Simply Tasty Tomato Sauce

Tomatoes play a major role in my everyday food.  As creamy sauces are generally off the menu, tomato based ones are always the tasty option, and very easy to make. I’ve already posted about the nutritional wonders of tomatoes (see http://www.foodiesensitive.blogspot.in/2012/10/tasty-tomatoes.html); just to add that tomatoes are fabulous for your hair and skin, repairing sun damage and helping you look vibrant and younger, just like sweet potatoes!

Tomatoes are packed full of beta-carotene, the precursor to vitamin A. These protect your eyes, skin and hair and can help to reverse cell damage done by carcinogenic substances and toxins that come from our food and environment. Beta-carotenes are also anti-inflammatory and so can help reduce chronic pain caused by inflammatory conditions, although like aubergines, tomatoes are part of the nightshade family which some sensitive souls are allergic too. It seems in the world of food intolerance and allergies, anything and everything can cause problems for somebody, somewhere.

But for those who don’t have a problem, tomatoes are amazing and really should be included as part of a plant based diet as often as possible.

The tomato sauce in Tomato Power is made by simply roasting fresh tomatoes with some garlic and olive oil, then blitzing them together to create a delicious, flavoursome sauce. Living in India, beautiful, fresh, vibrant tomatoes bursting with flavour were available all year round. Back in the UK, tomatoes are really seasonal and those available in the supermarkets tend to be lacking in lustre and taste. So tinned tomatoes are the only option, which is a shame as much of the wonderfully high potassium content is lost in the tinning process. However, adding in other fabulously nutrient-dense produces like celery, carrot, garlic and basil helps to counter balance some of these loses.

A word of warning if you’re eating out and choose a tomato sauce based dish – check whether the chef has used butter instead of oil. As butter creates a richer flavour, it’s more common than you think. I’ve left a restaurant many times thinking I’ve eaten a dairy free dish, only to be struck by a headache or migraine later on.

This sauce is really easy and the one I used for my sweet potato stack. Best cooked over a low heat, the flavours are intense and can by used as a sauce for pasta, vegetables, bakes etc or watered down with vegetable stock to make delicious soup. Make a large batch and freeze some, so you’ve always got a quick, easy dinner to hand.

Tasty tomato sauce
1 medium onion
1 medium carrot
2 large stick celery
1 -2 cloves garlic (depending on size/taste)
olive oil
400g tin chopped tomatoes
handful basil leaves
salt and pepper
Finely chop the onion, carrot, celery and garlic. Heat a glug of olive oil on a gentle heat, and lightly saute the onion until it begins to soften, the add the celery and carrot. Continue cooking on a low heat for 10 minutes or so, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic, keeping the heat low, and cook for a few minutes, making sure it doesn’t burn. Add the tinned tomatoes, stir well and simmer until everything feels soft and well cooked. Turn off the heat and add the torn basil leaves and season to taste (not much salt as the tinned tomatoes are already a little salty). Cool a little then use a blender to blitz it to a smooth sauce. Use straight away, or reheat when ready – and enjoy!!!

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