Roast vegetable sauce for Pizza & Pastas

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Just 4 recipes old, this blog seems to have gotten a lot of my friends, and their friends, who are parents to young toddlers and pre-schoolers excited. Motivated by their response, I am now working on some recipes that can be adapted and made suitable for babies and toddlers. My first attempt in this direction was to create something that was nutrient rich and packed with flavours to excite young taste buds. As pasta and pizza are perennial favorites with all children I adapted a recipe of roast tomato soup that I make by adding loads of veggies to create a super yum sauce that can be used with pasta or pizza, or even grilled vegetable sandwiches if you please!

All mom needs to do is chop veggies into largish chunks, toss them in a little olive oil, season with a pinch of salt and pepper and roast. Once all the vegetables are roasted all you need to do is puree everything till smooth. Roasting or baking brings out the yummy flavours of the vegetables and retains nutrients. Besides, I find that oven roasting, just saves so much f my time – as I can get a LOT of chores done while the veggies cook and I don’t have to stand at the stove.This recipe is excellent for freezing. You can scoop spoonfuls of the sauce into a clean ice cube tray and transfer all the frozen cubes into a zip lock bag once hard. Freezing as cubes is also super convenient as you can thaw and use exactly how much you need the next time you want to use them.

I know, I know, when there are ready-made pasta sauces out there, why would I want to bother making one? Only because you know exactly what has gone into it, it is preservative free and so wonderfully customizable that mommy can be sneaky and add some not-so-favourite vegetables into it 😉

You can thin out the sauce with some water and serve it with pasta topped with grated cheese or even use it as a base for grilled vegetable or chicken sandwiches.

I used the sauce along with some whole grain bread to create mini-pizzas. All I had to do was cut out circles of bread, slather on the sauce, top with vegetables of my choice along with some grated cheese and bake for a few mins till the cheese melted. No junk, packed with nutrients and delicious…. perfect for a toddler play date, after school snack, birthday party and of course midnight treats during slumber parties for the older kids 🙂

6 (1)Ingredients: (makes about 1 cup)

– 3 medium tomatoes

– 1 small green capsicum (bell pepper)

– 1 medium carrot

– 1 large onion

– 3 to 4 cloves of garlic (with peel)

– 2-3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

– salt & pepper , as per preference

Optional vegetables: 1/2 a zucchini, 1 small stalk of celery

To make:

1.  Preheat your oven to 200deg C and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil

2. Peel and halve the  onion and cut into thickish slices. Place in a mixing bowl along with the unpeeled garlic cloves. Peel the carrot and cut into 1/2″thick rounds. De-seed the bell pepper and cut into 1″ squares. Add the carrots and bell pepper to the mixing bowl. Drizzle a tablespoon of olive oil and season the veggies with a pinch of salt and pepper.

3.  Tumble the vegetables onto the baking sheet and roast in the oven for about 25-30 mins. The vegetables will soften and be slightly golden. Transfer into a clean bowl and allow them to cool.

4.  While the first batch of vegetables roast, cut the tomatoes into largish chunks. Drizzle with olive oil and pepper. Roast the tomatoes seperately for about 45 mins after the other vegetables are done. Once roasted allow them to cool.

Tomatoes carry much more moisture than the other veggies and therefore need a longer roasting time which is why these are roasted seperately.

5. Once all the roasted veggies have cooled, place in a blender and whizz till nice and smooth. Use immediately or then store in a clean jar in the refrigerator, for upto 2 days or freeze for upto  a month.

To make mini pizzas, cut out circles of whole wheat bread using the edges of a metal bowl.  Spread a tablespoon or more of the sauce over the bread. Top with vegetables of your choice ( I used sweet corn, mushrooms and broccoli). Sprinkle some grated cheddar cheese and bake @ 200 deg C for 7-8 mins or till the cheese melts. YUMMY!!

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