Pasta is one of our staples since it’s high in carbohydrates and fibre. It’s cheap, filling, and delicious when paired with saucy veggies.
It’s also quick to prepare, making it our go-to meal when we’re hungry. We missed our usual lunchtime today since we were out in the city for a massage appointment. We snacked on some grapes to hold us over but by the time we were back in the flat, we were so ready for a carb-heavy meal!
Even though we wanted food on the table as quickly as possible, we still preferred to cook our own pasta sauce instead of opting for a pre-made one. Whipping up a semi-homemade marinara only takes around 30 minutes. This way we control exactly what goes into the sauce.
Did you know pre-made sauces are typically loaded with sugar and oil? I didn’t know this before I started reading ingredient labels meticulously (vegan problems 😉 ) but vegetable oil, soybean oil, corn oil, canola oil, and extra virgin olive oil all wind up in commercial pasta sauces, as well as high fructose corn syrup and sugar.
While it’s true that tomato sauce needs a bit of sweetness to offset the acidity of the tomatoes, I prefer to combat the acidity naturally with sweet vegetables like peas. Another absolutely delicious option is to add roasted winter squash for a hearty roasted winter squash marinara.
Feel free to adjust this recipe as you see fit. As long as you have a good tomatoey base, you can add in any veggies, herbs, and seasonings you like.
Don’t forget a good dusting of nutritional yeast on your pasta. Yum!
Peas add a natural sweetness to this vegetable-packed marinara sauce. Garnish your spaghetti with nutritional yeast and roasted chickpeas for the most satisfying pasta ever.
- 200 ml water (~3/4 cup)
- 300 g button mushrooms, sliced (~4.5 cups)
- 1 large red bell pepper, diced (~164 g)
- 2 medium carrots, sliced (~120 g)
- 1 bay leaf, dried
- 1 teaspoon oregano, dried
- 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
- 140 g tomato paste (~1/2 cup)
- 400 g diced tomatoes, canned
- 530 g peas, drained from an 800g can
- 500 g whole wheat spaghetti (or gluten-free spaghetti)
Heat a large saute pan (or a large pot) over medium-high heat. Add the water, herbs, seasonings, and veggies. Stir well to coat veggies with water. Saute for 5 minutes or until mushrooms shrink and release water.
Stir in tomato paste and diced tomatoes. Bring to a boil and simmer for 10-15 minutes stirring occasionally (so the liquid reduces and the sauce thickens). Lower the heat slightly if the sauce starts to stick to the bottom and stir more often.
Stir in the peas and cook for 1-2 minutes longer, just until the peas are heated through.
Meanwhile, cook the spaghetti as recommended by the package. If you are fine with juggling multiple tasks, go ahead and cook the spaghetti while you make the sauce. If not, make it once the sauce is finished. If you follow the pasta package's time recommendation, it will come out perfect every time! Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add the spaghetti, stir so the noodles don't stick, and once the water is boiling again, start your timer. Stir occasionally, test the noodles once your timer goes off, drain and enjoy. Easy peasy!
- One serving (1/4 of the recipe) is approximately 623 calories.
- I never add extra salt to my meals but feel free to salt this sauce to your taste.
- If the sauce is too acidic, stir in a teaspoon of coconut sugar or your favourite sweetener at the end.
- If you like onion, try sautéing some diced red onion with the rest of the veggies.
- I prefer canned peas for this recipe but you can also use frozen peas if you have them. Defrost them before adding them to the sauce, and add them earlier to ensure they are sufficiently heated. Defrosted peas will still be cooler than canned ones.
- If you use a wide saute pan, the sauce will reduce faster than if you were cooking it in a taller stockpot. The surface area of the pan bottom dictates how quickly the sauce will reduce. More surface area = faster evaporation.