I’m in denial that fall weather has arrived here in the northwest, despite the calendar. Boo. At some point a miracle takes place deep inside me where fall has found a place in my heart once again, and I can let go of the long lazy days of summer. At this writing, that hasn’t happened yet. Putting food up for warm cozy meals when the temperatures drop helps to stir a little excitement in me for the season to come.
Putting food up is a passion of mine but I don’t try to reach any monumental goals in quantity. It’s mostly about being well stocked, using high quality organic ingredients, which provides outstanding flavor. There’s also the benefit of growing our own veggies making healthy eating more affordable. The effort goes into foods that work with our lifestyle. Enter homemade marinara sauce. We grow onions, basil, and tomatoes which covers most of the main ingredients to this simple marinara.
Spaghetti squash grows abundantly also and keeps well through the winter months. Oven roasted, it shows up regularly for an easy meal with this Freezer Tomato Basil Marinara Sauce. It’s one of the easiest meals to make. Protein is added the day it’s served. Whip up a green vegetable or a salad and there you have dinner.
I’ve tried a few different recipes for freezer marinara, but this is one I come back to repeatedly. Freezer Tomato Basil Marinara Sauce doesn’t require the tedious task of blanching the tomatoes to remove their skin. This version is slightly tweaked to make it whole30 approved. The original recipe is from the wonderful cookbook Nourishing Meals.
The tomatoes are blended until chunky in a food processor.
To make it even easier, I chop the onions and garlic in a food processor as well.
You’ll also need a 12 quart stock pot. And yes, this recipe fills up the entire pot. But it’s an easy recipe to cut in half too, if that’s what you prefer.
Making your own marinara allows you to control the ingredients and the thickness of your sauce. It cooks down over a 4-5 hour period. I like mine thick so it gets cooked longer.
This batch yielded 13 pints. I have frozen them in mason jars and/or zip loc bags.
When using jars, let cool, give plenty of headroom and only put in jars without shoulders. Place in freezer uncovered. Top them with lids when completely frozen. Pints are a perfect size for us, but you can do quarts too. Whatever feeds your crew best.
I mean…there are so many possibilities for the gluten-free, grain-free eater with this versatile sauce.
So before the warm days go away and while local tomatoes are still ripening on the vine, grab yourself some of these lovely fruits and put some marinara up.
On to another subject, I have just a few more spots left for my upcoming All Things Fall cooking class.
Come on over and cook with me! A great time is had by all and then we sit down together and eat an entire meal that is completely free of gluten, grain, dairy and refined sugar. And all this in 2 hours. See for yourself that to eat healthy one does not need to go hungry or feel deprived. All details can be found here.
Enjoy the recipe for the marinara-
Freezer Tomato Basil Marinara Sauce
1/2 cup olive oil
3 large onions
1 whole head garlic
20 pounds fresh tomatoes
1-2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
1/2 cup red wine vinegar (I use this brand)
6 pitted medjool dates (or 2 -4 teaspoons coconut sugar)
3 tablespoons Italian seasoning
2-3 tablespoons sea salt
2-3 cups packed fresh basil, chopped
Heat a 12 quart (or larger) stock pot over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and saute for 10 minutes. Remove the stem end of the tomatoes. Quarter them and process in food processor until chunky. (I added the pitted dates, if using, to one of the batches to get them blended in). You’ll need to do the tomatoes in batches. I did 5 lbs. at a time. After each batch was completed, I added it to the sautéed onions and garlic. When all of the tomatoes have been processed and added, add the rest of the ingredients except the fresh basil.
Cook uncovered at a rapid simmer, for 4 – 5 hours, stirring occasionally until the sauce it reaches your desired thickness. Taste to adjust seasonings. Add more salt if needed. Stir in the chopped basil and simmer a few more minutes. Let cool and freeze in pint or quart sizes.