A delicious and simple recipe for hidden vegetable sauce that is easy to adapt to use whatever vegetables you have available. Blended to smooth it’s perfect for picky eaters.
This is perhaps the recipe that has saved my sanity when it comes to getting my children to eat vegetables. There is no chance that mixing chopped vegetables in with pasta will work. Have you ever watched an 18-month-old picking every last piece of vegetable off of a single piece of pasta before eating it? Well I have, and it’s painful to watch.
We did go through a period with R when he wouldn’t eat sauce and so this didn’t work but thankfully we’re over that stage now and baby R either has skipped it or hasn’t hit it yet * keeps fingers crossed it’s the former*.
What I like about this sauce is that you can add pretty much anything – although I tend to stick with yellow, red and orange vegetables because green bits cause a drama at the dinner table in this house – and you can use it with many different things. Most commonly it’s been used as a pasta sauce (and although it pains me to say it Bob the Builder pasta is worth every single last penny), but we often mix in sausages or use it as a pizza topping instead of normal tomato sauce.
The recipe I’ve included below is a basic recipe but it’s up to you what you add in. Butternut squash always goes down well. Sweet potato is good but does change the texture. Aubergine and courgettes (zucchini) are also good but unless you peel them (and therefore lose some of the nutrients) you’ll still be able to see flecks of purple or green in the blended sauce. I’ve got around this before by saying that it’s herbs!
Here’s how to make hidden vegetable sauce:
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 2 small carrots, chopped (or you can use pre-cooked carrots and add them at the end)
- 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
- 1 red or yellow pepper, finely chopped
- 1 x 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
- 1 tsp dried oregano or mixed herbs
- 1 tsp balsamic vinegar or sugar
- splash lemon juice
- Heat the olive oil in a pan. Add the onions and carrot, stir well then cover the pan and cook for 5-10 minutes over a low heat until soft. Stir often.
- Add the garlic, stir and cook for a further minute.
- Add the peppers, cover and continue cooking on a low heat for 5-10 minutes until starting to soften.
- Remove the lid and add the remaining ingredients. Stir well. Bring to the boil then turn the heat down and cook gently until all the vegetables are soft.
- Purée into a smooth sauce.
I’ve been experimenting recently with leaving the sauce a little lumpier – even occasionally with the odd bit of chopped veg in it and it seems to be going down ok. For now…
If you like this you might also like my ultimate sneaky veg sauce recipe.