The Challenge: introducing Meatless Monday to a meat-loving boyfriend.
I have recently been loving the idea of Meatless Monday, as it forces me to be creative in the kitchen. My boyfriend, however, is a hard core meat lover. I don’t know if any of you are familiar with the TV show Parks and Rec, but my boyfriend shares the same food attitude as Ron Swanson. Anyway, the point being that Meatless Monday is something I kind of slowly snuck into his diet without him knowing. I simply prepare a delicious meal on Mondays, don’t use the word meatless around him, and we are good to go. The challenge here is that the meal has to be really tasty, otherwise my cover will be revealed!
Homemade sauces are an easy and healthy way to be meatless, which is boyfriend approved because the meal is so filling once combined with pasta.
I loved the caramelized onion and cherry tomato sauce I made last week, but I wanted to try something a little different. I got this recipe from the Food Network website, and we really loved it. So, I wanted to share the recipe and my thoughts/tidbits with you.
I apologize for the poor photo quality. This sauce was not oily or glistening as the picture makes it seem. I think it may be time to start saving money for a good camera…
You Will Need:
1 large onion, chopped
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/4 cup tomato paste
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon hot sauce
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/4 teaspoon dried basil leaves
2 (28-ounce) cans whole Italian plum tomatoes, with their juices
3 whole heads roasted garlic [see “How To” note below], cloves removed from peels
How To Roast Garlic
Roasting garlic is a very easy, albeit time consuming, cooking skill. I had actually never done this before, but I was only one google search away from mastering the skill.
Rather than confuse you with a lengthy step-by-step, I highly recommend that you watch this video.
Emeril’s (Spicy) Roasted Garlic Tomato Sauce Recipe:
[Yield: enough sauce to top about 3-4 pasta meals]
time: 1 hour 30 minutes + 30-40 minutes for roasting garlic
- In a large saucepan saute the onion in the olive oil over medium-high heat until soft and lightly golden, 4 to 6 minutes.
- Add the minced garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.
- Add the tomato paste, salt, balsamic vinegar, hot sauce, crushed red pepper, Italian seasoning, and basil, and cook for 1 minute.
- Add the tomatoes, crushing with your hands as you place them in the pan, and their juices. [Note: do not add the actual tomato juice that the tomatoes are canned in!]
- Stir to combine well and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a slow simmer and cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add the roasted garlic cloves and stir to combine. Continue to simmer for 30 to 45 minutes longer, or until the flavors have come together.
- Serve over pasta and enjoy!
My Thoughts & Tidbits
- This sauce has kick to it!! We were pretty surprised by how spicy it was, and we like spicy things. I feel that the hotness of the red pepper flakes and the hot sauce overpowered the roasted garlic taste. Next time I plan on reducing (or maybe even omitting) the red pepper flakes and adding 1-2 extra cloves of garlic.
- The spiciness of the sauce did die down when it was re-heated for leftovers the next day. The sauce was delicious this way, as all of the flavors came together perfectly.
- This sauce pairs very nicely with whole wheat pasta. I feel like some sauces are not powerful enough to mask the sometimes cardboard-y taste of WW pasta, but this one does the trick. So go ahead, make it healthy and use the good-for-you stuff.
- Note that the roasted garlic portion is 3 heads, not 3 cloves. Yes, this is a lot of garlic! Yes, you do need it all!
- As previously noted, crush the tomatoes and their juices for the sauce, but do not add the actual juices that the tomatoes are canned in.
- This sauce would taste amazing with some spicy chicken sausage in it. Next time I make this without a vegetarian meal in mind, that is definitely what I will add!
- This recipe is a bit time consuming between roasting the garlic and the steps in which the sauce simmers. However, you are not actively engaged for much of this recipe.
This sauce was fantastic! It is healthy, flavorful, versatile, and inexpensive. This is a great base recipe for vegetarians, meat lovers, boyfriends, and even kids. Next time you need an easy yet hearty meal, try this fresh, homemade tomato sauce!