Hearty, healthy and cheap – pasta pleasure

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Sometimes the simplest ideas are the best. This rich tomato and mushroom pasta sauce contains no unusual ingredients but packs in all your five-a-day in a very unassuming way. Add meatballs, if you want. The vegetables cook down into a healthy, vegetarian sauce perfect for your favourite pasta. 

Time: 1 hour

Serves: 2


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, very finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 medium carrot, very finely chopped
  • 2 small celery sticks, very finely chopped
  • 1 small leek, trimmed and very finely sliced
  • 1 red pepper, very finely chopped
  • 160g mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 10g/1 tablespoon tomato puree
  • 1 tablespoon plain flour
  • 4 tablespoons red wine- 1 can chopped tomatoes
  • 1/2 teaspoon caster sugar
  • bouquet garni of fresh herbs (if available)
  • 30g parmesan cheese, shaved or finely grated
  • a few basil leaves
  • pasta of your choice

Heat the oil in a heavy-based saucepan and fry the onion for about 10 minutes until soft. Add the garlic and cook for a further two minutes before adding the carrot, celery, leek, pepper, mushrooms and salt. Cook for a further 10 minutes until the vegetables are soft.

Add the tomato purée and cook for one minute before adding the flour. Stir for two minutes before adding the red wine. When the wine has evaporated, add the tomatoes, sugar and bouquet garni and pour in 150ml of water. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for about 40 minutes until reduced, rich and flavourful.

Remove the bouquet garni and serve with your pasta of choice, sprinkled with the Parmesan and basil.

Recipe taken from Thrive on Five by Randi Glenn

We all know we need to eat our five-a-day, but sometimes it is hard to fit them all in. No longer. Fifty of the recipes in this book – including soups, salads and curries and spice – contain all your five-a-day in just one dish. We now all know that five-a-day is, in fact, a minimum, and we should try to eat more. So, the other 36 recipes concentrate on how to top yourself up to seven or even 10-a-day, with delicious smoothies, cakes, puddings and snacks.

You can buy Thrive on Five at cooked.com.

Published by Hardie Grant

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Total Comments: 2
  1. 0

    This is a winner. Low in fat, healthy, tasty, and this is the kind of recipe that I like to cook in bulk and freeze for convenience later.

  2. 0

    Take the wine, plain flour and cheese out, replace olive oil with coconut oil, use wholegrain brown rice or buckwheat pasta for an even healthier version.



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