Thick Vegetable Marinara
I have been thinking about doing a vegetarian marinara for a while now, but I knew I wanted something that was going to be thick and hearty. Yesterday it was the mid-80s and today it was low 70's and raining. Some times our weather here in SoCal thinks it can be Fall, but I am not going to complain since we need the water. First I thought about making it a chunky marinara with chunks of zucchini and carrots, but instead I opted for this blended recipe; rainy weather makes me crave things that are smooth and savory. Full of veggies and flavor, this turned out great and would be a wonderful dip for a party or over some spaghetti squash, or baked with a couple of eggs on top in a cast iron pan. This is one of those meals that is great to make in bulk and vacuseal and stick into the freezer to eat later. I have a Food Saver and I use it all the time when I make recipes in bulk. For anyone thinking of gifts for their friends that love to cook as we approach the holidays, this is a wonderful idea.
1 packed cup of grated carrots
2 cups packed grated zucchini
1 small yellow onion, skin removed and cut into chunks
4 celery stalks, cut into chunks
6 cloves of garlic
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 can of petite diced tomatoes
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/4 cup tomato sauce
1 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Italian Seasoning: (1 tablespoon dried oregano, 1 tablespoon dried basil, pinch of dried rosemary leaves, 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, dash of red pepper flakes, 1 teaspoon of salt)
In a food processor, mix your carrots, zucchini, garlic, celery and onion; blend all of the veggies until smooth.
MEG'S TIP: Shredding the carrots and zucchini made the process easier. Plus having the vegetables in smaller pieces to begin with means when you cook them, the water can render out faster than if there were larger chunks of vegetables.
Once the vegetables are blended, set aside. Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a non-stick pan or Dutch oven; once heated, add the blended vegetables. Cook off all of the residual water that comes out of the vegetables, which should take 12-15 minutes over medium heat. You want the veggies to begin to caramelize and to turn a little brown.
Once the liquid has burned off, add the diced tomatoes (the whole can, with the liquid), tomato paste, tomato sauce, Italian seasoning and balsamic vinegar. Stir well, cover and allow to simmer for 25 minutes. Once it is cooked, either serve over some zucchini noodles, spaghetti squash or allow to cool and eat as a dip with some chopped celery or carrot sticks.