Healthy Tomato Sauce + Keeping it Local

pasta sauce

Local food. Whole Food.

I feel like these words gets thrown around a lot these days and I think in good reason.

I have a favorite gourmet food shop in my town, that is quaint, and the owner Dave, makes the most delicious food (Dave has cooked with Julia Child. I did just say Julia Child!).  Not only do I buy food from him, but I attend his cooking classes whenever possible.  He is a wonderful cook that not only shows you how to make a recipe but tells you all of his tips & tricks. Dave also has a passion for local food and stresses the importance of trying to stay away from processed food. You are what you eat right?  I believe this to be true. I recently saw this on Pinterest and thought it was worth sharing….

Local Food

Eating healthy, nutritious food and knowing where our food comes from is important.

I try my hardest to read labels, find out where a product comes from and buying the closest thing to a whole food that I can.  I will be the firs to admit that I buy cereal sometimes, I buy canned beans and canned diced tomatoes but I pick what is most important to me.  For me it is things like organic milk, eggs and meat and local fresh produce whenever possible. For you it might be something else. Most of us are on a budget so we can’t always buy the most expensive, local, organic product out there, but we can be conscious of what we put in our body and try to help change the culture of food in the U.S.

pasta sauce

I could bore you with pages on this topic, but for me it is important. It was worth writing a 40 page final paper in graduate school.  Food matters. It matters to me. It matters to the children that sit down every day at school to eat lunch among their peers. It is the building blocks to a healthy, happy child and adult.

So on the topic of what we put into our body.  Instead of buying jarred tomato sauce try making this fresh, homemade tomato sauce. Dave gave me this recipe which I slightly adapted. It is easy to make and you will know exactly what is in the finished product. 

pasta sauce

I used Saporita tomatoes which are from California that Dave carries at his store.

Tomato sauce

They are strips of peeled tomatoes (so much flavor) but if you can’t find these use San Marzanos or any of your favorite canned tomato varieties.  Diced tomatoes work fine by the way but I really enjoyed these strips of peeled tomatoes, so if you can find them try it out.. Since tomatoes are not currently in season (in Chicago), going the canned tomato route is best.

pasta sauce

Healthy Tomato Sauce
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
A fresh homemade pasta sauce perfect for Italian dishes or freeze and use later.
Recipe type: Pasta Sauce
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 5-6
Ingredients
  • ½ onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 3 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 4 cups canned tomatoes (diced or stewed work)
  • 2 tsp. sugar
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tsp. Herbes de Provence
  • 6-7 fresh basil leaves, chopped or 3 teaspoons dried basil
  • Dash of salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat and sauté garlic and onion until lightly browned.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients and simmer for 45 minutes to an hour.
  3. Serve over freshly cooked pasta with a little freshly grated Parmesan.
Notes
Use this sauce over lasagna, a bowl of pasta, as a sauce over chicken parmigiana a dip for mozzarella sticks or garlic bread, pizza and many, many more dishes. Freezing the sauce: I like to freeze half of this sauce and use it for meals down the road. To freeze this you need to make sure it cools completely and put it in the refrigerator overnight. The next day you can transfer it into freezer safe containers or even a large freezer safe ziplock bag and label it with the date. Make sure to only fill the jar or bag ¾ of the way full as the sauce will expand in the freezer.

Do you support local food growers, farmers markets, ect? Are there certain foods, and recipes you have to make completely from scratch? I would love to hear your thoughts and ideas.

 Thanks for listening! I hope you love this sauce as much as I do.

Julia

Comments

  1. Those tomatoes look really great just right out of the can! I have to go to this store. I am worried I will spend too much money there though.

    • A Cedar Spoon says:

      They are. I used them in chili and then saved some in the freezer to use later.

      Dave’s store is dangerous..he has some of the best stuff–like this one blue cheese that is probably $10 for a small chunk but the best blue cheese you have ever tasted (if you like blue cheese, that is).

  2. Yum – this sounds and looks incredible!!!

  3. LOVE this post! I am all about local, organic when possible, whole foods. I spend a ridiculous percentage of our income on healthy food and ingredients because I know it is worth it! I am going to try this recipe the next time we have a pasta night :) For foods that I always have to make for myself, I definitely always have to make my own frosting and taco seasoning. I hate all of the unhealthy preservatives and unneeded sugar that are in the store bought kinds.

    • A Cedar Spoon says:

      I am glad you commented! It is nice to hear other people that feel the same way. I spend a good amount of money on organic too–meat, milk and eggs can really add up and I imagine as my family grows it will continue to go up. But for me it is important! I also agree that making as much from scratch as possible is important. I actually have to admit I have only made my own frosting once but I think I am going to start doing that from now on. Do you have a good recipe that you like?

  4. Your sauce is wonderful! Looks so good in the jars too :)

  5. I love tomato sauce and I love that you shared how to make it FRESH! I’m excited to meet Dave in a just a few weeks too! :)
    Jessica@ Stuck On Sweet recently posted..Crumb Cake MuffinsMy Profile

  6. Canning tomato sauce is not hard, and such a great way to add to a healthy lifestyle. Organic and local are usually the best, too bad I can´t find that easily. This is a wonderful recipe Julia!
    Paula @ Vintage Kitchen recently posted..Dulce de Leche Mille Feuille – with quick puff pastryMy Profile

    • A Cedar Spoon says:

      Thanks! Yes I agree. I prefer a homemade sauce to a store bought any day. It can be hard in the winter because tomatoes aren’t in season (in Chicago). This would be even better with garden tomatoes or local ones from the farmers market!

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