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Spaghetti with Hidden-Vegetable Tomato Sauce

Sometimes what you don’t know can help you, especially when it comes to getting vegetables on the table. Kids will always eat pasta with tomato sauce but they won’t always eat their vegetables—so it can help to magically, mysteriously hide them in the sauce. This is the sort of sauce that you may end up making on a regular basis, so it’s worth investing in an immersion blender. It really speeds up the works.

Serving:

Ingredients

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 onions, peeled and chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 28 ounce can whole tomatoes
a sprinkle or two sea salt and freshly ground pepper
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 carrots, peeled and shredded
1 bell pepper, any color, chopped
1 zucchini, shredded
few handfuls baby spinach

Instructions

Heat the oil in a saucepan with the onions and garlic. Sauté them until they begin to soften and caramelize. Pour in the tomatoes, toss in the salt and pepper, oregano, carrots, bell pepper and zucchini. Simmer for 20 minutes or so.
Stir in the spinach and continue simmering briefly as it wilts and heats through.
Purée the sauce with an immersion blender directly in the pot to minimize mess or with your food processor or blender. Reheat as needed, then cross your fingers and serve with your family’s favourite pasta.

Comments

  1. deb said: On Sep 27, 2013

    The amazing woman who runs the breakfast club at our little (JK-6) school uses this sauce to make quesadillas and minipizzas. The kids absolutely love them. We had to delayOh Canad and the announcements today because the lineup was so long! She served the mini-pizzas on English muffins with cucumber slices on the side. I truely believe kids love good food if you give it to them!

  2. Andrea said: On Jun 4, 2013

    Delicious!!!

    My 5 and 7 year old niece and nephew loved it with spaghetti. They had no idea what they were eating…they just thought it was regular tomato sauce.

    The sauce is actually quite orange once you puree it, so I add about 1/2 can of tomato paste and 1/2 jar tomato sauce (I prefer President’s Choice Quattro Formmagi) to add extra flavour and to make the sauce more of a red colour.

    I use a red bell pepper, I use at least two sprinkles of salt and pepper and I use more oregano (at least 1 Tbsp).

    I’ve had success with this recipe…I hope you do too :)

  3. Karen said: On Aug 20, 2011

    I was looking for a spaghetti tomato sauce with green & black olives that I had watched on the TV program.
    Would you please it sent it to me,
    Thanks,
    Karen
    love the show

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Variation

Just about any vegetable can be simmered until soft and then puréed into this sauce. Green vegetables will darken the colour a bit and might not impress some critics. Broccoli, fennel, even sweet potato can be grated in. For green-loving eaters, the baby spinach leaves may be brought out of hiding, kept whole and simply tossed with the hot sauce and the freshly cooked pasta. Instead of whole canned tomatoes (which are only cooked in the can), you may use the less-flavourful puréed, crushed or diced canned tomatoes (which are all cooked out of the can first and then a second time in the can).