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Sauce Day and Vegan Chili

Here at Earth + City we are determined to integrate and prioritize local produce into our recipes (see last weeks post, Charter Chats, for more about how we source and procure local produce).  There are a variety of reasons we do this - to support our economy + communities, the environment, for nutrition and health reasons but most importantly, it's because we love the colours and flavours they afford our food.  As we know, Ontario’s growing season is often quite short lived - the first of the the crops usually sprout up in May and the last fall harvests take place in October or November if we are lucky with the weather.  Some hearty crops like kale can live on beyond the first frost.  For a food business like us, this is a short time to reap what our Ontario farmers sow.  Over the years, we have done what we can to prolong our use of these local flavours.  We procure as many storage crops as possible, freeze a large amount of local fruits, herbs, vegetables + berries and in recent years have dabbled in preserving.  All have allowed us to spruce up recipes and products in the dead of winter and add flavour and surprise to our market fare and catering platters.

Consider this the beginning of a recipe blog series on some of the things we have preserved in recent years and how we creatively utilize them in our menus, or in today’s case, staff lunches!

Today’s preserve recipe has been a yearly tradition in my family’s history since I was born.  In recently years I have made it an Earth + City tradition each September - we call it Sauce Day!  It makes for such a fun staff day full of education, good smells, comradery, and, at the end, lots of delicious tomato sauce to enjoy. 

I am excited to share this family recipe for preserved tomato sauce, as well as one of our favourite staff recipes to make with this sauce - Vegan Chili topped with Cashew Sour Cream.  I hope you enjoy them as much as the Earth + City team does.  It certainly never lasts long in our kitchen’s staff fridge!


Yields 18-20 (1L) Mason Jars per bushel of tomatoes


1 Bushel of Ontario Roma Tomatoes

1 Bunch of Ontario Basil

Ontario Garlic Cloves (1-2 per jar)

Sea Salt (1 tsp per jar)

** We typically use organic roma tomatoes grown by our local friends Spade + Spoon or Sosnicki Organics


  • Wash and quarter roma tomatoes.
  • Puree straight into large stock pot with use of Tomato Puree Machine (see picture below - can be purchased from any kitchen supply store).
  • Bring pot of tomato sauce to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, on the stove top for 1-2 hours depending on desired consistency, stirring often.


  • In the meantime, wash and dry your basil and peel your garlic cloves.
  • Wash and sanitize your Mason jars (there are a variety of ways you can do this).
  • When sauce reaches your desired consistency - place garlic clove(s) and basil into the bottom of the sanitized jars and pour in the hot tomato sauce.
  • Top each jar with 1 tsp of salt and seal the jar. Typically, the sanitizing keeps the jars hot, they should seal automatically. If not, just submerge the lidded but unsealed jars into water and boil for a minimum of 2 minutes.


Yields 1 Large (approx. 4 Qt) Pot


2-3 tbsps of olive oil

1-2 medium onions, diced

4-5 cloves of garlic, diced

1 small celeriac, chopped (bite size)

2 carrots, chopped (bite size)

1 medium butternut squash, peeled and chopped (bite size)

1-2 sweet potatoes, chopped (bite size)

2 cups of mushrooms (we use crimini), sliced

1 can of organic diced tomatoes

1L jar of Preserved Tomato Sauce (can substitute tomato puree from any grocery store)

1L of water

3 tbsps of chili powder blend (not ground chillies as they are VERY spicy)

½ tbsp cumin

½ tbsp paprika

Salt + Pepper, to taste

2 cups cooked beans (we use kidney and black beans)


  • Put pot on stove on medium low heat.
  • Add olive oil and saute the onions, garlic, celeriac and carrots for 5-10 minutes.
  • Add other vegetables, tomato sauce, beans, spices and water and bring to a boil.
  • Lower heat and simmer for at least 1 hour until vegetables are soft and chili has thickened, stirring often.
  • Add more water while it simmers as needed. 

Serve and enjoy!


Yields 1 ¼ cup


1 cup cashews

1 tbsp lemon juice

1 tsp apple cider vinegar

¼ tsp sea salt

¼ cup water


  • Place cashews in a bowl and cover with water. Soak for at least 2 hours (overnight best).
  • Drain and rinse cashews.
  • Place in high speed blender - add water, lemon, vinegar and salt. Blend on high until smooth.

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