Every home cook should have a stash of all purpose vegetable base sauce that can quickly bring a meal together with very little time and effort. Make this sauce your weekend food prep project!
We love this sauce! It’s a great base sauce to have on hand at all times, because it certainly speeds up the task of having to prepare meals. Plus, it’s completely packed with vegetables, which is good for you anyway!
This sauce does require a little bit of patience to get it just right. Like any really good tomato-based sauce, the key is a low simmer for a few hours. That allows the ingredients to cook down and and marry into each other quite well.
The longer you simmer this sauce, the better the flavour will be! I recommend simmering for 3 1/2 hours after the last ingredient is added to the pot. Just be sure to keep an eye on it – you don’t want to sauce to cook down and thicken too much, because it will burn.
What can this sauce be used for?
I’m glad you asked! I called this an all-purpose sauce, because in essence, that’s exactly what it is! There are a million things you can do with this sauce, but I’m going to list just a few of my favourites just to get you started.
This sauce can be used very simply by heating it up and tossing it with cooked pasta and a little parmesan cheese. You can throw this meal together in the time it takes to boil pasta!
You can easily turn this sauce into chili by adding canned kidney beans, and as much chili powder and cumin that suits your personal tastes! Once you have that chili, you can make chili cheese fries or even chili dogs!
I bet you didn’t think about soup, did you? Add as much of the sauce as you think you’ll need to a blender with a splash of cream. Puree until smooth. Heat it up and serve with croutons for a great vegetable-packed tomato soup!
The sauce you see in the photographs was actually used for a lasagna. I layered a big casserole dish with lasagna noodles, the all purpose sauce, mozzarella, and lots of fresh parmesan. It was delicious!
How long will the sauce keep?
There are three things you can do with this sauce. The first is the most obvious – ladle the cooled sauce into a food-safe container and keep it in the fridge. It will last for 5-7 days in the fridge.
You can ladle the cooled sauce into portioned food-safe, freezer-friendly containers and freeze them for later use. I like to freeze the sauce into two cup portions. Be sure to write on the lid what it is and the date you made it. It will freeze well for 3 months.
To re-heat, I like to remove the container of sauce from the freezer and let it thaw at room temperature for 2-4 hours. You can also take it from the freezer before you leave for work in the morning and place it on the lowest shelf in your fridge.
When you’re ready, transfer the sauce to a sauce pan and reheat on medium-low until warmed through.
You can also can this sauce if you’d like. If you want to can the sauce, follow along with the instructions in my Canned Preserved Chili Sauce. You can store the sauce in your pantry for up to a year!
All Purpose Vegetable Base Sauce is a great food prep item for a cold or rainy afternoon on the weekend. You’ll be glad you took a few hours to prepare a sauce that can help to feed you and your family all week long!
And, if you happen to have someone in your family who screws up their nose at vegetables, then this is a great way to get them to eat veggies without knowing it!
All Purpose Vegetable Base Sauce
- 1 large white onion, finely chopped
- 4 stalks celery, finely chopped
- 1 pound mushrooms, finely chopped (cremini or button mushrooms work well)
- 1 large red bell pepper, finely chopped
- 1 large green bell pepper, finely chopped
- 2 large carrots, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/4 cup tomato paste
- 2 cans San Marzano tomatoes, 28 ounce cans (add the liquid too, roughly chop the tomatoes)
- 2 whole bay leaves
- 1 tablespoon oregano
- 1/2 tablespoon basil
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups vegetable stock (use low sodium stock if possible, otherwise, you may need to adjust the amount of salt you add since vegetable stock can be a little too salty already)
- 1/4 cup parsley, chopped
- Add the olive oil to a large, heavy-bottomed pot with a tight fitting lid. Over medium heat, add the onions and saute for 5 minutes.
- Next, add the celery, mushrooms, carrots, salt, and ground black pepper. Stir together and saute for 15 minutes, stirring every couple of minutes. This step will help to soften the celery and carrot, while removing moisture from the mushrooms.
- Toss in the garlic and stir into the vegetables. Continue to saute for 5 minutes.
- Add the red and green bell peppers. Stir to combine.
- Add the tomato paste, canned tomatoes and juice, bay leaves, oregano, basil, and vegetable stock. Stir well to combine all ingredients.
- Place a lid on the pot and lower the heat to medium-low. Simmer for 3 1/2 hours, stirring well every 30 minutes.
- If the sauce is getting to thick for your preference, add half a cup of water or vegetable stock and stir. Remember to adjust salt and pepper amounts if adding extra liquid.
- The long simmer will cook down the vegetable, but not so much that they will cook down completely. The sauce will still be a little chunky. If you prefer a smooth sauce, once the sauce is completely cooked, puree the sauce with a hand-held immersion blender.
- Once the sauce is cooked, turn off the heat. Add the parsley and stir it in. Place the lid on the pot and let sit for 5 minutes. The sauce is now ready to serve. For serving and storing suggestions, please refer to the text in the post.