Zippy and chunky sauce
Who doesn’t love a good red sauce? My husband used to make pasta and plain tomato sauce as the boring-don’t-know-what-to-cook meal. This recipe makes weekday dinners taste special. Sautéed peppers and grape tomatoes plus diced sun-dried tomatoes give the sauce texture and chunkiness. The red pepper flakes create a slight bite that is balanced by the sweet tomatoes and bell peppers.
This is a 2 pot recipe: one for the pasta and the other for the sauce. I serve this sauce on homemade zucchini noodles. My husband, however, ladle’s his atop penne pasta. It is fabulous either way! It stores well in the refrigerator for a delicious packed lunch or “leftover” dinner meal.
The health benefits of tomatoes
Tomatoes are low calorie but highly nutritious fruits. Yes, tomatoes are often lumped into the vegetable category, but they are technically fruits since they grow from the flower of a plant. They also have seeds, which further classifies them as fruits.
Tomatoes are rich in vitamin A, C and K and are high in the antioxidant, lycopene. What does this mean for health? Including tomatoes in your daily diet can:
- Decrease risk for heart disease, diabetes and stroke
- Boost immunity and protect against some types of cancer
- Improve digestion
- Aid skin health
- Improve vision
Tomatoes are also economical and easily accessible. Fresh tomatoes are available at most grocery stores all year-round. Healthy, canned and sugar-free options are also offered even at corner and convenience stores throughout the country.
Triple Tomato and Pepper Sauce
- 8.5 oz sundried tomatoes in oil
- 1 medium white onion diced, about 1 cup
- 1 medium green bell pepper diced, about 1 cup
- 1 medium orange or yellow bell pepper diced, about 1 cup
- 1 pint grape tomatoes cut in half, approximately 2 cups
- ¼ to ½ teas crushed red pepper flakes
- ½ teas black pepper
- ¾ teas sea salt
- ½ teas onion powder
- 1 teas oregano
- 3 tbsp fresh basil snipped into pieces
- 28 oz tomato sauce
- 16 oz penne pasta
- Drain the oil from the sundried tomatoes into a large sautee pan.
- Add the diced onions and peppers to the saute pan and cook over medium heat until the onions are translucent and the peppers are slightly soft.
- Toss in the red pepper flakes and other seasonings, stir and cook 1-2 minutes until the red pepper is fragrant.
- Add the grape and sundried tomatoes and mix well in the pan. Cook until the grape tomatoes get slightly soft and juicey.
- Toss in the salt, pepper, onion powder and oregano and mix.
- Add the snipped basil and stir.
- Pour the tomato sauce into the pan, stir well, simmer at least 15 minutes.
- While the sauce cooks, boil the pasta per the box instructions. Drain in a colander.
- Serve by plating 1 cup of hot, drained pasta and topped with ¾ cup of chunky sauce.
- Store leftover sauce and pasta in separate containers. Reheat in a microwave and enjoy!