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Cooking Tip of the Week: How to keep your homemade tomato sauce from turning slightly brown

Homemade anything is generally best, and never is this more true than when it comes to pasta sauce: It tastes way more fresh, and it's much healthier, too!

(Many of the common brands you buy, from Heintz to Ragu, have ingredients like sugar, high fructose corn syrup, soybean oil, vegetable oil...).

For years, though, every time I tried to make homemade pasta sauce, it would turn out a little browner than I would like. I wanted that vibrant red colour, damnit! I tried buying the reddest tomatoes I could find, and still the colour looked less appetizing than I would have liked.

The solution: Add a couple beets and carrots!

Not only does this ensure the colour perks right up, but beets and carrots are super healthy, and it means you don't have to use quite as many tomatoes as normal, which is a good thing, as tomatoes are super acidic and sometimes cause digestive problems. 

Today, I used 50 percent tomatoes and 25 percent carrots and beets, and BOOM: Beautiful tomato sauce ensued!

Here's the full recipe, which took 10 minutes to make (then 30 minutes to simmer as I chilled out) and then 5 minutes to puree.


-2 small onions

-10 garlic cloves

-6 tomatoes

- 2 carrots

- 3 beets

-Handful of fresh basil

-Handful of fresh parsley

- 4 cups vegetable broth

- salt, pepper, celery salt, paprika to taste

- 1 Tbsp. butter


1. Chop all the vegetables roughly and sautee in butter and a bit of vegetable broth.

2. As they cook, add more broth and a bit of water if it's too thick.

3. Add spices and stir. Let simmer for 30 minutes.

4. When the vegetables are all soft, puree in a food processor until smooth. 

5. Put back into the pot, or into a slow cooker. If it looks too thick, add some more water. Taste and add salt and pepper if necessary. 

Then, for the meat eaters, plop in the meatballs you already baked in the oven!

Emily's Meatballs:


- 1 lb. ground beef

- 1 lb. ground pork

- 1/2 of an onion

- 8-10 garlic cloves

- Handful of parsley

- 1/2 cup to 1 cup crushed almonds (or almonds flour)

-1 egg

-1 Tbsp. Worcestershire

- salt, pepper, onion powder, dried oregano to taste


1. Put the onion, garlic, worcestershire, parsley, egg and all the seasoning into a food processor and blend until it's a smooth paste.

2. Mix the ground beef and ground pork together in a bowl with your hands and then add ingredients from the food processor. Add the crushed almonds (1/2 to 1 cup depending on how runny the mixture feels).

3. Form into balls with your hands and place on a baking tray. Bake for 25 minutes at 350 to 375 F.

So. Damn. Tasty.

Try eating over spaghetti squash and top with romano or parmesan or asiago....