Hearty Vegetable Base Mixture
- 1 large onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic crushed
- 2-3 sticks of celery, chopped
- 2 medium zucchini, diced
- 2 medium carrots, diced
- 600g pumpkin cut into small cubes
- 1 310g can tomato puree
- 2 x 400g cans diced tomatoes
- 2 level tsp dried mixed herbs or 2-3 Tbs chopped fresh herbs
- ¾ tsp sugar
- Salt and pepper
Prepare vegetables then heat a large non stick pan over a moderate heat. Spray the pan with cooking spray. Add the onion and sauté for about 3 minutes, then add the garlic and cook a further minute. Add the rest of the vegetables, cans of tomatoes and tomato puree, herbs, sugar and seasoning. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat, cover and simmer for about 30 minutes, or until the carrots are tender and the flavours infused.
Taste and adjust seasoning if required.
You now have a tomato veggie base that you can either use as is, as a side with meat or chicken, or pour over cooked fish, or you can make it into a vegetarian meal, as below.
If you want to make it into a complete vegetarian hot pot type meal, then either add 1 cup of dry red lentils with the veggies, etc and add extra water as you are cooking it, or add 2 x 400g cans of beans or chickpeas and additional water if you need it.
When serving as a hotpot, sprinkle a little grated parmesan cheese over the top and serve in soup bowls.
Other vegetables such as broccoli and mushrooms can be added towards the end of the cooking time. Basically use any veggies you have lurking in the veggie drawer in the fridge.
You can play around with the flavours and instead of herbs, add smoked paprika or other spices.