After reading my cauliflower rice post last year, my mum and stepdad treated me to a Magimix for my birthday. I know! Lucky girl. I’d love to say that I’ve been putting it to good use every evening, but in reality I’ve only used it to make the aforementioned cauliflower rice, and once every couple of weeks to chop up the veg that goes into creating Jamie Oliver’s downright genius seven veg sauce.
I say genius, because a) it can be used as a base for SO many meals, some of which may even please the whole family (even the picky three year old! Wonders will never cease!), and b) because it crams in so much nutrition and goodness. Oh, and the method below will make a huge vat of sauce that can be popped into separate tupperwares and then into the freezer.
2 small onions
2 small leeks
2 sticks of celery
2 red peppers
½ a butternut squash
2 cloves of garlic
2 teaspoons dried oregano
4 x 400 g tins of plum tomatoes
(However, one of the great things about this recipe is that you can’t really go wrong. Just chuck in whatever veg you have at the bottom of your vegetable cupboard).
1. Prep the veg. Peel the onions and garlic, wash and trim the leeks, celery, carrots and courgettes, and deseed the peppers and squash. I hate celery but can say hand on heart that you can’t taste it once it’s whizzed up in the sauce. And I love the fact that for whatever reason, you don’t need to peel the butternut squash, which I find is just crazy. Finely chop all the veg, either by hand or with a food processor.
2. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a huge pan. Fry the garlic and oregano for 1 minute. Add the chopped veg.
3. Cover with a lid and cook for 25 minutes on a medium heat until the veg are soft. Stir regularly so the veg doesn’t stick to the pan.
4. Add the tomatoes, then half-fill each tin with water, swirl around and pour into the pan.
5. Simmer for 25 minutes. Leave to cool, then blitz until smooth. (Learn from my experience and DON’T use a magimix to do so unless you want liquid veg leaking out all over your work surfaces. I use a nutribullet to blitz the sauce in batches).
6. Season with salt and pepper.
And now on to the seven ways you can cook it…
Recipe 1: Mini pizzas are an absolute winner in our household. Rather than using pizza bases I use wholewheat pittas (everyone has a couple in their freezer, right?). Smother the 7-veg-sauce over the pitta and then get the kids involved in scattering on their own toppings. Lyra and Jenson usually just have cheese and sweetcorn, and I like to add chopped up black olives onto mine too. Stick them under the grill and they’re ready in a couple of minutes.
Recipe 2: Lasagne is the ultimate winter comfort food and in an attempt to make it slightly healthier I sometimes use butternut squash sheets as an alternative to pasta sheets. Fry up some onions and mince/quorn mince, add in a good glug of the 7-veg-sauce, whip up some white sauce and then layer it all in an oven dish to create your lasagne. I find the 7-veg-sauce can be a bit dry on its own in this dish, so I’ve started adding in a few dollops of tomato puree to the sauce too. And if you’re using the butternut squash sheets, the packet says to cook for 45 minutes…make sure you do so, or the squash will be a tad hard and chewy. Serve with rocket salad if you’re feeling healthy, or chips if you’re not.
Recipe 3: Another option that’s a fun one if you want to get the kids involved is to use the sauce as a salsa for fajitas. Fry up some chunks of chicken (or tofu), sprinkle with fajita seasoning, and add sliced pepper, onion and crushed garlic into the pan. Warm up some flour tortillas and when the chicken and veg are cooked through pop into a bowl on the table. Have the 7-veg-sauce in a separate bowl and everyone can serve themselves, spooning the sauce then the chicken onto the tortillas, then rolling up and tucking in.
Recipe 4: This moussaka recipe is one I haven’t tried yet but as I fancy something with a little spice I may give it a whirl this week. I’ll be using the 7-veg-sauce as an alternative to the two tins of plum tomatoes.
Recipe 5: Now this is just a bowlful of goodness. Roast some large chunks of aubergine, courgettes and red or yellow peppers and tip into a pan with some of the 7-veg-sauce. Warm through and ta-da, a super-easy ratatouille. (However I can’t guarantee that fussy toddlers will eat it).
Recipe 6: With pasta. The 7-veg-sauce teams beautifully with pasta and I probably could’ve written a post titled ‘Jamie Oliver’s Seven Veg Sauce, Seven Ways with Pasta’. I’ve whipped up a speedy dinner for Lyra and Jenson of pasta, peas and sweetcorn with the sauce, and I’ve made a similar one for Rich and I using turkey mince with the 7-veg-sauce to create a spag-bol-of-sorts, but one of my favourite ways to eat it is simply, with fresh pasta and a sprinkling of grated cheese.
Recipe 7: When I started weaning Jenson, I used to warm up the sauce and give it to Jenson on its own. (This may not count as a recipe in itself. Does it count as a recipe in itself?!).
What do you do with Jamie’s 7-veg-sauce? Any other recipes I need to add to my repertoire?
Image and method from www.jamieoliver.com