Winter Tomato Sauce

One of my first blog posts was about making pasta sauce with the abundance of tomatoes from my garden.  Although we are still getting a few last tomatoes, I no longer have enough for a pasta sauce.  Yet, I didn’t want to give up making my own sauce.  First of all, it’s more fun, and secondly, have you looked at the cost of organic pasta sauces lately?  Yikes!  I can, however, buy a can of generic brand organic crushed tomatoes for $1.99.

Even though I use canned tomatoes, I still try to use fresh, local kale, mushrooms, and zucchini to make this more nutritious and special.  I made the pasta sauce a little more special with fresh herbs, since they’re still growing in my garden.

Winter Pasta:

– 8 oz of whole wheat or gluten-free pasta, of your choice

– 1/2 to 1 bunch of kale, stems removed and chopped

– 1 Tablespoon of olive oil

– 8 oz sliced mushrooms (such as crimini)

– 2 small zucchini, sliced

– 3 cloves of garlic, minced

– 1 28 oz can of crushed organic tomatoes (preferrably with basil)

– At least 3 Tablespoons of chopped fresh herbs.  Choose from: oregeno, thyme, rosemary, parsley, and/or basil.  In my mind, you can never have too many fresh herbs.  Use at least 2 teaspoons of dried herbs (choose from the same variety) if you don’t use fresh.

– 1/2 cup sliced kalamata olives

– Salt, to taste

1.  Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Add the pasta and cook according to the package directions.  Add the chopped kale to the pasta pot to the last 3 minutes of cooking time.

2.  Meanwhile, heat the olive oil over medium heat in a wok or saucepan (the wok is my top choice, since it sautes vegetables so well).  Add the sliced mushrooms, and cook for a few minutes until they are slightly browned.  Add the zucchini and cook for a few minutes more, until the zucchini is slightly softened.  Add the garlic and saute for about 30 seconds, then add the crushed tomatoes.  Bring to a boil, and then turn the heat down to low.

3.  Cook the tomato sauce for at least 10 minutes.  If using fresh herbs, it’s best to add them in the last minute of two of cooking.  Dried herbs can be added earlier.  Also, add the kalamata olives in the last few minutes of cooking.  Before serving, taste, and season with salt.  In addition, add more herbs if desired.

4.Toss the cooked pasta and kale with the sauce in the wok.  Serve topped with nutritional yeast.

Serves 4.


There are endless variations on this pasta sauce.  Here are just a few ideas:

– Saute a diced yellow onion with the mushrooms.

– Add a few tablespoons of capers when you add the crushed tomatoes

– For a chunkier sauce, use diced tomatoes.  Tomato paste can be added to thicken the sauce.

– Vary the vegatables according to what you have on hand.  Broccoli and peas are very good cooked with the pasta noodles in place of the kale.

– If desired, saute a meat alternative along with the mushroom and zucchini.

– Make your own variation!


  1. Jane Clifford · · Reply

    Paul Newman’s sauce! Opps, didn’t mean to hit “enter” when I did.

  2. Jane Clifford · · Reply

    The first part of my reply was lost. It was that your recipe looks delicious and easy and I can’t wait to try it! Now I can stop buying…

  3. […] toss your spaghetti squash with whatever traditional spaghetti items you like best.  I have some sauce recipes already posted on my blog.  It would also be great with pesto, or a friend of mine just tosses […]

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