Once a week I make my meal plan and since I am such a nice mommy, I ask the kiddos what they would like to see on the menu and I always get the same response, “Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.” They would eat them for breakfast, lunch and dinner if I let them; they must have inherited their obsession from their dad. Anyways, I always say “Um, not for dinner,” to which the response is usually, “Fine, we’ll have spaghetti.” I have a few different spaghetti recipes that I would like to rotate between but the veggie sauce always wins. Surprising because the sauce is chunky and usually, that means game over for my boys but it would appear that we have an exception here, very awesome.
The sauce is not too thick but has enough body to hold onto the vegetables and pasta nicely. I use onions, garlic, carrots and celery and cook them just until they start to soften. The sweetness of the onions and carrots and a pinch of sugar helps cut through the acidity of the tomato sauce so it is not too tart. I like the texture the celery gives the sauce and it doesn’t hurt that it is a good source of vitamin C, potassium, calcium and magnesium. I use coriander, thyme, marjoram and bay leaf to up the flavor of the tomato sauce. Coriander has become one of my favorite spices. I first started using it a couple years ago when I was trying out different spices on tofu. It smells bright and citrusy but also a little like cumin; like happiness and warmth. It will deepen the flavors of your dish and give a little pizazz to the vegetables.
Using prepared spaghetti sauce is a major time saver and you have so many options with this recipe. Add whatever vegetables your family enjoys, cook it on the stove top or the crock pot so it will be ready for you when you get home. The leftovers make for a delicious spaghetti sandwich, or throw it in a casserole dish with some cheese on top and bake it until warmed through and the cheese is bubbly. I serve this with a green salad and garlic bread.
Veggie Spaghetti Sauce
- 1 pound ziti or pasta of your choice
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 small sweet onion, chopped
- 2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
- 2 celery ribs, chopped
- 3-4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1-24 ounce can of spaghetti sauce, whatever flavor you like
- 1 tablespoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon dried marjoram
- 1-2 teaspoons chili powder, depending on how much heat you want
- 1 bay leaf
- A pinch of sugar
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Mozzerella or Parmesan cheese, for serving
Preheat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the olive oil, onion, carrots, celery and garlic and saute until translucent, about 5 minutes. I like to add the coriander and the salt and pepper at this stage of the cooking process.
Taste your sauce and adjust the seasoning as needed and you are ready to serve, (don’t forget to remove the bay leaf).