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Posted on Jun 11, 2015 |

Rita’s Recipe: 15 Minute Marinara Sauce

Rita’s Recipe: 15 Minute Marinara Sauce

Using canned tomatoes and fresh herbs from the garden, you can make this marinara sauce in only 15 minutes! And kids can grow the herbs too.

Using canned tomatoes and fresh herbs from the garden, you can make this marinara sauce in only 15 minutes! And kids can grow the herbs too.

After listening to my segment on Vacation Bible School, a Son Rise Morning Show listener wanted a list of appropriate veggies/herbs to grow in containers for a children’s garden at church, to be started during VBS and tended throughout the summer by the kids. On this site you’ll find information about a Bible garden of veggies and herbs for kids.  Her eare some additional plants to add… and as the trend now is elevated gardens, both kids and older folks can grow produce.

Dinosaur kale/locinato kale, broccoli

Matthew 13:31-32 – “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which is the smallest of all seeds but when grown it is greater than the herbs and becomes a large plant.  The message is about how to grow our faith, from the tiniest spark of faith when we’re small to the fullest of life kind of faith as we age.  Kale and broccoli are members of the mustard family and produce flowers in the shape of a cross. The flowers are edible. The dinosaur kale is more mild tasting than regular kale and kids love the texture when they pick it. Broccoli looks like little trees when you break it apart.


2 Samuel 17:28 – “ They brought David…..serving bowls, wheat and barley flour, parched grain, lentils, honey, butter, cheese and beans.

We grow the bush variety of green beans and the kids can reach right down and pick them. They take less than a week to sprout from seed!

Onions, Garlic, Cucumbers and Melons

Fun to grow and all are mentioned in the Book of Numbers (11:5) – about how the Israelites, during their flight from Egypt, missed these foods grown in Egypt.

I like to give the kids the bottom part of green onions with a couple inches of stem still on. They already have roots so grow really quick for them.

For garlic, let them plant the garlic that seems to sprout this time of year. Plant with the green sprout poking out of the ground.

Melons and cucumbers are easy to grow, too. Both usually sprout in 7 days. There are varieties suitable for small spaces or containers. Try bush cucumbers. Pot them up and let them climb on a deck, or make a mound in the garden and plant several seeds.

Mint, a tithing herb

How about one of the newer varieties of mint, like chocolate, orange or banana? Really fun!  Talk about the importance of giving what we can financially to keep our parishes alive and well.  They can make easy candied mint leaves by brushing the leaves with water on both sides and the sprinkling the entire surface, top and bottom with sugar. Dry on wire racks until crisp.

Tiny tomatoes and basil

This is stretching the subject, since tomatoes were not part of the Bible diet. But basil was known in ancient Egypt and was a symbol  of mourning in Greece, where it was called the royal herb. Growing basil near tomatoes makes tomatoes grow really well.  Great on pizzas and pasta. Try cherry or Thumbelina varieties which are fast growing and take to containers as well as the ground.

Fifteen Minute Marinara Sauce

A popular recipe using basil and garlic grown in the Bible garden. If you like a sauce bursting with tomato flavor, this recipe is for you.  Here’s my version. By the time the pasta cooks, the sauce is done! Save about a cup of water from the pasta to add to the sauce after it cooks to thin it down a bit.

  • 1 can (28 ounces) whole tomatoes, pureed or crushed with potato masher (let the kids do this)  or crushed tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic or to taste
  • Salt and pepper
  • Basil – couple of 2” sprigs, minced  or a bit of dry, to taste – couple of pinches or so

Heat oil in a straight sided sauté pan or dutch oven (you need to make the sauce in this because the pans have more surface area on the bottom, allowing the sauce to cook quickly).  Add garlic and cook just until it smells fragrant. Don’t let it burn. Add sauce and basil. Bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer and put a splatter screen on top since the sauce may bubble up.  Simmer about 15 minutes and then add salt and pepper to taste.

This is enough sauce for about a pound of pasta.  We like to sprinkle Parmesan cheese on top of the pasta right before serving.

Rita Nader Heikenfeld writes a weekly syndicated column for the Community Press, appears every Thursday on the Son Rise Morning Show, and is the author of several cookbooks. An adjunct professor at the University of Cincinnati, she is Certified Culinary Professional and Certified Modern Herbalist,  the Culinary Professional for Jungle Jim’s Eastgate, and a media personality with a cable show and YouTube videos. In 2014 she was inducted into the Escoffier Hall of Fame. She lives “in the sticks” outside Batavia, Ohio with her family, where they heat with wood, raise chickens for eggs, and grow their own produce and herbs. You’ll find all her previous recipes featured on The Catholic Beat here.

Rita’s Bible Foods segment airs on the Son Rise Morning Show every Thursday morning at 7:22 am (rebroadcast Friday at 6:02 am). Tune in to hear her discuss the history behind each recipe and the scripture verses that inspired it. And of course, for cooking tips!

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