There’s nothing like a big bowl of comfort when the weather starts to get a little chilly. I don’t know about you but when it comes to making dinner for myself, my body craves warmth and comfort but not the oooeeyyy gooeeeyyy sugar-laden fried comfort foods. It’s more of the fresh, wholesome, nourishing foods. I know most of you feel the same way. I have fond memories of waking up every Sunday morning to the smell of tomato sauce on the stove top, where it would bubble for 12 hours while my father made his secret concoction. I grew up in a home where every Sunday my father made homemade gravy (aka tomato sauce) from his favorite diced tomatoes, tomato paste and tomato puree. He added lots of fresh basil and some white sugar (which I don’t use–hint, hint, I use dried cherries instead for lots of naturally sweet flavor). So, I often associate comfort with a really amazing tomato sauce. And don’t worry, I’m not talking about a tomato sauce that’s from the tomatoes in your garden. I’m from Jersey so my love for tomatoes is quite strong, however, to me….a homemade tomato sauce doesn’t necessarily need to me made from heirloom tomatoes in your garden. It’s almost 2017 people and honestly as long as I can find a clean brand with pure ingredients, I’ll use their tomato products to make my very own tomato sauce, get cozy in my apartment and feel like a million bucks eating dinner.
So, who’s ready for my tomato sauce recipe and who’s ready for a little bit of comfort this holiday season?
This Comforting Quinoa Bowl is easy to make and can be whipped up on a week night for dinner or for entertaining guests on a weekend for lunch or dinner. It’s one of my favorite recipes to make because it’s amazing served as leftovers the next day, as well. The tomato sauce I made is super versatile; you can use it on anything from my Sweet Potato Flatbread to my Parsnip Focaccia to my Quinoa Pizza Crust. However you use it, you’re sure to love every spoonful of it. I caught myself eating this sauce like it was a bowl of soup- with my spoon in my hand. Ha. It’s that good.
So, here’s what you’re going to do. Are you ready?
Toss together Mutti’s tomato paste, chopped tomatoes and tomato puree in a large pot along with dried cherries (no sugar added), fresh basil, garlic, olive oil, sea salt and pepper and let it simmer on the stove top for 30 minutes or until the flavors combine and it tastes fabulous. Season to taste with sea salt and pepper and you’ve got yourself a fabulous tomato sauce to drizzle on top of anything you want. Get the recipe below!
Have a beautiful day!
- 1/2 cup red quinoa
- 2 Tbsp. Mutti Tomato Paste
- 1 can Mutti Finely Chopped Tomatoes
- 1 jar Mutti Tomato Puree
- 2 Tbsp. dried cherries diced
- 4 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh basil divided
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil divided
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 1 head cauliflower cut into 1/2 inch florets
- Juice of 1 large lemon
- 1/2 cup finely chopped purple cabbage
- 2 scallions thinly sliced
- 2 Tbsp. pecans
- Zest of 1 large lemon
Cook quinoa according to package directions.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Prepare a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
Lay the cauliflower on the prepared baking sheet and drizzle with 1 Tbsp. olive oil, lemon juice, sea salt and pepper. Use your hands to coat the cauliflower. Roast for 30 minutes or until very tender and golden brown.
Meanwhile, make the tomato sauce in a large pot on the stove top. Add the tomato paste, chopped tomatoes, tomato puree, dried cherries, 2 Tbsp. fresh basil leaves, garlic, the remaining 1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, sea salt and pepper. Cook over medium heat and cover for 30 minutes; stirring every 5 minutes.
Remove the cauliflower from the oven. Remove the quinoa from the stove top, fluff with a fork, cover and set aside.
In a large bowl, combine the cooked quinoa, cauliflower, purple cabbage, scallions, pecans, 2 Tbsp. remaining basil. Pour the warm tomato sauce on top and season to taste with sea salt and pepper. Garnish with lemon zest and serve immediately.