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Hidden Veggies Pasta Sauce

Posted On 29 Aug 2011
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I’ve been making this pasta sauce for the better part of ten years but it wasn’t until we had a toddler that I thought about hiding vegetables in it. Or making double, or triple –  or dare I say quadruple! – batches.

As in, making way more sauce than I can use in one evening so I can freeze the extra and make my life easier in the future.

I love it when past me makes present me’s life easier.

Does that make sense?

Anyways, as I see it, there are 3 excellent reasons to make your own pasta sauce. (Which is very easy to do, incidentally.)

  1. You can add two cups of corn, peas, green beans and carrots to it without your toddler (or husband) being any the wiser. Yes, you could also do this with canned pasta sauce, but in that case you can’t control the flavor of the underlying sauce – and let’s face it, that IS important because you don’t want your pasta sauce to taste like peas.
  2. As I mentioned above, you can make huge batches of sauce, then freeze them for lickety-split dinners in weeks to come.
  3. Pasta sauce – especially tasty, homemade sauce – is incredibly flexible. Toss it with fettuccine, spread it on pizza dough, bake it with mozzarella cheese and ziti. Heck you can even use it as a yummy calzone dip! I’m sure there are even more possibilities.

Making your own pasta sauce may sound intimidating or like more trouble than its worth, but trust me, it’s easy and it’s worth it. Plus there’s something so satisfying about watching your family gobble up all those hidden veggies – especially if you serve your main course with a side of even more veggies! Double whammy.

Hidden Veggies Pasta Sauce (My Recipe)

Ingredients: Makes a lot of sauce (about 8 cups)

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 large yellow onions (about 2 1/2 cups), roughly chopped
  • 1 1/2 to 2 cups mixed frozen veggies (I like to use frozen bags of mixed carrots, peas, corn and green beans)
  • 1 28-oz can whole plum tomatoes
  • 1 28-oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 4 cloves of garlic, whole
  • 1/2 cup tomato paste
  • 7 tablespoons of red wine vinegar (more or less to taste)
  • 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons dried basil

Directions

In a large pot heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until lightly golden. Add your veggies and garlic cloves. Cook, stirring constantly, about 1 minute. Add the plum tomatoes, crushed tomatoes and red wine vinegar. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium and simmer uncovered for 20 minutes..

Add the tomato paste, sugar, oregano and basil. Stir, then simmer the sauce for another 15 minutes.

Remove from heat and blend with an immersion blender.

(You can also blend this sauce in a regular blender, but in that case wait for the sauce to cool completely and work in batches. If you try to blend  the sauce while still hot the top of your blender will pop off no matter how firmly you hold it in place. This has something to do with physics and expanding hot air or something, but suffice it to say I learned this lesson the hard way…and that’s why I have an immersion blender.)

 

About the Author
I'm a work-at-home mom and entertainment director for my son, a.k.a. The Munchkin. When we aren't doing art, singing songs or making something tasty in the kitchen we enjoy listening to podcasts and exploring the outdoors. I'm also slightly obsessed with coffee and love to knit. :)
  1. susan g

    I just sent this to my daughter, with an offer to make her a batch.  Sounds good for all!  She has tried ‘hide the veggies’ with some success for her 2 kids, but I know we need all the help we can get…

  2. Stacie

    I make this sauce all of the time!! My daughter loves it. Thank you for the recipe :) I freeze it in ice cube trays and just defrost a few when i need them. Thank you so much. I like to add a sweet potato too.

    • Ari

      You’re welcome! And I LOVE the idea of adding sweet potato. I’m going to try that next time. :)

  3. Sandy M

    My sons are 34 and 32 now and I used to add zucchini and broccoli to my pasta sauce. I would grate them and they blended in with the herbs. Great little secret that my boys never found out about.