“ Brand: Suma / Type: Sauces / Food quality: Organic food „
One of my favourite sauces I always have in my cupboard as part of my armoury for creating healthy and quick family meals is the tomato based jar entitled Suma Basilico. You may not have heard of it because it is generally stocked in whole-food shops, and it is also available mail order from many places including my favourite www.ethicalsuperstore.com.
It costs £1.39 for a jar but you can also buy 6 from Ethical Superstore for a 5% discount.
Suma whole-foods are a favourite company of mine as they are a worker co-operative and they have been in business for 30 years now. This takes me back to the beginning of my days as a vegetarian, and I can remember them clearly in the early 80s. They are actually the UK largest whole-foods distributor. Every member of the team can multi task, they all make decisions and they are all paid the same, and it works well.
They are committed to the environment and they use energy from renewable sources only, and they are as green as they can be in all areas of the business. Also committed to fair-trade they have been dealing in this way long before some modern companies jumped on the bandwagon -great that they have mind you, but for this company it has been their life from their genesis. It is what they set out to do.
So Suma Basilico is a jar of delicious sauce made with chopped tomatoes, tomato concentrate, water extra virgin olive oil, basil, sea salt and onion, and is purely organic. It is vegan and gluten free, and is in every way a really convenient sauce made from lovely natural ingredients. As the tomatoes are cooked it is a brilliant source of lycopene which is thought to be anti cancer.
The jar is beautiful. It is decorated with plum tomatoes and basil leaves, and of course it can be recycled and is a generous 340g size. The lush green of the leaves and the intense red of the tomatoes make it look very appetising. Each jar contains about 175 calories.
When you open the jar the sauce smells divine. Fresh tomatoes and herbs abound and the Italian fragrance is bursting out of the jar. It has a flavour when you taste it like no other sauce I have tried, it is authentic and fresh and it has a tangy flavour which is delicious. It is thick and delicious and is ready to use.
What I buy it for is mainly for creating a very simple but delicious pasta dish which I create in 10 minutes.
Suma Basilico Sauce on Pasta With Fresh Oregano and Grated Parmesan.
Firstly I fry a large Spanish onion in a little olive oil. I find if you buy these large onions they are so much easier to chop up and they have a very intense flavour.
Then I add a courgette, but you could add any veg you have in the fridge as long as it cooks quickly.
I add the jar of sauce and boil some organic whole-wheat pasta in another pan in boiling water to which I add a drop of olive oil to stop it from sticking. You don't need to season the sauce as it has basil and onion in it, but I like the crunchy texture of the Spanish onion as the sauce is puréed.
Then whilst these cook I grate some fresh parmesan (By the way this is cheaper and much better flavour than buying it ready grated and if you buy a special grater for about £4 you can do it in no time. If I was making a lot I would use the food processor. )
Then the final topping. You drain the pasta after about 10 minutes, and pour the sauce over but the best thing to garnish is to buy some fresh oregano. I buy mine in Waitrose and you simply pull of the leaves and sprinkle over the top. This is a herb you can also grow in the garden and it really makes a great addition to Italian or Greek dishes. Top with Parmesan and there you have a wonderful sauce in 10 minutes, but one which has a much more Italian feel to it than just using a premade sauce from the supermarket. Everything in it is good for you.
The Basilico sauce also makes a great base on which to make a pizza, which I make a lot too, and if you add it to a tin of tomatoes and cook gently you can liquidise and it makes a really healthy tomato soup. I add it to casseroles and bolognese sauces, the uses are endless. It is really good spread onto ciabbata as a base for a toasted snack. When I make this I simply slice a ciabbata in half and spread it over one half. Then I put fresh herbs in the food processor such as parsley and oregano and pulse them for a couple of seconds just to chop them a little. Then I put them onto the sauce and top with feta. Into the oven in foil for 5 minutes on 400 degrees then 5 minutes with the foil off and you have a delicious Greek and Italian lunch to share with the family. This goes really well with a rocket salad.
I would never be without this sauce in my cupboard, and together with the ethical company it is supplied and distributed by, and its delicious fresh flavour it is perfect. It makes meals easy and you can create something you would be happy to eat in a restaurant in moments!