Food & Drink


One of my most favorite features of the summer season is all the bright and colorful vegetables. I fill the plate of my meals with as much vegetables as I can during this season since I am aware that in the next six months will not be as tasty or cheap. Cooking a variety of vegetables in a pasta sauce jar makes an easy, delicious cheap food that you can pour over the top of a bowl of polenta or the pasta dish, or even a hearty slice of toast. Easy and tasty!


If I prepare a recipe using many vegetables, I strive to have a range of shades. Today, I made use of eggplant (dark/purple) and zucchini (green) as well as Red bell pepper (red) and onions that are yellow (white). However, here are some additional veggies that can be great in this recipe:


Yellow squash

Green bell pepper

Spinach or kale




For keeping this dish simple, I made use of an jar of pre-made pasta sauce, however almost any pasta sauce that is red will be a good choice for this recipe. If you’d prefer to make your own sauce instead of purchasing a pre-made sauce, try this quick quick pasta sauce for a weeknight meal or a more substantial slower cooker sauce for pasta.


I created a quick Parmesan polenta recipe to serve as the base of the sauce and vegetables, however, they’d be equally delicious with pasta, potatoes mashed, or even a thick slice of bread.


Vegetables in Red Sauce

1 onion yellow ($0.32)

4 cloves of garlic ($0.32)

2 tablespoons olive oil ($0.32)

1 eggplant ($1.49)

1 teaspoon Italian seasoning ($0.10)

1/4 tsp salt ($0.02)

1/4 tsp pepper ($0.03)

One red bell pepper ($1.50)

1 zucchini ($1.47)

1 24oz. jar pasta sauce ($1.50)

2 tablespoons freshly chopped Parsley (optional garnish) ($0.10)

Parmesan Cornmeal (optional)

5 cups of water ($0.00)

1 teaspoon salt ($0.05)

1 cup of yellow cornmeal ($0.40)

2. Tbsp of butter ($0.22)

1 cup grated Parmesan ($0.36)


Slice the onion into pieces and chop the garlic. Add the garlic, onion and olive oil to the pot. Cook on medium-low temperature until the onions are softened.

While the garlic and onion are cooking, chop the eggplant into quarter-inch pieces. In the meantime, add the eggplant to the pot, along with all the Italian spice mix, salt and pepper. Let it cook on medium heat.

Slice the bell pepper red. When the eggplant has softened then toss the bell pepper diced into the pot, and continue to sauté.

Cut the zucchini into quarter-rounds that are 1/4-inch thick and then add them into the pot. Continue to sauté for just two minutes more until the zucchini begins to melt.

Pour the red sauce as well as 1/4 cup of water into the pot and stir until the sauce is well-mixed. Let the veggies cook in the sauce 5-10 mins or until they attain your desired tenderness level.

As the vegetables simmer cook, heat another container of water to the point of boiling.

When the water is boiling, mix in the salt and add the cornmeal while whisking. Continue cooking and whisking until the cornmeal has thickened (this is expected to happen in a short time).

When the cornmeal is thickened Stir in the butter until it melts Then incorporate chopped Parmesan. Stir until it is all combined before tasting and adjusting the seasoning according to your preference.

For serving, pour the cornmeal mixture into the bowl and serve with a cup of veggies and the red sauce. Sprinkle with chopped parsley if you like.