Homemade Pasta Sauce

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Ready-made pasta sauces can be handy in reducing the time it takes to cook a meal, but they often contain lots of sugar, compared to the homemade alternatives. This homemade sauce contains just a trace of added sugar from the balsamic vinegar, and is fresher and healthier too. Have as either a veg and lentil sauce or add mince (meat or soya) as you prefer.

You can quickly make your own tomato pasta sauce at home using this recipe:
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic (crushed)
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 carrot, peeled and diced
  • 4 sticks celery, chopped
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 tsp tarragon (dried)
  • 1 tsp rosemary (dried)
  • 1 tsp thyme (dried)
  • Vegetable stock cube
  • 1 x 400g tin of tomatoes
  • 200g tinned green lentils, rinsed and drained (optional)
  • 1 courgette, peeled and grated
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • Extra: 200g extra lean beef mince, turkey mince or soya mince
  1. Heat the olive oil over a medium heat in a large saucepan or deep frying pan.
  2. Add the diced onion and soften, stirring occasionally.
  3. Add the garlic, celery and carrots and stir through for 3 minutes.
  4. Add the dried herbs (or use fresh basil, oregano or marjoram if you have them) and stir through along with the tomato puree, stock cube and tinned tomatoes.
  5. Finally, add the grated courgette and lentils along with the balsamic vinegar. Bring to a slow bubbling boil and then reduce the heat to simmer for at least 10 minutes.
  6. If adding meat or soya mince, add after the celery and carrots and brown, then add the herbs and tomatoes and stir regularly for 10 minutes to allow the meat to take up all the flavour. Bring to the boil and either simmer for 20 minutes or put in the oven at 150 degrees C for up to 1 ½  hour for a tender meat dish.

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