The colorful vegetables that are available during the summer are one of my favorite things about the season.

During this time of year, I like to pack my plate with as many vegetables as I can, because I know that that six months from now, they won’t be as affordable or delicious, so I want to enjoy every single bite.

With a simple jar of pasta sauce, you can make a really quick, filling, and inexpensive meal simply by stewing a medley of vegetables in it for less than an hour.

This meal can then be served over polenta, pasta, or even a hearty piece of toast for a hearty supper. There is nothing simpler and more delicious than this.

What Vegetables Are Suitable

When I am preparing a recipe with multiple vegetables, I always make sure to pick a variety of colors so that there is a wide variety of flavor.

As a result, this morning I used yellow onions (white), zucchini (green), eggplant (dark/purple) and red bell peppers (red).

There are other vegetables that can also be used in this recipe that would make it even more tasty:

  • Spinach or kale
  • Mushrooms
  • Green bell pepper
  • Yellow squash
  • Asparagus
  • Carrots

Options for Tomato Sauce

Using pre-made pasta sauce may be easier than making your own. If you prefer to make your own, try my quick weeknight pasta sauce or a deeper slow cooker pasta sauce.

What to Serve with Tomato Sauce Vegetables

As a base for these vegetables and sauce, I whipped up a quick batch of parmesan polenta, but one could also serve them over pasta, mashed potatoes, or even put them over some toast for a hearty meal.

Overhead view of vegetables in red sauce in the pot.

Summer Vegetables in Tomato Sauce Recipe

With colorful summer vegetables simmered in a savory tomato sauce and smothered upon a bed of hot polenta, you have yourself a delicious and inexpensive summer dinner.

Author: Beth

Prep Time: 10 mins / Cook Time: 30 mins / Total Time: 40 mins

Servings: 6 (1 cup vegetables each)


  • 1 red bell pepper ($1.50)
  • 1 eggplant ($1.49)
  • 1 zucchini ($1.47)
  • 1 yellow onion ($0.32)
  • 1 24oz. jar pasta sauce ($1.50)
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil ($0.32)
  • 4 cloves garlic ($0.32)
  • 1/4 tsp pepper ($0.03)
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning ($0.10)
  • 1/4 tsp salt ($0.02)
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley (optional garnish) ($0.10)

Parmesan Cornmeal (optional)

  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal ($0.40)
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan ($0.36)
  • 5 cups water ($0.00)
  • 2 Tbsp butter ($0.22)
  • 1 tsp salt ($0.05)


  1. You will need to dice the onion and mince the garlic. In a large pot, add the onion, the garlic, and the olive oil. During the sautéing process, the onions should be softened over a medium heat.
  2. During the time that the onions and garlic are cooking, dice the eggplant into pieces that measure 1/2 inches in width. You should now combine the eggplant with the Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper in a pot and continue to sauté over medium heat until the eggplant is just soft.
  3. Red bell peppers need to be diced. The eggplant should now have softened, continue to sauté the slices of diced bell pepper in the pot.
  4. Cut the zucchini into 14-inch thick quarter-rounds and add them to the pot along with the food. Sautéing the zucchini just a couple minutes more, or until they just begin to turn soft.
  5. As soon as the tomato sauce is added to the pot, stir it combine it with 1/4 cup water. If you want your vegetables to be tender, you should simmer them in the sauce for 5-10 minutes, or until they reach the level of tenderness you prefer.
  6. In the meantime, boil a pot of water in a separate pot while the vegetables are simmering.
  7. Mix the salt into the boiling water, then add the cornmeal while whisking. The cornmeal should be cooked and whisked continuously until the cornmeal thickens (this should happen quickly).
  8. Dissolve the butter in the cornmeal, stirring until it has melted, and then add the grated Parmesan cheese. As soon as the ingredients are mixed together, taste them and adjust the seasoning according to your preference.
  9. The cornmeal should be poured into a bowl, then the vegetables and red sauce should be added. If you wish, you may garnish the dish with chopped parsley.


If you would like to try something else for the meal, the vegetables and sauce could be served over pasta, on hearty toast, or even baked into a potato.


Serving: 1 serving ・ Calories: 263 kcal ・ Carbohydrates: 35 g ・ Protein: 7 g ・ Fat: 12 g ・ Sodium: 1143 mg ・ Fiber: 8 g

The nutritional values shown here are only estimates. Please see our nutrition disclaimer.

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A bowl of summer vegetables in red sauce over polenta with a fork in the center.

A Step by Step Guide to Making Summer Vegetables with Tomato Sauce

Garlic Onion and Oil in the pot.

Four cloves of garlic should be minced and one yellow onion should be diced. Two tablespoons of olive oil should be added to a large pot along with the onion and garlic. Onions should be sautéed over medium heat until soft.

Diced eggplant added to the pot.

Prepare the eggplant by dicing it into 1/2-inch pieces while the onion and garlic are cooking. Add them to the pot with 1/4 tsp pepper, 1/4 tsp salt, and 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning, toss until they begin to soften, and cook for another five to ten minutes.

Diced bell pepper added to the pot.

I add dice one red bell pepper to the pot and continue to sauté it until gets soft.

Chopped zucchini added to the pot.

One zucchini should be sliced into 1/4-inch thick quarter-rounds. The zucchini should be added to the pot and sautéed just until the zucchini gets soft, but not until it becomes mushy.

pasta sauce being poured into the pot.

Add one 24 oz. Put the red sauce jar (3 cups) into a pot with 1/4 cup water and stir to combine.

Simmered vegetables in red sauce in the pot.

Approximately 10 more minutes should be needed for the vegetables to simmer in the red sauce. Salt to taste and adjust the seasoning according to your preferences.

Cornmeal being poured into a pot of boiling water with a whisk.

Bring 5 cups of water to a boil if you want to serve the vegetables over polenta. Add one cup of cornmeal while whisking once the water has come to a boil. Stir in one teaspoon salt and one teaspoon pepper at the end. Continue cooking and whisking until it thickens (this takes only a few minutes).

Butter added to cooked cornmeal.

Combine thickened cornmeal with two tablespoons butter.

Grated Parmesan being sprinkled over the cornmeal.

Finally, Stir in ¼ cup grated Parmesan. Depending on your taste, you may wish to adjust the seasoning of the cornmeal.

Close up overhead view of cornmeal and vegetables in red sauce in a bowl with a fork on the side.

Add about ⅔ cup of the cornmeal to a bowl and top with a little of the vegetables in red sauce. Add some chopped fresh parsley and more Parmesan to the top. You’ll enjoy it!