This pasta sauce takes as much time as adding the extra rosemary, thyme, oregano (and sometimes more flavourings!) needed to make a store bought ready-to-eat sauce flavourful enough to be truly ready to eat. Plus it’s a fraction of the price, especially compared to the gourmet sauces that serve only two meals at an average of $10 per jar.
I always use Italian San Marzano canned whole plum tomatoes, but according to a blind taste test of various whole canned tomatoes by Epicurious staff, you can make a flavourful well balanced sauce from USA or Canada grown tomatoes.
Scratch pasta sauce lives close to my heart in part because it was one of the first dishes I failed miserably at making when I first starting cooking for myself. For some reason I believed I could make a perfect sauce without a recipe and very little cooking knowledge. It was pasta sauce that taught me it's not an admittance of failure to use a recipe. For a novice cook recipes are there to teach different flavour combinations and cooking techniques. For more experienced cooks recipes can serve as a loose guide to expand flavour profiles and techniques.
But this recipe actually comes to the blog on request. It seems my university roommate has been silently reminiscing about a spicy lentil tomato sauce I made constantly some 7 years ago… So in the span of those first five years of recipe development fails and successes, pasta sauce became one of the success stories.
This recipe is from a pre-FODMAP time, when I was a long-time vegetarian and ate lentils or other beans daily. After my low FODMAP elimination, I know my digestive tract has a hard time with lentils, garlic and onion, but small portions of wheat is well tolerated. So these days I usually make the sauce without lentils and the garlic and onion removed, and serve with a whole grain pasta like Jovial Einkorn to round out the protein in the meal. In a meal with 1 cup Einkorn noodles there’s 26 grams protein - the Einkorn pasta is the darker coloured penne in the photo above. For the Italian-blooded in the house who prefers white to whole grain pasta, yes this dietitian cooks up classic white pasta.
Triple Tomato Pasta Sauce
Makes: 3 3/4 cups, serves 4 Cooking time: 40 minutes
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, diced (FODMAPers: chopped in large pieces)
2 cloves garlic, minced (FODMAPers: crushed)
1 tbsp rosemary, chopped
1 tbsp oregano, chopped
1 tbsp thyme, chopped
2 x 28oz cans whole tomatoes (I use Italian San Marzano tomatoes)
2 tbsp tomato paste
3 tbsp sun-dried tomatoes, diced
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp chili flakes
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 cup red split lentils
1/2 cup fresh basil (for garnish)
fresh grated parmesan (for garnish)
Heat a large pot at medium heat, and add the olive oil. Once hot add the onions and sauté until translucent.
Add the garlic, rosemary, oregano, and thyme and heat for 1 more minute. FODMAPers: remove garlic & onion, and discard or save for non-FODMAPers in the house to eat.
Add the canned whole tomatoes, tomato paste, sun-dried tomatoes, chili flakes, balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper and increase heat to medium-high.
Let simmer without lid for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally and crushing the whole tomatoes with your spoon.
Add red split lentils, and cook for 15-25 minutes more, until the liquid in the sauce reduces to desired thickness. A wire splatter screen is incredibly useful to keep the splatter mess under control and reduce clean-up time.
Top your choice of pasta with sauce, garnish with fresh basil and grated parmesan cheese.
Nutrition facts (per serving): 280 calories, 7g fat, 40g carbohydrates, 16g sugar, 9g fibre, 14g protein.