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Hidden Veggie Pasta Sauce

January 19, 2023

Got a picky eater on your hands? Sneak in an extra serving of vegetables with this hidden veggie pasta sauce. Just cook and blend ingredients and top onto your favorite pasta. Your kiddo (or adult!) won’t know any different!

Hidden veggie pasta sauce over penne noodles in a green kids bowl.

Lately I’ve been sharing a lot of kid-friendly recipes since I’ve got my own little picky eater under my roof. My once “will eat anything to matter the taste, color or texture” baby won’t touch a vegetable with a 10 foot pole.

Pasta on the other hand? Can’t get enough! Can you really blame her? So to ensure she’s getting proper nutrition I developed the perfect hidden veggies pasta sauce to sneak in an extra dose of veggies into her diet.

This recipe is the perfect mix of veggies and flavor but tastes just like tomato sauce! It can also be frozen into individual servings and stored in the freezer. Here’s how to make it:

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Anyone with a kid knows how challenging it can be to get them to eat their veggies. Yes – even the least picky of toddlers still don’t eat a whole lot! Some of this is normal, boundary-testing behavior but that doesn’t mean that as a parent you’re not stressed about them getting the proper nutrient intake.

What I love about this hidden veggie pasta sauce is that my kid loves it and I feel less stress about forcing vegetables on them. Sure – we still offer veggies and encourage them to try them but I feel way less of that push and pull when I know my daughter is still getting them secretly.

Even better – your kid will not taste them AT ALL! This just tastes like a delicious spaghetti sauce – they won’t know any better!

Ingredients in Hidden Veggie Pasta Sauce:

Canned tomatoes – 1 28 ounce can. You can also use fresh tomatoes if you prefer.

Olive oil – for cooking veggies

Garlic + Onion – For extra flavor but also provide immune-boosting and antibacterial properties.

Carrots– A great source of vitamin A for baby.

Bell Pepper– You can use any color but I prefer red peppers which are also a great source of vitamin C.

Spinach– a fantastic source of all sorts of vitamins and minerals and especially calcium.

Herbs + Salt – I use dried Italian seasoning (you can also use a mix of oregano and thyme). You can reduce or eliminate the salt if you’re concerned about sodium content for your kid.

How to Make Hidden Veggie Tomato Sauce:

STEP 1: COOK ONIONS + GARLIC

Heat a large saucepan over medium heat. Add olive oil and onions. Cook onions until translucent (3-5 minutes). Add in garlic and cook for an additional minute.

sauteed onions and garlic in a white dutch oven.

STEP 2: COOK REMAINING VEGGIES

Add in carrots and bell pepper. Cook for 2 more minutes and then stir in spinach and cook until wilted.

Cooked onion, garlic, carrot, red bell pepper and spinach in a white dutch oven.

STEP 3: ADD TOMATOES + HERBS

Add herbs, salt (if using), canned tomatoes and water/stock. Bring to a boil and then lower to a simmer for 15-20 minutes. Turn off heat and allow sauce to cool to room temperature.

Overhead photograph of a recipe for pasta sauce for kids in a white dutch oven pot.

STEP 4: BLEND SAUCE

Add sauce to a blender and blend to your desired consistency. You may need to do this in batches depending on the size of your blender.

Blended hidden veggie pasta sauce in a blender.

How to Serve For Babies + Toddlers:

You can serve your pasta sauce on any type of pasta. Sprinkle with cheese and fresh basil (if desired).

If your child is 6-9 months go for an easy pasta to grab like penne or fusili.

If your baby is a little older use a smaller pasta like macaroni for practicing the pincer grasp.

This hidden veggie pasta sauce also works great on pizza or as a dipping sauce for mozzarella sticks.

Hidden veggie tomato sauce in a red 3 oz ice cube tray for freezing.

Can You Freeze Hidden Vegetable Pasta Sauce?

Absolutely! I like to freeze mine in 3 oz cubes for individual servings. I use a silicone mould (like this one) and freeze for 4 hours. Then I place them in a ziplock bag in the freezer for up to 6 months.

I allow my tomato sauce to thaw in a bowl for several hours. Then I’ll serve over an individual serving of pasta or pizza.

Alternatively you can freeze your hidden veggie pasta sauce in any airtight container in the freezer.

Print

Hidden Veggie Pasta Sauce

Got a picky eater on your hands? Sneak in an extra serving of vegetables with this hidden veggie pasta sauce. Just cook and blend ingredients and top onto your favorite pasta. Your kiddo (or adult!) won’t know any different!

  • Author: Davida Lederle
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 8 servings 1x
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Cook
  • Cuisine: Italian
  • Diet: Vegan

Ingredients

Scale

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small white onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 large carrot, peeled + chopped
  • 1 bell pepper, seeded + chopped
  • 4 cups baby spinach
  • 1 tbsp Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup water or stock (chicken or veggie)

Instructions

  1. Heat a large saucepan over medium heat. Add olive oil and onions. Cook onions until translucent (3-5 minutes). Add in garlic and cook for an additional minute.
  2. Add in carrots and bell pepper. Cook for 2 more minutes and then stir in spinach and cook until wilted.
  3. Add herbs, salt (if using), canned tomatoes and water/stock. Bring to a boil and then lower to a simmer for 15-20 minutes.
  4. Turn off heat and allow sauce to cool to room temperature.
  5. Add sauce to a blender and blend to your desired consistency. You may need to do this in batches depending on the size of your blender.
  6. Will keep in fridge for up to 5 days or see instructions above for freezing.

Keywords: hidden veggie pasta sauce, hidden veggie tomato sauce, hidden vegetable pasta sauce

overhead photograph of penne in a baby bowl with tomato sauce and sprinkled parmesan cheese

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