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Tomato Season is Here to Savor

A hand holding a tomato.

Photo by Tiffany Hinton

With August comes a wealth of tomatoes in our gardens needing attention, accompanied by lots of back-to-school activity that can make us feel busy or even like there may be too much to get done before the month is over. The garden is in full production with crops ready every day for harvesting and processing. One of these abundant crops is tomatoes. This recipe is helpful on both fronts, using the tomatoes and other veggies to make meals easier and more convenient throughout the school year. This marinara recipe can be easily canned in jars or frozen in containers for up to six months. I love to freeze and can this sauce to use on spaghetti when we need a quick and easy midweek meal.

Also, if you find you have too many tomatoes, remember that local food pantries accept fresh produce donations from local gardeners. For example, Wheeling Township is looking for donations of ripe tomatoes, crispy cucumbers, zucchini and other homegrown produce. More ways to share your backyard or community garden harvest with local food pantries can be found at


Hearty Tomato Herb Marinara

Yield: 3 cups or 12, ¼ cup

⅓ cup coconut oil

Pinch red pepper flakes

4 crushed garlic cloves

½ cup chopped shallots

1 Tbsp fresh oregano, chopped

1 Tbsp fresh marjoram, chopped

½ Tbsp dried basil

1 tsp sugar

1 tsp sea salt

¼ tsp cracked black pepper

3½ cups of whole tomatoes

¼ cup grated carrots

¼ cup grated zucchini

½ cup chopped mushrooms

¼ cup freshly grated asiago cheese

2 Tbsp unsalted butter


Before beginning, hand-crush the whole tomatoes in a large bowl and set aside.

In a large, heavy-bottomed pot with a lid, on the stove burner with no flame, pour in oil and add red pepper flakes, garlic, shallots, most of the oregano, marjoram, basil, sugar, salt and pepper. Turn heat on and slowly bring up to hot. When the onions and garlic mixture starts to cook, stir and heat for five minutes.

Remove the pot from the stove and add the hand-crushed tomatoes and the juice, grated carrots and zucchini and chopped mushrooms. Turn heat to medium-high and stir until they start to boil. Then reduce to simmer, partially cover and simmer 90 minutes.

After 90 minutes, remove from heat and add the reserved oregano and asiago cheese. Add the butter to round out the flavors. Stir again and serve.

Serving suggestions: Mix with cooked ground beef, turkey, pork or plant-based soy crumbles for a Bolognese-style sauce. Serve over rice, grilled vegetables, gluten-free noodles or fresh roasted spaghetti squash for a different approach to marinara sauce.

Recipe courtesy of Tiffany Hinton, GF Mom Certified. Connect online at @gfmomcertified and listen to Tiffany’s podcast, Cultivating Guts, on Spotify or iTunes.