Every year, during the last week of September, I drive 15 minutes to an inconspicuous Italian market and purchase a half bushel of Roma tomatoes. When I return home, I haul out my large canning pot, a few cases of Mason jars and set forth making enough pizza sauce to last my family almost an entire year. Sounds crazy, I’m sure, but it’s an annual project I adore, despite the fact that it takes me almost 12 hours to complete the task.
The good news though, is that if you’re also interested in making homemade pizza sauce for your family you don’t have dedicate an entire day to it, the way I do. In fact, you can just as easily hit up your local market or grocery store for a selection of fresh veggies, roast them in your oven, puree them with some canned tomatoes and freeze the fruits of your labour for several months.
Traditional pizza sauce is usually made with just tomatoes, but I like the idea of adding other vegetables to the mix to bulk up the quantity I’m feeding to my kids. Not all children have fully developed palates, and the taste and textures of some veggies can be offensive to small eaters. Adding extra veggies to a sauce you know they likely love saves a battle at the table and is guaranteed to make you feel good about the extra nutrition you’re providing to your children.
My kids are especially fond of this sauce when it’s smeared over bagels, topped with grated cheese and a touch of dried oregano, and baked into small bagel pizzas for the lunchbox. You can also toss it with hot pasta and shredded chicken for a quick and easy weeknight dinner that no one is likely to complain about.
Roasted Veggie Pizza Sauce
1/2 green pepper, seeded and roughly chopped
1/2 red pepper, seeded and roughly chopped
1/2 yellow or orange pepper, seeded and roughly chopped
1 stalk celery, diced
1 carrot, peeled and diced
1 onion, chopped
4 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
1 teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon dried basil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. sea salt
1 28oz. can diced or crushed tomatoes
¾ teaspoon granulated or cane sugar
1. Preheat the oven to 450°F. Place the chopped veggies into a large bowl. Drizzle 2 tablespoons of the oil over top, add oregano, basil, garlic and salt and toss to coat.
2. Spread the veggies in a single layer on baking sheet and roast for 15-20 minutes or until softened and slightly caramelized. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes.
3. Add the roasted veggies to a food processor or blender along with the tomatoes, sugar, and remaining olive oil, and purée until smooth.
4. Check the seasonings and adjust if required.
5. Store in the fridge for up to 3 weeks or freeze in labelled lidded containers or zip top baggies for up to 4 months.