If you’ve ever tried a fire-roasted tomato sauce you know that there’s nothing to compare, whether used as a pasta sauce, on pizza, or as a dip for raw veggies or canapes. This is our take on a super-fresh, handmade sauce, using vegetables and seasonings plucked straight from the garden (or at least your favorite market), and given the royal treatment over a searing-hot barbeque. If you like a bit of heat in your sauce, try doubling the amount of chilies, or roasting a hot pepper on the grill along with the vegetables. This recipe will satisfy any hungry palate, vegan or not – guaranteed!
What You’ll Need
– 4 ripe medium tomatoes, cut into large chunks
– 2 red bell peppers, halved and seeded
– 1/2 large red onion, cut into large chunks
– 1 small head garlic
– 1/4 c. olive oil
– 1/2 c. packed fresh basil leaves
– 1/2 T. fresh lemon juice
– 1/2 t. sea salt
– 1/2 t. crushed chilies (or red pepper flakes)
– 1/4 t. smoked paprika (optional)
Preheat your grill to high heat. Throw tomatoes, peppers and onion together in a large bowl and toss with olive oil to coat. Trim the top off of the head of garlic so that the tips of each clove are exposed. Wrap the garlic in aluminum foil, drizzling with a tablespoon or two of olive oil before sealing the top.
Carefully place your bell pepper halves, onion chunks and tomatoes (skin-side down) over your hot grill along with the garlic in foil. Cook all of the vegetables over high heat, watching them carefully, until they are cooked through and well-charred.
The onions should be ready in 5 to 7 minutes, depending on the heat of your grill, and the tomatoes, peppers, and garlic may take as long as 10 minutes. The onions and peppers can be turned halfway through cooking, but the tomatoes may be left as they are until done; when they are ready to come off the grill they will be very soft and ready to fall apart, so be careful as you transfer them onto a plate or bowl!
If you are able, remove and discard the blackened skins from your tomato chunks – the sauce will still be fine with them as well, so don’t stress too much! In a food processor, combine your vegetables (including the juices they have collected since coming off the grill) and all remaining ingredients and pulse until you have a thick, well-combined tomato sauce. Feel free to experiment with the seasonings until the sauce is to your perfect liking.
Serve piping hot over pasta, or use as a dip for bread or veggies. You will never go back to store-bought tomato sauce after a taste of this!