Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Clean Eating With A Slow Cooker: Vegetable Pasta Sauce

     If you are like me, mornings zip by in a furious flash - trying to round up my son and getting us out the door with everything we need for the day is a job in itself. I rarely have time to think about dinner for that evening...unless I am prepared ahead of time. Enter the joy that is your slow cooker. There is nothing more welcoming than arriving home after a hectic day and the aroma of a pot roast hangs heavy in the air.

     Using your slow cooker for Clean Eating can be a challenge; many recipes hinge on convenience foods like bottled condiments or canned soup. This recipe is the first in a series I'm embarking on to provide Clean Eating slow cooker recipes: easy, healthy, and versatile.

Vegetable Pasta Sauce

2 cans ( 14 ounces each ) low /no sodium diced tomatoes ( can be flavored with herbs or olive oil ), undrained
1 can ( about 14 ounces )  whole tomatoes, undrained
1 1/2 cups sliced mushrooms
1 medium green bell pepper, diced
1 medium red bell pepper, diced
1 small yellow squash, cut into 1/4" slices
1 small zucchini,. cut into 1/4" slices
1 can ( 6 ounces ) tomato paste
4 green onions, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons Italian seasoning
1 tablespoon fresh parsley ( or 2 tablespoons dried )
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon red pepper flake ( optional )
1 teaspoon black pepper

If time is pressing in the morning, chop all vegetables the night before and store in the fridge.
Combine all ingredients in the slow cooker. Mix well. Cover and set slow cooker to low for 6-8 hours.

Note: this recipe is flexible as to vegetables and seasonings. Consider it a base from which to create. Add spinach, corn, edamame if they please you. Add sriracha, diced jalapenos, or hot chili powder if you like spicy foods. Add grated organic parmesan for a creamier sauce.

Serve over whole grain pasta, rice, or over chicken breasts or fish.