As I finish up the last week of writing my book (woo-hoo!), I’ve enlisted the help of my friend, Alisa, to share a tasty recipe with you all today. Alisa and I met nearly 15 years ago(!), and even though she has been busy traveling all over the world with her family, we have been able to reconnect over our joint affinity for delicious food and healthy living. I hope you enjoy her easy recipe below, and for more, visit her blog Living Outside of the Box.
There’s nothing quite as nostalgic as cooking up an old family recipe that has been a precious part of your family history for as long as you can remember. Physical heirlooms may get damaged, lost or fought over, but recipes live on as they are passed on through the generations.
As I’ve started my own family over the last decade, it’s no surprise that I’ve made some of my childhood favorite recipes a part of my standard kitchen repertoire. After all, whose personal recipe collection doesn’t boast of multiple recipes entitled “Mom’s ________ (fill in the blank)”?
A family heirloom favorite of mine is a spaghetti sauce that has a fine balance of sweet and spicy flavors. My husband and I have lived and traveled internationally for the past three years, and this is one recipe that I’ve been able to make anywhere we’ve landed. Tomatoes, onions and simple spices can be found in Latin America, Europe, and even Asia!
I’ll be the first to admit it’s not exactly the same as my Mom’s version. I’ve morphed it over the years to better suit my patience (I have little) and my dislike for cooking beef (I make it vegetarian)!
Necessity has also shortened the duration of the cooking time—much to my Mother’s dismay. After all—she says the longer a sauce cooks, the more time the flavors have to blend, and the richer the result will be. I’ve chopped 2 hours and 20 minutes off the cooking (really!), and while I’ll continue to enjoy her authentic sauce when I visit, I’ve made a simpler version that we enjoy in our house.
Sweet and Spicy Spaghetti Sauce
Makes approx. 2 1/2 cups
3-4 T coconut oil
1 large onion, chopped small
3 T coconut palm sugar
2 large beefsteak tomatoes or 4 small tomatoes, chopped
1 cup tomato sauce (or 3 cups fresh tomatoes, blended)
1 cup water
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
¾ tsp chili powder
Dash garlic salt
1. In a large skillet, sauté the onion on a low heat for 10 minutes. Add the coconut sugar and chopped tomatoes, and continue to cook until almost caramelized. You may add more oil than called for, or (my preference) add about 2/3 cups water to keep the onions from sticking to the bottom and drying out.
2. When onions are soft (approximately 20 minutes) add 1 cup tomato sauce and 1 cup water.
3. Add spices, cover, and continue to simmer until it reaches your desired consistency (approximately 10 minutes). Serve it immediately over your favorite whole wheat, raw zucchini noodles, cooked spaghetti squash, or rice pasta!
Are you impatient like me? Yes, you can cook the sauce faster and on a higher heat, however, you will need to be diligent about stirring and keeping the onions from burning. You will also need to be careful not to cook all of the water out of the sauce as it simmers—just keep adding water! If you have a lot of fresh tomatoes on hand, skip the tomato sauce and simply blend 3 cups of fresh tomatoes as a fresh and delicious substitution (still adding 1 cup of water). If you prefer chunky sauce—don’t bother to blend. If you have picky kids that don’t like texture (like mine) blend all of the tomatoes, and maybe some of the onions, too!
Sweet & Spicy Spaghetti Sauce
- In a large skillet, sauté the onion on a low heat for 10 minutes. Add the coconut sugar and chopped tomatoes, and continue to cook until almost caramelized. You may add more oil than called for, or (my preference) add about 2/3 cups water to keep the onions from sticking to the bottom and drying out.
- When onions are soft (approximately 20 minutes) add 1 cup tomato sauce and 1 cup water.
- Add spices, cover, and continue to simmer until it reaches your desired consistency (approximately 10 minutes). Serve it immediately over your favorite whole wheat, raw zucchini noodles, or (my favorite) rice pasta!
Hope you enjoy!
About the Author: Alisa enjoys traveling the world with her adventurous husband and rambunctious 4 small children. She’s passionate about making new discoveries, meeting new people, and eating lots and lots of veggies. Visit her blog at LivingOutsideoftheBox.com to read more about her nomadic adventures with small children in tow!