My husband grew up eating spaghetti every week as a kid because it was very economical for a large family. I, on the other hand, can eat pasta every day and never grow tired of it. This made it difficult for me to enjoy pasta without my husband complaining. As I looked in my basket one weekend, I decided to ‘spice up’ my sauce and threw in some squash, carrots, zucchini, and cucumber. While this sauce started out as an experiment, it ended up being a dish that my family loved! I have varied the ingredients many times – adding kale, onion, collard greens, and bell peppers to name a few, with great results. This sauce can contain meat if you like, or it can remain meatless.
- 1 cup frozen broccoli (I used the broccoli I froze from a recent add-on basket purchase)
- 1 half of a large yellow onion, about 1 cup, chopped
- 1 large, peeled cucumber, grated
- 1 large peeled carrot, grated
- 2 cloves chopped garlic
- 1/2 tsp fresh thyme, stems removed
- 1 large jar of your preferred pasta sauce, I used a 45 oz jar of plain, or traditional sauce
- 2 Tbs vegetable oil
- Cooked pasta of your choice
- *1 lb ground beef, veal, pork optional
- * alternate/additional ingredients could be: squash, bell peppers, zucchini, kale, collard greens, spinach, mushrooms, etc...
- On medium heat, place oil and frozen broccoli in pan and thaw broccoli. Add remaining veggies and break up broccoli into smaller pieces with a wooden spoon when soft. Cook until veggies are soft. Add in spaghetti sauce and cook on low heat for 15-20 minutes to let ingredients come together. Add salt and pepper to taste. Pour over cooked pasta and serve.
- These ingredients can be prepped the night before in order to save time cooking the sauce.
The veggies in this recipe can be cooked in the morning and thrown into the crock pot on low heat with about 1/2 cup of water and the sauce and served when you get home.
The cucumber in this recipe gives the heavy tomato sauce a lighter, fresher taste that my family seems to enjoy, and the carrots help reduce the acidity from the tomatoes and makes it a little sweeter.