As summer winds down, so many people jump headfirst into all things fall, leaving the sunny season a warm but distant memory… I like to take this transition period to savor the last of summer’s bounty and Fresh Tomato Sauce is just the way to revel in the flavors of the heat.
This is the time of year when tomatoes hang low on their branches, filling with sweet juices until deftly twisted off the stem. They’re on sale at the grocery, abundant in gardens, and overflowing at the farmers markets. In fact, some vendors at our market have big boxes of the “cosmetically challenged” fruits, marked down to next to nothing. Jackpot!
Imperfect, bruised, and overripe tomatoes practically beg to be pureed into sweet smooth sauce. They may not make delicate sandwich slices or hold up in a hearty chopped salad, but the flavor is unmatched.
Homemade staples like tomato sauce can seem like a daunting task, but this one is a snap and great to have on hand. If you’re well versed in canning, you can totally process these to be shelf stable. I’m not that handy, so I just pop a jar in the freezer for quick pasta dinners.
I knew this effortless recipe was a success when John immediately ate all of the pasta drenched in thick red sauce. He’s “more of a cream sauce guy”, so I took it as a major win when he licked the bowl.
Make the sauce, lick the bowl, and don’t rush out of sunshine just yet.
Summer's bounty will soon be gone! Celebrate the end of summer with sauce made of fresh, end-of-season tomatoes.
- 1 small yellow onion, chopped
- 2-3 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 tsp. olive oil (optional)
- 2 lbs. (about 5-6) tomatoes, chopped
- 8 large basil leaves, or 1 Tbs. Italian seasoning
- ½ tsp. salt + ¼ tsp. pepper, more to taste
- Prepare the onion, garlic, and tomatoes; it’s your choice to leave the tomato seeds in or out. I usually take some out but don’t fuss over getting them all.
- Heat a medium to large pot over medium heat and drizzle with olive oil. Once warm, add onions. Sautee for 5- 8 minutes, until soft, stirring frequently.
- Add garlic, tomatoes, salt, and pepper and sauté for about 20-30 minutes, stirring as needed, until the liquid as reduced and the tomatoes are breaking down.
- Add contents of pot to a high-speed blender (I used my Vitamx) with basil or Italian seasoning and blend until smooth, about 2 minutes. Taste and adjust salt if necessary- I added about another 1/2 tsp. salt. If the consistency is too thin, feel free to add the sauce back to the pot to reduce for another 10-15 minutes.
This sauce will keep in the fridge for 5-7 days, or in the freezer for a few months.
We’ve hit the dog days of summer and I’m practically rolling around in fresh vegetables. Our CSA baskets are bountiful, produce is dirt-cheap at the farmers market, and our backyard is bursting with juicy life. Summer Vegetable Tartine is a delightful way to showcase stacks of glorious summer harvest.
Tartine sounds like a fancy French dessert, covered in bright, shiny glaze. It sounds expensive and decadent. It sounds impressive and elaborate and difficult to concoct. But it’s not. Do you know what it is? It’s toast.
Yep, tartine is just a fancy word for toast. The breakfast food a toddler could make. What makes this toast so particularly “fancy” is that I’ve stacked it high with all of my fav summer items.
Avocado toast is totally having its day in the sun right now but I’m here to tell you, it’s time to take it to another level. The addition of bright, salty pesto is probably the best thing since [errr, on?] sliced bread! You can use store bought or make mine from this recipe.
We’ve been eating this for breakfast, lunch, and dinner because it comes together in just a few minutes and tastes divine. Talk about instant hangry fix. It’s also super customizable; John likes to add a slice of Chao vegan cheese and some mustard. To each his own [toast].
However you slice, stack, and savor it, whip up a quick Summer Vegetable Tartine and relish in the flavors of summer!
A fresh, summery twist on boring toast, this Summer Vegetable Tartine bursts with summer flavor in every bite!
- 4 pieces of whole wheat, sourdough bread (or sub GF)
- 1 avocado, sliced or mashed
- ¼ cup hummus
- 4 tsp. pesto
- 1 heirloom tomato, sliced
- ¼ cup sweet corn
- Salt & pepper
- Toast the bread until golden brown.
- Spread a teaspoon of pesto evenly over each piece, followed by a tablespoon of the hummus.
- Layer on a quarter of the avocado, season generously with salt and pepper, then stack on the tomatoes and corn. Garnish with any other toppings you like and enjoy!
There ain’t a damn thing wrong with sushi. I mean, what’s not to love about fresh, crunchy fillings inside a block of tender rice and flavorful, salty wrap?! Even though sushi is perfect the way it is, my love of eating from a bowl won out and these Deconstructed Tofu Sushi Bowls were the result!
What’s great about sushi is that you can create such a wide variety of tastes and textures from such a simple format. Customizable, interchangeable foods like that make vegan life so much easier. No fish? No problem! Just double up on carrots and I’m happy as a halibut! What’s even better is that sushi places are popping up everywhere, bringing delicious carb and veggie love even closer to home.
True life: I bought a package of nori (seaweed) sheets a few months ago and have yet to use them because I’m completely intimidated to roll my own! I don’t have a sushi mat but I’ve heard you can do without. Has anyone tried it?? I need your best sushi rolling techniques!
Another true life story… I had the hardest time cooking the rice for these bowls. Normally, I find brown rice to be a breeze. 1:2 rice to water, pinch of salt, a good boil, then 35-40 minutes simmering. Done. But for whatever reason, my rice dried out before it was done and I had to rehydrate it and finish cooking. It somehow turned out perfectly fine but needless to say, I won’t judge if you go for a pre-cooked variety.
So we’ve talked about sushi but we haven’t talked about arguably the best part, the sauce! Some folks are soy sauce purists, and that’s totally cool but I wanted to go all out for these bowls. Here are the sauces that I used:
- Spicy mayo: 1/2 cup vegan mayo, 1 Tbs. Sriracha (more depending on your heat preference)
- Sweet soy: Equal parts soy sauce and honey (or agave), and 1+ tsp. freshly grated ginger
Just like sushi, this bowl is yours to customize! Pick your favorite veggies and sushi fillings (I had an avocado I forgot to add… Fail #3!) and go crazy! Leave a comment telling me your all time favorite fillings!!
Deconstructed Tofu Sushi Bowls
Sushi is perfect as is, but even more fun when piled into a bowl and drizzled with delicious sauce! A twist on a classic, because that’s how I [sushi] roll.
- 3 cups cooked brown rice (from 1 cup dry)
- 1 cup carrots, julienned
- 1 cup cucumber, julienned
- 1 cup daikon radish, julienned
- 3 green onions, green part sliced
- 6 seaweed snack sheets, sliced into strips
- 1 package tofu, drained and pressed
- ¼ cup low sodium soy sauce (or tamari)
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- Cilantro, sesame seeds, avocado, and sauces
- Cook rice according to package directions or using the following steps. Rinse rice until the water runs clear. Add to a pot with 2 cups water and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer and cover. Cook for 35 minutes, then let sit off the het for 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork.
- While prepping the veggies, marinate the tofu in soy sauce and crushed garlic. Slice into strips and toss in marinade again.
- Assemble the bowls with 1 cup rice, a handful of the veggies, and a third of the tofu. Drizzle with sauce, garnish with cilantro, and other desired toppings and enjoy cold.