It’s that time of year again. Sunday will already be Rosh Chodesh Adar, meaning six weeks until Pesach (Passover). Last year, on Rosh Chodesh Adar Alef, an Israeli neighbor asked me if I had started cleaning for Pesach. After I regained my balance, I told her no. I’m not going to spend ten weeks spring cleaning and looking for leaven. I don’t have to worry about such encounters this year because I don’t have Israeli neighbors anymore. Okay, just joking; I have one.
In any case, while it’s not time to hit the panic button and pull out the bleach, it is time to start using up open packages of food and stop buying things that make tons of crumbs, like couscous. I also only have two weeks left to use up the end of last year’s matzah before Purim, since we don’t eat matzah for a whole month before Pesach. (Hey, stop making those grossed-out faces. It already tasted stale eleven months ago.)
Today’s versatile sauce is delicious on pasta or in matzah lasagna. Whatever you’re trying to get rid of, smothering it in sauce is a good idea, especially when this sauce is so full of vegetables. I must admit that my pickiest eaters were not willing to taste this tomato sauce, even though the vegetables are completely dressed up as tomato sauce, but I bet they would have liked it if they tasted it. I’ll let you know if they eat it in the matzah lasagna I’ll be making next week. This magic is thanks to my immersion blender, a gadget I never heard of until high school, but now I love it even more than my zester. This sauce should go over well with most kids because all of the vegetables are blended and hidden by the tomato sauce. I even snuck in some protein the form of a can of chickpeas. The overall flavor is milder than the standard, acidic tomato sauce. If you double the water and add a little more salt, this can also double as tomato soup.
Vegetables hiding in tomato sauce, which is hiding old matzah. We’re really getting into the Purim spirit.
Hidden Veggie Tomato Sauce Recipe
yield: about 2 liters
1 T oil
5 cloves garlic
2 large zucchini (or kishuim, Magda zucchini, a paler form of zucchini common in the Middle East, which has a milder taste than the bright green zucchini you typically find in North America)
4 stalks celery
2 or more ripe tomatoes
1 can chickpeas, with liquid (about 2 cups)
1 large can tomato paste (about 2 cups
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
- Saute onion and garlic in oil. Add spices, except salt.
- Add vegetables. Vegetables can be very coarsely chopped, even in large chunks, because they will be blended.
- Add chickpeas, tomato paste, about a liter (4-5 cups) of water, and salt.
- Simmer until the vegetables are soft, about a half hour.
- Blend into a smooth sauce with an immersion blender. Adjust seasoning if necessary.
- Serve warm on pasta, fish, chicken, etc. I divided this big batch into two containers and stuck one in the freezer.