Let me say that I am extremely lucky to have a child that loves vegetables. And “bean-beans” and tofu. And olives, which, I’ll be honest, surprised me a bit. Whether this is because of her early introduction to a wide range of veggies, my uncompromising cooking style, or just a natural inclination to be adventurous with food, I hesitate to guess. But she’s still a toddler (and a human being) and so she still has a tendency to prefer certain foods. Specifically the sorts of foods that are usually found on children’s menus: macaroni and cheese, hamburgers, chicken strips. And spaghetti and meatballs.
Now, I love spaghetti, too. And, all things considered, it’s one of the healthier “toddler meals” since it does contain a reasonable amount of tomato. But if you like to mix up your vitamins and antioxidants a bit, tomato sauce is a great base for other veggies.
Now, it wasn’t my goal with this sauce to hide any veggies. I just happened to have a few cups of leftover acorn squash that I wanted to use. You could definitely sub a different winter squash. Except maybe spaghetti squash.
I decided on spaghetti sauce because I also had on hand a bunch of plum tomatoes from my garden. And one yellow pepper. The tomatoes and pepper are roasted for a richer flavor. As a bonus, it also makes it super easy to peel the tomatoes.
Then you pop it in the crockpot with the pureed squash. Spice it with some fresh herbs. I used savory, since I had it on hand, but feel free to be creative. I think it would be great with a little basil, or even some lemon balm.
The resulting sauce is much lighter and sweeter than traditional marina sauce. Since it’s pureed, it’s also a lot smoother, more like a pomodoro sauce. It’s pretty thin, so don’t accidentally skimp on it when pouring it over pasta.
I spent a lot of time trying to figure out what it reminded me of. I’ll let you know if I ever do. Whatever it is, it’s delicious.
This recipe made about 3 pints. It freezes well, so save some for later. If it lasts that long.
- 3 lb paste tomatoes
- 1 bell pepper
- 5 cloves garlic
- 2 cups winter squash puree
- 1 onion
- 1 tbsp chopped herbs
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- Salt and Pepper
- Preheat oven to broil. Broil tomatoes, pepper, and garlic on foil-lined sheets for about 8-10 minutes until skin starts to blacken and peel. Let cool.
- While cooling, coarsely chop onion and place in crockpot with the squash, herbs, and olive oil. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Once the tomatoes are cool enough, remove the skins. Seed and stem the pepper.
- Add tomatoes and bell pepper to the crockpot.
- Cook on low for 4-6 hours.
- Puree in batches in a blender, or use an immersion blender.
I might be kind of obsessed with this sauce. But then, I’ve always just been a spaghetti girl.