I had a kitchen full of red capsicums and tomatoes, thanks to raiding the discount trolley at a nearby supermarket. People of Melbourne (possibly Australia wide), check with your local Woolworths supermarket to see if they bring out a discounted produce trolley during the day! I know of a few that do this, though times and days may differ. The basic gist is that for a limited period (half hour usually) a big cart comes out with produce that would otherwise be binned the same day. You get one of the regular fruit-veg bags and fill it with whatever you like, mixed items allowed, and it costs you $4 per bag. I’ve heard some supermarkets in the western suburbs charge $3. The trick is to stuff as much as you can in the bag before securely tying it. The produce varies daily and if you’re lucky you can bag (har har…) some great bargains. I once calculated that I saved $36 on red capsicums, when they were about $9 per kilo. I ended up roasting most and made lots of meals to freeze. I’ve also saved about $25 on kale, even compared to cheaper small markets. Sometimes you see blergh fruit and veg mixed in but on the whole, the produce has been great quality. I also like to load up on pears that are ripe, then turn them in to pear sauce at home to use in place of oil in some recipes.
Okay, that’s the history there. So I roasted up the red capsicums, then when they were blackened I put them in a plastic bag to steam and then later removed the skins– your standard way of roasting peppers. As I like to avoid using oil wherever possible, I roasted these plain. For the tomatoes, I simply cut them in half and roasted them plain, making sure to later keep all that lovely liquid!
With a little garlic, onion and basil, this was all turned in to a tasty, simple pasta sauce on the stove. I used a teeeensy bit of oil to fry the garlic and onion, added in the chopped roasted tomatoes and peppers plus the liquid from the tomatoes, then served with some capers and olives.
I won’t write this up as an official Veganopoulous recipe cos this is the kind of recipe that’s been done a bazillion times by people all over the world (like my mum). But in general, this is what I did:
– Halve your red peppers, take out the seeds and roast peppers in a moderate oven until well blackened and all collapsed softie like. Put the cooked peppers straight in to a plastic bag and tie it up. When cool enough to handle, remove the skins and discard (unless there’s something you like to do with them).
– Halve your tomatoes, place them cut side up on a baking tray (sprinkle with salt, add some garlic or herb sprigs if you like– mine were totally plain). When done, remove to a bowl along with any cooking juices.
– Chop up the cooled peppers and tomatoes, taking care to keep the juices.
– In a frying pan, sautee some chopped garlic and onion (oil or water/broth, your choice). Add in the chopped peppers, tomatoes and any juices and heat right through. I was impatient and cooked this until it was hot, but if you want to gently cook it longer, go ahead. This was more a quick meal for me.
– Turn off the heat. Add salt and pepper to taste and fresh chopped basil and whatever else you’d like. Your favourite vegan Italian sausage would be welcome I’m sure. Generously plop the on your pasta and go for it.
Simple, delicious and oil free if you want it to be! Whoops, just realised there’s a black bit of pepper skin in the photo that looks like a spider. Anyway. The sauce tastes better the next day too 😀