Updated: Oct 5, 2019
Prior to paleo, a lazy meal was cooking whole wheat pasta and dumping a can of sauce on top. I thought that was healthy once upon a time. Well, no more! We've cleaned up our diet by leaps and bounds and stick to a pretty strict paleo regime, albeit one that includes paleo-ized treats.
I still use this as a lazy-ish meal, even though it does take a bit more work than it used to, being made from scratch. I try to keep things pretty simple most nights, so a lot of my go-to recipes might take more ingredients than some of those other pinterest ones but they generally go together really simply.
When I make zoodles, I use my Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer attachment, and choose the wider 'noodle' plate. I prefer them to be a bit thicker, and they hold up better to sauteing that way. In the name of not wasting a drop, I usually use drippings from cooking the meatballs, if they are fresh made, or left over bacon drippings. If none of those are available I'll go for refined coconut oil, which doesn't lend any flavor of it's own.
After the zoodles have a touch of color and have softened a bit, they are done. It only takes a few minutes to get this part of the dish done, so I save it for just before plating up dinner.
I'll save the recipe for my meatballs for another post, but suffice to say they are made from scratch. Generally, I choose pork loin and use the food grinder attachment on my Kitchenaid, or the old hand-crank, depending on my energy level.
As for the marinara itself (recipe below!) my kids all prefer it smooth and as few chunks as possible. This seems to be a thing with most kids, because I know I did not appreciate chunky sauces as a kid, either. A simple immersion blender does the job with less risk of scalding while trying to pour hot chunks and liquid into a blender.
If you use dried herbs, instead of fresh, simply halve the amounts of those, since dried herbs are more flavor-dense.
6 Roma tomatoes
1 Beefsteak or similar sized tomato
1 large onion
3 celery stalks
1 cup pumpkin or other winter squash purée
4 garlic cloves
2 tablespoon fresh oregano
2 tablespoon fresh parsley
2 tablespoon fresh basil
2 tablespoons (not virgin) olive oil
Chop everything into roughly equal chunks. If you are planning to purée the sauce, size doesn't matter.
Instant Pot directions - Use the sautée feature to cook the onions in the olive oil. Once softened, add in the rest of the veggies and lock on the lid. Pressure cook on medium for 45 minutes and let it natural release.
Slow cooker or stove top - Sautée the onions in the oil until softened. Add in the rest of the ingredients and cover. Cook on low/medium low for 4+ hours.
Once done cooking, carefully purée with immersion blender if you desire a smooth sauce. If you're fond of chunky, serve as is!
Top with some nutritional yeast for a touch of cheesy-esq flavor.