There are a couple of things Josh gets excited about in the kitchen; one is anything to do with our cast-iron pans (including washing and seasoning them) and another is making his quick tomato sauce (in a cast-iron pan). Made with only a few simple ingredients that you’re likely to have on hand, this tomato sauce is an easy way to elevate a simple pasta dish (or spaghetti squash).
WHY IT’S HEALTHY // Tomatoes are nature’s richest source of lycopene, a powerful antioxidant, which has been shown to protect skin from harmful UV rays. They have also been linked to lowering the risk of cancer and helping urinary tract infections. Garlic has a host of beneficial properties, some of which include reducing cholesterol levels, preventing and fighting the cold, regulating blood sugar and treating infections. //
This healthy sauce is great on pasta, spaghetti squash, in homemade barbecue sauce or… eaten plain from the fridge.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 garlic cloves chopped
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes (more to taste)
- 2 fresh vine tomatoes (optional)
- 1 28 oz. can organic crushed tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar (or one tablespoon of maple syrup)
- zest of half a lemon (optional)
- Heat the olive oil over medium high heat and add the garlic, sea salt and red pepper flakes.
- Cook until the garlic is fragrant and just begins to brown, about 5 minutes.
- Add the fresh tomato, if using, and stir.*
- Add the crushed tomatoes and sugar (or maple syrup) and bring to a boil.*
- Reduce heat to medium low and simmer until desired consistency.*
- Remove from heat and add lemon zest if using.*
While you may be tempted to omit the sweetener, don't. It cuts the acidity of the tomatoes, allowing their flavor to come through. For a sugar-free option, you could try stevia, though I haven't experimented with this.
After bringing to a boil I have cooked this sauce for as little time as 5 minutes and for as long as 20 minutes. I prefer it a thicker consistency (i.e. the longer cooking time), but the flavor is delicious regardless.
The lemon zest gives the sauce a much lighter flavor; I tend to add the zest in the spring and summer months and omit it during fall and winter.