Are you looking for an easy (and maybe slightly sneaky) way to get more veggies into your family’s diet? Try this super easy, kid-approved Hidden Vegetable Sauce! Loaded with lots of different colorful veggies, it comes together in just 30 minutes! Perfect to make ahead for a quick, healthy dinner or whip up in the moment. Vegan, Whole30, Paleo too.Jump to Recipe
Have I ever told you guys about how I started my veggie-loaded journey?
Nope. I don’t think I have. Well, thats another blog post for another day. But the short of it is: We started drinking green smoothies because my husband and I realized we were kind of addicted to crappy processed food. And it was game changing! How we felt. How we ate. How we lived as a whole! And we became hooked on veggie-loaded smoothies.
Smoothies were kind of my gateway to a veggie-loading obsession. Once I saw how easy and amazing it was to add veggies into a simple smoothie recipe, I started looking for other innovative ways to get bonus veggies into my little family’s diet. I made some *really bad* veggie-loaded recipes that we simply won’t talk about. And some really awesome ones that I still use to this day! Like this Hidden Vegetable Sauce.
Can I added hidden veggies to premade sauce?
Truth be told, I started veggie-loading my family’s sauce by simply by adding pureed or grated veggies to commercially prepared tomato sauce. It was easy and did the trick. And I was utterly dazzled with how my family inhaled their dinner (sneaky veggies and all) without so much as a wrinkled nose or questioning eye. So, right away, I was SOLD on veggie-loading all the tomato sauce.
Since that season of life (probably 5ish years ago), I have since turned over a jar of tomato sauce and actually read the ingredients label! Now, don’t get me wrong. There are some pretty great pasta and tomato sauces out there on grocery store shelves made with simple, real food ingredients.
But, there are also many jars of tomato sauce that are full of less than desirable ingredients. Like sugar. And weird preservatives. And a slew of other things that I just wasn’t jazzed about feeding my family on top of their pizza or zoodles. So, I started exploring how to make my own tomato sauce. And you know what I discovered?
It’s pretty stinking easy! And delicious!
And while I not longer feel like I need to sneak my family’s veggies (they are used to them in all the food now), I still really love to load up our tomato sauce with oodles of them….because why not? Bonus veggies are always a good thing and I feel like all those awesome colorful plants really enhance the flavor and nutrition of our dinner!
Suggested adaptations for making hidden vegetable sauce
1. Get creative with the veggies! Don’t have zucchini? Add extra carrots! Have some broccoli that needs to be used up? Don’t be afraid to add that into the mix! This recipe is just a rough framework of what how you could veggie-load your tomato sauce….but I encourage you to make it your own!
2. Use “sneaky veggies” as a baby step. If you are hiding veggies from your family, that’s cool. It’s a great first step into getting veggies into their (or your) diets! However, I encourage you not to resort to ONLY hiding the veggies. Maybe after a few rounds of this tomato sauce (that your family will undoubtedly adore), leave a few chunks of veggies in the sauce for them to stumble upon. Or invite them to help you MAKE the sauce so they see how much they have been LOVING all these veggies! Once they realize they have been eating veggies all along and enjoying them, they might be more open to eating them NOT hidden.
Other recipes you are going to love
- Spaghetti Squash Pizza Casserole
- Instant Pot Creamy Tomato Hamburger Soup
- Ranch Chicken Spaghetti Squash Casserole
- Broccoli Tots
Hidden Vegetable Sauce
- 1 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 1/2 small yellow onion diced
- 2 cups zucchini grated
- 1 1/2 cups carrots grated
- 1/2 bell pepper deseeded and diced
- 1 1/2 cups chopped spinach, loosely packed
- 1/2 cup stock or broth
- 1 tsp sea salt or to taste
- 1 tsp garlic powder or to taste
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tbsp Italian seasoning
- black pepper, to taste
- 1 tbsp coconut oil
- Combine all of the ingredients in a large sauce pot. Stir a few times to mix everything together.
- Bring the sauce to a simmer over medium-high heat. Once sauce starts to bubble, lower heat and cook UNCOVERED for 20 minutes.
- Once done cooking, remove bay leaves. Use an immersion blender to puree the sauce to preferred consistency.
- Taste and add extra salt, pepper or garlic powder if desired.
- Serve over your favorite pasta, spiralized veggies or on pizza. Enjoy as is or add cooked ground meat or meatballs.
- Allow leftover sauce to completely cool before transferring it to an air-tight container. Store in fridge for up to a week or freeze to have on hand for months to come.