Delicious and Easy No Recipe Roasted Tomatillo Salsa

tomatillos, peppers, onion, garlic, lime, on table with roasting pan

This delicious and easy no recipe roasted tomatillo salsa is a must when its harvest time in the garden or if you have found yourself blessed with some tomatillos from the farmers market.  

Tomatillos are considered distant cousins of tomatoes and they grow very similarly in your garden.  Just like tomatoes, when it is time to harvest, there will be quite an abundance. What better way to use them than up than to make an easy and delicious green salsa to pair with some chips or use in any Mexican style dish you desire.  

Simple Ingredients

The main ingredients for this roasted tomatillo salsa consists of tomatillos, onion, and peppers. No recipe means flexibility! For instance, you can utilize white or red onions, spring onions, or chives based on what you have available. When it comes to the peppers, a combination of whatever types you have on hand will yield satisfying results. You can opt for bell peppers, sweet peppers, or a variety of hot peppers like banana or jalapeños to add some heat if you like.

If you prefer a green end color, make sure that the ingredients you use are yellow/green in color. Additionally, if you happen to have a zucchini, it can be a clever way to incorporate more vegetables, especially for picky eaters.  Garlic, lime, cumin, parsley or cilantro, and salt and pepper will be wonderful additions to boost and round out the flavor.  

tomatillos in bowls, lims, peppers, onion, garlic, roasting pan on table

How to Make Roasted Tomatillo Salsa

First, remove the husks from the tomatillos. Tomatillos tend to have a sticky residue so give them a rinse. Depending on their size slice in half or quarters.  If they are small leaving them whole is fine. Then dice your peppers, onions, and optional zucchini to a similar size and place along with the garlic on the roasting pan.  

Give it a drizzle of avocado oil and roast in a 400 degree oven for about 20-30 min.  You will know it is done when the tomatillos start to char a bit on top.  Carefully remove and transfer the all the ingredients to a high speed blender or a food processor.  Blend completely smooth or leave a little chunkier if you like a thicker texture. Finally, add some lime juice, cumin, cilantro, salt and pepper to taste. Learning to cook without a recipe takes some time but trust your taste buds and adjust accordingly.

This delicious and easy roasted tomatillo salsa is fantastic cold with chips or tacos but it also tastes great warm and makes a wonderful enchilada sauce.  Roasted tomatillo salsa can be frozen for later or if you have a freeze dryer that is a great option for long term storage. an

I store my freeze dried goods that I will use within the next year in mason jars with an oxygen absorber and then I seal the jar. The jar sealer that I have is no longer available but this is a similar one. Mason Jar Vacuum Sealer. They are super helpful to have for dehydrated and freeze dried goods. Use an oxygen absorber to keep moisture out and keep your food fresh longer.

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Simple Healthy Meal Prep Cabbage to Enjoy Now and Later

purple cabbage on table

Simple healthy meal prep.  What does that mean and how do you do it?  Don’t get me wrong I love to work in the kitchen but I don’t have all day every day to spend in there.  I have kids, a job, and errands to run that keep me busy just like I’m sure you do too.  

Healthy Meal Prep to Maximize Your Time

Because I have a garden and value eating and feeding my family whole real foods I have to get very intentional and creative. How do I use these fresh ingredients while also maximizing my time?  Have you ever spent time chopping fresh vegetables up?  It can take a while! 

When I am in the kitchen I want to accomplish as much as I can for an upcoming meal and at the same time do whatever I can to help my future self out a bit.  Here are some tips that I keep in mind to help myself out.

Simple Meal Prep Tips

  1. Chop once. Whether you are using a knife or a food processor chop the whole thing.  You can always put extra in the fridge for later and save yourself time.
  2. Use similar ingredients. This makes meal making faster and you can often make very different flavor combinations even using the same basic ingredients.
  3. Make something for now. Think about what is currently pressing…the next meal or maybe an upcoming social event where you need to bring something to share.
  4. Plan for tomorrow. You will feel so thankful when you have food prepped and ready to go for when you are busy and don’t have the time.  This will also save you from last minute decisions made when you’re hangry. No one wants to wind up spending money or eating something that is not healthy just because it was convenient.
  5. Think of the future. Could be for next week, next month or maybe next season.
  6. Double it. If what you make would store well in the freezer make two.  One for now and one for the future when your busy or tired and can’t prepare something.
  7. Maximize your extra time. When I have a few moments to spare but its not quite meal time I will chop and prepare the ingredients so that come meal time I’m a step ahead.  On my day off I will also make things such as tortillas, pie crusts, bread, sauces, etc.  and throw them in the freezer so that I have a nice start or addition to a meal later.  

Healthy Cole Slaw for Now

I grew a beautiful purple cabbage in my garden.  Let me show you my meal prep in action.  I was getting together with friends later in the evening and needing to bring a side dish to share.  My first thought was to make some coleslaw.

A food processor makes shredding cabbage easy.  What goes great in Coleslaw? I grabbed some carrots and shredded those as well.  Finding a few extra things from the garden and the fridge (mayo, plain yogurt, mustard, chives, honey, garlic) I was able to put together a quick and delicious Cole slaw.  

Garden Spring Rolls for Tomorrow

Sundays tend to be prep days for me for the upcoming week.  I work a very long day on Mondays so while I prepped the coleslaw I decided to make some spring rolls that I could quickly and easily eat during my busy day. 

Using swiss chard from the garden as the wrapper helped me make use of even more things in my garden.  I gave the chard a quick dip in boiling water and then added the filling before rolling them up.  You could add anything to these rolls that suits you. 

Shredded carrots and cabbage, some cooked garbanzo beans, chives, and fermented beets are what I had on hand.  I stored them in a container and made a quick peanut sauce (rice vinegar, sesame oil, soy sauce, honey) to dip them in.

When Monday came and I was super busy I was very thankful to have the prepared food on hand.  

Simple Lacto-Fermented Purple Cabbage For Later

I still had more shredded cabbage and carrots left so I decided to ferment them for later.  Lacto-fermented veggies are full of beneficial probiotics not to mention it is a great way to preserve things for later. 

In a bowl I added the carrots and cabbage along with some garlic and chives for a little extra flavor. I then sprinkled with salt.  I transferred the mix to a mason jar and made sure to push it down.  You could use a wooden spoon or the tamper from a blender.  As you push down liquid will rise above the cabbage. 

Once the jar is full I topped with a cabbage leaf to make sure everything stayed below the brine.  Then I placed a weight on top and put on a lid.  A ferment like this will stay on the counter around 3-5 days and then it can be transferred to the fridge.  You could enjoy this as a side dish to a meal such as tacos or on top of avocado toast.

Preparing the cabbage in multiple ways made sure that none of the food that I worked so hard to grow went to waste. Let me know in the comments other tips/tricks you find to be helpful for meal prep.  

If you’re interested in more lacto-fermented foods check out these homemade pickles. https://beetnberrylife.com/simple-healthy-lacto-fermented-pickles-to-preserve-the-garden-harvest/

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Quick and Simple Homemade No Recipe Roasted Spaghetti Sauce

Tomatoes, peppers, and onions, on roasting pan

Believe me…you’re going to want to try this quick and simple homemade roasted spaghetti sauce when your garden tomato plants are in full swing.  If you are new to gardening let me tell you tomatoes are worth growing because they are high yield plants.  One plant is going to give you dozens and dozens and dozens of tomatoes!  We all know a fresh tomato blows away anything you can get at the store…that alone makes them worthy of growing.

No Recipe Benefits

This roasted spaghetti sauce in particular has many benefits.  The first is that you can use any variety or size of tomato.  You don’t have to stick to the Roma tomatoes that spaghetti sauce typically calls for.  From small cherry, to big beefsteak, to plum tomatoes any and all will do.  The color doesn’t matter either.  You can include red, orange, or yellow…whatever color ripe tomato you have is great.  I grow small Sungold tomatoes in my garden because I absolutely love their flavor and sweetness.  They make a great addition to this sauce.

Homemade Sauce and Bonus Juice

Making a traditional stovetop sauce can take a fair amount of simmering time to thicken.  This sauce is made roasting the tomatoes in the oven which allows for two things.  One, the tomatoes will be done after about 20-30min.  Two, you will end up with tomato juice as well.  I don’t know about you but getting two things accomplished at the same time is my kind of multitasking.

Getting Creative with Optional Additions

While you’re gathering your tomatoes take a stroll through your garden and see what other things you have that need to be used or that you think would be a good addition.  I like to add some sort of onion.  It could be a yellow onion, scallion, leek, or even chives.  Peppers are a wonderful addition.  You could add a sweet green, yellow, orange, or red pepper.  Summer squash such as zucchini, yellow, or patty pan are also great to include and trust me the picky eaters in your life won’t even know.  If you have herbs growing…gather some of them.  Basil, oregano, sage, thyme, and rosemary are all great options.  Garlic is also fantastic.  If you have whole cloves great.

Roasting the Sauce

Grab a couple rimmed roasting pans.  Cut out the tops of the tomatoes and then fill your pan with up with them.  If they are really big tomatoes you can cut them in half or in fourths.  Cut up whatever onion you have or any squash or peppers.  Just try to cut things about the same size so things cook evenly.  Garlic you don’t have to peel till after it comes out of the oven if you don’t want to.  The skins will slide off easily then. 

This sauce is also good with just tomatoes so don’t feel you have to add in all the extras.  I like to drizzle some avocado oil over the tomatoes but it is not necessary if you don’t want to add it.  Roast in a 400 degree oven for about 20-30 min.  You will know it is done when the tomatoes start to char a bit on top.  

Blending the Sauce

Carefully remove the tray from the oven.  Using a ladle remove the liquid and put it in a jar.  Be careful because working with hot liquid can be tricky and no one likes a burnt arm.  If you are not in a rush you can let the pan cool a bit, which makes it a touch easier to work with.  Next transfer your tomatoes and extras into a high speed blender. I bought a refurbished Vitamix 10 years ago and it has served me well. The high speed blender does a great job at blending the skins of the tomatoes.

If you only have dried herbs that’s fine! If you only have fresh that’s fine too!  I like to add a combination of fresh and dried herbs and salt to taste.  Trust yourself and experiment with different flavors.  Any italian herbs will work in this sauce.  Taste and adjust to get the flavor you like .  Some people like a sweeter sauce and if so you could add a bit of sugar.  Cherry tomatoes help add natural sweetness to the sauce so I don’t find sugar necessary.  You may have to work in batches blending some then adding it to a pot and then blending more and tasting till you like the flavor.  I find the thickness tends to be pretty much spot on but feel free to add some of your juice back in if you need to.

Adjusting Sauce Color

If the color of this sauce is not as red as you’d like to due to the variety of tomatoes you used feel free to add in some tomato paste.  This will also impart a stronger tomato flavor.  Then you can add some of your juice back in if you need to thin out the sauce because the paste will make it thicker.

Saving the Sauce for Later

Now your quick and simple homemade spaghetti sauce is ready for you to use for dinner!  You could also keep it in the fridge to use within the next few days.  Feel free to make a ton of spaghetti sauce if you need to use up those tomatoes. It can be easily stored for later.  Just put in freezer safe containers and transfer to the freezer.  The sauce would be great in many Italian dishes and tomato juice is great to use in soups, stews, and chili.

Another way to preserve this sauce is by freeze drying.  Place on trays and let the freeze dryer do its thing.  Store the freeze dried sauce in a jar with an oxygen absorber to keep out moisture.  When you want to use just spoon out what you need and add enough water to get the consistency you like.  We like to use it for quick tortilla pizzas.  We have a Harvest Right and absolutely love it.  It is an investment but if you are looking to preserve garden bounty it is phenomenal for preserving individual ingredients as well as fully cooked things such as this spaghetti sauce.

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