Tomato Sauce with Fresh Vegetables and Basil

Spaghetti Sauce With Vegetables
Spaghetti Sauce With Vegetables. Armstrong Studios/Getty Images
    110 mins
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This pasta sauce is a chunky tomato sauce with fresh basil and summer vegetables. Zucchini, mushrooms, and fresh herbs make this a delicious vegetable tomato sauce. It's a perfect sauce for a meat-free meal or vegetarian guests.

Use the sauce for a spaghetti dinner or lasagna, or use it to make chicken or eggplant Parmesan. It also makes a fabulous dip for mozzarella sticks or bread!  See the tips and variations below for more ideas.

Use fresh or canned tomatoes in the recipe.

What You'll Need

  • 3/4 cup chopped onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed and minced
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 6 cups chopped tomatoes, canned or about 6 fresh, peeled tomatoes
  • 3/4 cup dry red wine
  • 1/4 cup shredded carrots
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup sliced zucchini
  • 1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms

How to Make It

Heat olive oil in Dutch oven over medium heat; add onion, cooking until tender. Stir in garlic, tomatoes, wine, carrots, parsley, basil, sugar, and salt.

Bring sauce to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for 1 hour, stirring frequently.

Add sliced zucchini and mushrooms; cook until sauce is thick, about 20 minutes longer. Serve with hot cooked pasta.

The sauce makes about 4 to 6 servings with pasta.

Tips and Variations

  • For a thicker sauce, add some tomato paste. Consider buying tomato paste in the tube if you regularly use small amounts in soups, stews, or sauces. The paste is double concentrated and the tubes can be stored in the refrigerator for about 1 1/2 months after opening (according to Amore).
  • Any summer squash may be used in place of zucchini. Use yellow straight or crookneck, or pattypan squash.
  • Kick the sauce up with about 1/2 teaspoon or more of crushed red pepper flakes. 
  • Just before the sauce is done, add 1/4 to 1/2 cup of grated fresh Parmesan cheese.
  • Add a handful of chopped greens to the sauce. Chopped spinach, kale, Swiss chard, or collard greens are good choices.
  • If you prefer a meaty sauce, saute some pancetta or diced bacon along with the onions. Or add about 1/2 pound of browned ground beef or Italian sausage to the sauce.
  • Make a double or triple batch of sauce and freeze extra in serving-size portions.
  • Enhance the flavor with a tablespoon of two of butter; stir it into the sauce just before it's done.

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