Forever Friend Inspired, Sweet Garlic Basil Pasta Sauce – Oil Free, Sugar Free

Sweet garlic basil pasta sauce, oil free, sugar free

Back then, we were just two fun girls with VERY big hair who rode the same yellow bus. The universe knew what it was doing that fateful day we crossed paths… our friendship story continues on to this day – oh some 25 years later. We are forever friends… as Cathy would say.

I admire her for her generous heart and justice oriented way of thinking about the world and the people in it.  I agree with her, we need to pull up our big girl or big boy pants and step it up and do the right thing. It seems, like minded friends tend to find each other in life, even years before they become who they are destined to be. Cathy and I have things in common now, that weren’t even obvious on the radar back then.

Growing up, I spent a lot of time at Cathy’s house. Her family is Italian, welcoming, generous and very entertaining. They became my second family. I ate dinner there a time or two! Their family’s homemade pasta sauce was always out of this world! Funny how many fond memories can be centered around a big bowl of noodles and some sauce.

Tomatoes from the garden!

So I’m over here thinking about what I might do with all these tomatoes I picked from my Dad’s garden and I found myself dreaming about the old days and that sauce. I can’t believe that I don’t know how to make that sauce or that I have never taken notes. But I guess it doesn’t matter, because now I’m doing things different. So I reached out and asked Cathy if I could veganize her family’s secret sauce recipe and she surprised me with the fact that she had already veganized it. Cool or what?  But who are we kidding? Even she admits… it’s totally not the same family recipe, because the original just can’t be veganized to taste exactly the same.

You know what? That’s OK. We will create new memories with new sauce with its new flavors… Why?  Because change is the only thing we can count on in an ever changing universe. We know that vegan sauce is much better for everyone involved anyway, it also focuses on the future… and there is so much exciting possibility in the future!

I had my hands on the basic recipe, but when I got into the kitchen, of course I made changes and made it my own.  That’s what cooking is all about. I’m sure Cathy won’t mind. She inspired me! Not only with her sauce recipe, but her friendship and the fact that she is happy to share.

Cathy and I - veggie fest

Cathy and I with our families now – Veggie Fest 2013

Let’s break this sauce down and talk about it for a minute…

Being vegan and picky, it’s hard to find a sauce that is organic, oil free, sugar free and low sodium. I think I might have one or sometimes two to choose from at the store. So why not make my own? Just like my hummus recipe, this is just inspiration to do it!

I know that you probably already have ideas of what pasta sauce should taste like. God forbid you are also Italian and judging the hell out of this. That’s cool. Spice and adjust, and do as you must, but hear me out on a few ideas here. I am just going to say, I am quite fond of my sauce and it could be that it’s homemade with care and love or maybe because it’s a little different. Either way. When I can’t help myself but to keep dipping my spoon to taste it over and over while it’s cooking, I know it’s a good recipe. And it’s still… just my opinion.

A couple things

First, most of us have been conditioned to think we NEED to cook with oil. It’s just not true. I have found jarred, oil free sauce before and most recipes I make these days cook up just fine without oil, so I know it can be done. You may have to man the stove just a little bit more, and maybe not keep the flame ridiculously high… but it can be done, and without burning.

Second, did you know that most pasta sauce calls for sugar to neutralize acidity of the tomatoes? In this sauce, I wanted more focus on whole foods so a grated carrot did the trick. This is where the sweet comes in without sending a diabetic into shock. We are blending this sauce at the end so it’s all good.

Third, sodium is another story. This is up to you. This sauce does contain sea salt. It needs it for flavor, just sayin’. You can add it or not add it… you are your own cook and the gatekeeper of your good health. Just know that jarred sauce is usually very high in sodium. The good rule of thumb for packaged products is not to go over calories per serving with sodium per serving. So if it’s 100 calories per serving, sodium should be 100 milligrams or less per serving. This is very tough to do, unless you avoid packaged products. I do enjoy sea salt, and if I am going to break this rule and get some sodium in, I might as well get the added benefits of extra trace minerals in sea salt vs regular table salt! I don’t have high blood pressure. If you do, proceed with caution regarding sodium in your diet. I have been trying to do the math and 1 tablespoon of sea salt divided into two quarts and then down to individual servings can’t be all that bad, can it? Oh never mind.

Fourth, I am thickening this sauce with arrowroot powder because it doesn’t dilute the spices and flavors and also because I don’t want to add canned, already made pasta sauce to thicken this. The reason is, most cans leach the aluminum into the sauce due to the high acidity of the tomatoes. Then there is the worry about the BPA lined cans. Who needs it? I have gone out of my way to avoid aluminum, even changed my deodorant as some of you might know. I am not innocent, I use a few canned goods here and there, but I am becoming more and more mindful.

Fifth, the secret ingredient to this particular sauce is… Cinnamon. Just a dash. After making 4 batches of sauce, and trying some without, I couldn’t resist adding it to all. Cinnamon gives quite a unique twist. You can however, omit it.

So here it is….. Taaaa Daaaaa

Sweet garlic basil pasta sauce, oil free, sugar free

Sweet Garlic Basil Pasta Sauce

Ingredients

  • About 15 Medium Ripe Tomatoes, cored and chopped
  • 1/2 Cup Water
  • 1/2 Large Carrot, grated
  • 3 Large Pressed Garlic Cloves
  • 1 tsp Dried Basil
  • 1 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 Tbs Sea Salt
  • 1/8 tsp Black Pepper
  • 1/8 tsp Cinnamon
  • 6 Tbs Arrowroot Powder + 5 Tbs Water

Directions

sweet garlic basil pasta sauce - oil free, sugar freePlace chopped tomatoes, (with skin and seeds), into a large stock pot with 1/2 cup water and heat on medium/high for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, mash with a potato masher and lower heat a bit if necessary. Keep an eye on this and stir often, adding more water only if needed.

Add grated carrot, garlic, salt and spices except for the cinnamon. Be sure to roll and crush the basil between your fingers to release more flavor. Cook on low/medium heat, simmering for another 20 minutes. Stirring often. Taste and adjust seasonings and add cinnamon here.

Raise heat and bring sauce back to a low boil. While that is happening, in a small bowl, use a fork to mix 6 Tbs Arrowroot powder with 5 Tbs water to create a thick paste and pour this into the middle of the sauce while stirring constantly. The sauce will thicken. Cook 1 – 2 minutes. Do not over boil or the arrowroot will lose its thickening ability. Remove from the heat and ladle sauce into your Vitamix or other blender, blend on high to smooth out remaining tomato skins, seeds and grated carrot (I left a little un-blended for texture, just because). Return sauce to the pot, glass jars, containers, etc… use, freeze or give some away. The bubbles created from blending will dissipate in about 10 minutes or so.

Enjoy!

~The Karmatarian

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2 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    David and Maureen said,

    We loved the sauce! It had a natural sweetness, and the taste of the cinnamon and the basil were subtle and added to the distinctiveness of the flavor. We will definitely make it again.

  2. 2

    Christa said,

    That is great to hear! I am so glad you liked this sauce. Thank you for the great comment.


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