So, I’m not saying that Chris and I are super-athletes or anything, but we’ve been feeling pretty impressed with ourselves in the “healthy lifestyle” department over the last few months. We started going to the gym every morning for half an hour or so when we drop the kids off at school and we’ve even thrown in a longer run in the park once a week or so, just to see if we could do it. I’m almost up to 10K and I don’t even feel completely wiped out for the rest of the day! I try to cook healthy meals as often as possible without completely disallowing anything fun or indulgent in our diets so I’ve been trying to find more recipes that taste like classic comfort food but actually offer a ton of nutritional value. Our recent athletic endeavours led me to pick up a book called Thrive, which is written by a triathlete and is all about packing the most nutrition possible into your meals to help with performance and recovery, and all that stuff. I was really surprised to find that a lot of the recipes were fairly practical for regular, everyday family-style meals and snacking, but the one that stood out to me was a really simple pasta sauce recipe. I made this once, just to test it out, and now I find myself making it constantly and using it on pasta, pizza, and just about anything else that will allow me to put it on it. The best part is that it’s super-powered nutritionally so it’s about a 100 times better than most jarred sauces. I’ve never met a tomato sauce that I didn’t like actually, but this one is pretty special and especially easy. 🙂
Sun-Dried Tomato Marinara (Adapted from Thrive, I think my recipe is a little different, but pretty much the same idea)
1 cup sun-dried tomatoes (preferably the dry ones, but the ones packed in oil work fine too)
1 cup of water
1-2 cloves of garlic (from the garden!)
1 cup chopped tomatoes
1/2 cup cucumber, roughly chopped (I use about a 4-5 inch chunk)
3 tablespoons of oil (I use coconut oil, you can leave this out if your sun-dried tomatoes are oil-packed)
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon rosemary
1 teaspoon basil
Sea salt to taste
If you’re using the dry sun-dried tomatoes, soak them in the water for about 20 minutes before pouring them into the blender.
OK, now here’s the best part: Stick everything in a blender and whir it around for about 12 seconds. Done. You don’t even need to have one of those $700 super blenders either, just a regular blender works perfectly! The next best part is that this sauce doesn’t even need to be cooked! You can simmer it over low heat for a few minutes to blend the flavors if you like, but I find it’s delicious just as-is. Just toss it with some freshly-cooked pasta, or even some carrot or zucchini noodles and you’re in pasta night heaven! We use this sauce regularly for pizza night now too and it’s a great stand-in for those super sugary pizza sauces that you can buy in the store. This sauce also freezes perfectly so I’ve been making it in big batches with all the tomatoes coming from our garden right now.
Definitely give this sauce a try for your next pasta night! It’s so full of flavor that we never miss our old pasta sauce and we get that extra nutritional boost that keeps us running and feeling like healthy living poster children. Well, most of the time. 🙂
Do you have a fresh pasta sauce like this that you use with your tomatoes from the garden?
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Courtenay Hartford is the author of creeklinehouse.com, a blog based on her adventures renovating a 120-year-old farmhouse in rural Ontario, Canada. On her blog, Courtenay shares interior design tips based on her own farmhouse and her work as founder and stylist of the interior photography firm Art & Spaces. She also writes about her farmhouse garden, plant-based recipes, family travel, and homekeeping best practices. Courtenay is the author of the book The Cleaning Ninja and has been featured in numerous magazines including Country Sampler Farmhouse Style, Better Homes and Gardens, Parents Magazine, Real Simple, and Our Homes.