Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Vegan Mofo 24.1: My Healthy take on Tomato Cream Sauce Minus the Vodka

Last night I was not in the mood for cooking anything complicated or time consuming. This month has been ridiculously busy and when that happens I turn to very simple dishes. I served this over quinoa and had the sauce ready in the time it took to make the quinoa (20 minutes). Here is what I did:

Veggies in a Tomato Cream Sauce
Serves 4


1 red onion, peeled and minced (allow to stand 10 minutes after chopping before heating)
8 cloves garlic, peeled and minced (allow to stand 10 minutes after chopping before heating)
2 stalks celery, very thinly sliced (to speed up cooking)
½ cup roasted root veggies, cut into small pieces (I used rutabagas since that was what I had in the frig, carrots or potatoes would also be good)
14 ounce can of diced tomatoes
14 ounce can of tomato sauce
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning, dried
½ teaspoon fennel seed (that gives the dish a southern Italian flavor but it can be omitted)
cayenne or crushed red pepper flakes to taste
½ cup raw cashews and ½ cup of water pureed in your blender until smooth
½ lemon juiced
2 cups frozen peas


Combine everything except the peas and cook until the onion is tender. This took about 10 minutes for me in an enameled cast iron pan over medium low heat. Be certain to stir often since this will try to stick to the pan. Add the peas at the very end of cooking so they stay bright green. I served this over quinoa though pasta would be more traditional.

Nutritional Information:

Amount Per Serving
Calories - 212.06
Calories From Fat (24%) - 51.44

Total Fat - 6.14g
Saturated Fat - 1.06g
Cholesterol - 0mg
Sodium - 667.54mg
Potassium - 894.98mg
Total Carbohydrates - 33.8g
Fiber - 8.05g
Sugar - 12.96g
Protein - 9.75g


This is my healthy take on the standard Italian tomato vodka sauce. I make variations of this often when I need a fast dinner. This sauce has all the creaminess of the original without the deleterious health impact. I like this sauce with green peas (mostly for color) but any veggies will work in here. It is also good with mushrooms or cubes of baked tofu.

Happy Thoughts:

Wednesday morning has been good so far. Here are my happy thoughts this morning:

• We were able to sleep in a little this morning which was a nice change. The gym didn’t open until 11am today so we are going to go mid afternoon since Dan will be working a half day today.

• The gym is closed Thursday, Friday and Saturday but we already have our back up plan ready. Now we just need to execute it. ;-)  Hopefully everything goes smoothly since Dan isn't the biggest fan of exercising at home.

• Not only is Dan working a half day today but he doesn’t need to go into the office this weekend. Woo hoo! Nothing like 4 ½ days with my hubby to put a big smile on my face. I love spending time with Dan as all of you know.  Smartest thing I ever did was marry that man. :-)

• Everything for Thanksgiving is coming along nicely. With a little luck tomorrow won’t be as hectic as holidays past.

• It will start looking like Christmas at our house very, very soon. I can’t wait to begin decorating on Friday. With a little luck I will have it substantially finished by Sunday. That is my plan, we will see if it happens.

23 and me sale:

In case any of you are interested I wanted to share that is having a sale on their DNA testing services 11/24 – 11/26. They don’t ship to Maryland; I tried to order it this morning which is why I know. For $99 it sounds interesting to me. Follow the link through slickdeals and don’t forget to use the promo code otherwise it is a little pricey. A friend of mine did this last summer when it was on sale. He thought it was worth $99 but not at $499.

Signing out:

I need to get a few things accomplished before Dan gets home and we to head to the gym, two libraries and Wegman's (grocery store).  It will be a bit hectic here this afternoon. But isn't that what holidays are supposed to be like? ;-)

I hope all of you have a great holiday. As soon as I get a chance to catch my breath I will fill you in on what is happening here.  Expect pictures of holiday decorations soon.  I love this time of year!  Talk to you again soon.


  1. Well, you know I'm drooling over that sauce. Looks so good. I love thick, creamy style sauces. Hope your back up plan works out while the gym is closed. It's always nice having a Plan B (or C). Have a great day!

  2. Heather,

    I love a quick creamy red sauce. I did remember you are fan of them too. ;-)

    Dan isn't much on exercising at home but we have so much equipment hopefully he can force himself for a few days. We are going to stay on our early schedule only work out at home. This is a test run for the Jan break which is longer. We may have to do something different then if we have trouble these three days. The gym has an agreement with a local chain but it isn't very close to our house.

    I hope you have a great day and get to leave work early for the holiday. Have a great Thanksgiving!


  3. WOW! This looks and sounds wonderful!

  4. Jeni,

    Thanks, this is an oldie but a goodie.


  5. yummmm, that pasta sounds awesome! I haven't had a sauce like that in a very long time. I'll have to try this out!

    I'm really behind on reading blogs, so I am about to read yours from the last few days.

    Hope you have a Happy Thanksgiving!

  6. Your pasta dish looks really good, and not just for being so simple. Back in my vegetarian days I used to love mixing tomato sauce with alfredo or cream sauce - I'll have to give this version a try. Plus I love peas with pasta!

    Have a great Thanksgiving! I'm also prepping like crazy, I hope it helps me relax and enjoy tomorrow.

  7. fun post to read! i like how you told why you sliced the celery thin.... somebody like me...would mess it up:) this is a great looking sauce, and i think it would make a good soup also. with very litle changes.

    Happy Thanksgiving Alicia!

  8. I love the looks of that sauce. And love how quick and simple the recipe seems. I also really like the idea of using a whole grain instead of pasta.

    I'm going to pick your foodie brain now. I cook with celery but it is one of the few veggies that I don't really enjoy. However, it' found in a lot of recipes (like this one). If I buy a bundle of celery, can I wash it, slice it and freeze it? That way I'll have it when I need it to cook with but it won't go limp and soggy in my fridge waiting to be used.

    Thanks for any advice you've got.

  9. This looks delicious, Ali. Thanks so much for sharing!

  10. Michelle,

    This is one of my favorite quick sauces when I don't want to fuss with dinner. I hope you like it as much as we do. Even my omni family members like it so maybe Tony will too.

    Hope you have a great holiday,

  11. Jessica,

    This is another traditional Italian dish I made vegan and healthy. I hope you like it too ... it sounds like you will. ;-)

    I am making croutons and veg stock this morning. Isn't that how everyone wakes up? LOL

    I hope you have a great holiday,

  12. Michelle,

    This would make a good soup just add more liquid (veg stock, wine, water). Great idea!

    I hope you and Walter have a wonderful holiday,

  13. Shannon,

    This recipe is very simple and easy. Michelle (dirty duck) had a good idea to make it into a soup.

    Regarding the celery you can dice and freeze it to use later but only for use in cooking. The freezing and thawing will have an impact of the cell walls and make it limp. Cooking does the same thing so it won't matter. I have diced onion, carrot and celery before and froze then together to use in soup and sauces. That also works and cuts down on prep time.

    I hope you have a good holiday,

  14. Aimee,

    This is one of my favorite quick sauces. Once I started using raw cashews they seem to find their way into eveything now as a cream substitute.

    I hope you have a good Thanksgiving,


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