We were just wrapping up our produce shopping at North End City Market when one of the vendors asked if we could use a free “ugly tomato” with our purchase. Of course, we did because everybody knows that ugly tomatoes make the best sauce – don’t let those bad boys go to waste. When we got home, we gathered up our most craptacular looking garden tomatoes, trimmed off the ugly bits, and charred them under the broiler to make the base for this Summer Vegetable Marinara Sauce, which also features garlic, zucchini, peppers, and eggplant from the market. Check out out Eat Local Series for more summer produce ideas.
Charring the tomatoes and bell peppers creates a deep smoky flavor and minced eggplant cooks down and becomes creamy to make a rich sauce without any added fat.Print
Summer Vegetable Marinara Sauce
- 6–8 large fresh tomatoes (enough to make about 6 cups of diced tomatoes)
- 4 large garlic cloves, minced
- 3 large carrots, peeled, quartered and chopped
- 2 large bell peppers (red, yellow, or orange), seeded and diced
- 1 large zucchini
- 1 medium eggplant
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced
- 1 16-ounce container baby bella mushrooms, trimmed and sliced
- 1 can tomato paste
- 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 1/2 tbsp Italian seasoning
- 1 tbsp Lakanto Classic Sweetener
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
- Place oven rack in top position and preheat to broil-high. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with foil and cut both bell peppers plus enough of the tomatoes in half to fill the baking sheet (cut side down). Broil until desired level of char is achieved, watching closely and removing vegetables from the tray as needed (the peppers will go fastest).
- Dice the charred tomatoes and measure before adding to a large bowl along with any liquid from the baking sheet. After all charred tomatoes are done, dice additional tomatoes, as needed, for a total of about 6 cups. The number of tomatoes you need will vary based on size and type.
- Dice the charred peppers and add to the tomato bowl then add the tomato paste and stir gently to incorporate. Prep carrots and mushrooms and add to the bowl.
- Quarter the zucchini lengthwise and trim off seeds if desired. Cut each quarter in half lengthwise if necessary, then chop into generous bite sized pieces and add to the tomato bowl.
- Peel and roughly chop the eggplant, then add to a food processor and pulse until minced.
- Set Instant Pot to Sauté and add oil. Add diced onion and cook until translucent and beginning to caramelize. Add minced garlic and stir, cooking until fragrant (about a minute). Add minced eggplant and stir. Continue cooking and stirring until eggplant starts to break down, then scrape the bottom of the pot well, add all other ingredients, and stir to incorporate.
- Set Instant Pot to Manual/High for 10 minutes, making sure “Keep Warm” is off. When cooking time is up, allow natural release for 10 minutes, then vent manually. Open pot when the pin drops, stir, and add salt and pepper, to taste.
Refrigerate in an airtight container up to a week. Cool completely then freeze in airtight containers up to 6 months.
Total time is for Instant Pot and does not include pressurizing time.
For regular stove top, sauté onions, garlic and eggplant in a large pot as described above, then add remaining ingredients and simmer, covered, until carrots and mushrooms are cooked to desired tenderness.
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