Growing up in an Italian family, Sunday always meant “la famiglia.” It was a grand, social occasion. I got to visit, bond, and play with my relatives every week, especially my cousins. My grandparents would have everyone congregate to their home for a traditional “real Italian” spaghetti dinner. I don’t know how much you know about old traditional Italian families, but everything revolves around food. According to my grandmother, a good spaghetti and meatball dinner will bring people together and make everyone happy.
I do agree with the whole philosophy of families connecting around food, unfortunately traditional Italian grandma food can clog every artery in your body. As much as I love it, too much of it will kill you. A good Italian meat sauce (known by the pisans as gravy) is made with veal, beef and pork (and I’m not talking about the lean kind). So, I decided to put a healthier twist on Grandma’s favorite – I turned it vegetarian.
This is another one of my favorite go-to recipes for family events or parties. It’s a healthier version of my childhood Italian favorite. Plus, it doesn’t take long to prepare using my kitchen friend, the NutriBullet. I love to use fresh herbs in my sauce, but dried work as well. If using dried herbs, I recommend using quarter to half the amount of fresh.
Vegetarian Spaghetti Sauce
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 lb. fresh mushrooms, sliced
- 2 zucchinis, chopped
- 1 small green pepper, chopped
- 2 14.5 oz cans of tomatoes with juice
- 1 12 oz can of tomato paste*
- 1 32 oz can of tomato sauce*
- 2 tsp of fresh basil
- 1 tsp of fresh oregano
- ¼ tsp of black pepper
- 1 tsp of salt
- 4 Cups of water
*Note: I prefer to use low sodium tomato products
- In a large stockpot, sauté onions, garlic, mushrooms, zucchini and green pepper for 10 minutes.
- Add the balance of the ingredients and simmer stirring occasionally for 1 hour until vegetables are tender.
- In small batches pour into the large NutriBullet cup and blend for 20 seconds each.
This recipe makes an excellent wholesome sauce that is great on pasta or lasagna. It’s also a terrific sauce to keep on hand for last-minute dinners. It makes about a gallon and can be broken down into smaller batches for freezing.
So gather your loved one’s around the dinner table for a good ol’ Italian feast. They’ll know how much you love them by how good it tastes. You’ll show how much you love them by how healthy you made it. Make sure there’s plenty left, because they’ll be coming back for seconds. Be careful though, this sauce is so good that you’ll be tempted to mangiare fino a scoppiare! (eat ’til you burst!)