It's a great marinara spaghetti sauce which incorporates tons of different veggies including the zucchini, basil, and tomatoes which were three of the five challenge ingredients. Not the most creative use of the ingredients, but still very tasty! Plus, as the recipe is written, it is suitable for vegetarian and vegan diets.
This sauce is so colorful - a great way to get lots of different vegetables into your diet! Here's the recipe - I just used a basic marinara sauce recipe which I've been using for years and added a few "extras" to it. Enjoy!
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup total of chopped bell peppers - I used a combination of red, yellow, and green peppers (about a 1/4 cup of red and the second 1/4 cup was a mix of green and yellow)
1 cup zucchini, coarsely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 14 1/2-ounce can of diced tomatoes (undrained)
2 cups peeled, seeded, and chopped fresh tomatoes (you can just use 2 14 1/2 ounce cans of tomatoes or 4 cups of peeled chopped tomatoes; I just wanted to mix it up a bit)
1 6-ounce can of tomato paste
1/4 cup dry red wine (you can substitute 1/4 cup of water if you don't drink/don't have red wine)
2 tbsp. snipped fresh parsley or 2 tsp. dried parsley
1 tbsp. snipped fresh basil or 1 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. dried marjoram
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1/8 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1 bay leaf
1 tsp. sugar (to make this recipe vegan, please do not use white sugar as this is a non-vegan ingredient - stevia or agave nectar would work)
1/2 cup sliced green olives
1. In a large skillet, cook the onion, bell peppers, zucchini, and garlic in hot olive oil until veggies are tender.
2. Stir in the tomatoes, tomato paste, basil, oregano, parsley, marjoram, thyme, and red pepper flakes. Add the wine, sugar, 1/2 tsp. salt, 1/8 tsp. pepper, and a bay leaf. Bring to a boil then reduce heat. Add in the green olives. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Uncover and simmer 10-15 minutes more or until the sauce is your desired consistency, stir occasionally.
3. Remove bay leaf and serve with hot spaghetti or other pasta.
If desired, you can add meatballs and some freshly grated Parmesan cheese to the finished dinner.
The inspiration for my marinara base came from the Spaghetti with Marinara Sauce recipe from the Better Homes and Gardens Cook Book. I added a lot to it but here's the publishing information for the cook book.
Better Homes and Gardens Test Kitchen (1996). Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book. Meredith Publishing Group: Des Moines, IA.