This Hidden Veggie Pasta Sauce comes together with only 2 ingredients and makes a delicious way to sneak extra veggies into your family’s favorite meals.
Tomato sauce is a staple in my house for all sorts of recipes, and today I’m sharing this easy idea to make your favorite homemade or jarred sauce even more nutritious.
Easy Dinner Idea for Picky Eaters
This pasta sauce packs a double whammy with delicious flavor and an extra serving of veggies in your family’s favorite recipes.
You can toss it with pasta, as a dip for baked chicken tenders, and all the other uses for tomato sauce. The best part, while this has veggies blended into the mix, the flavors are the same. Go ahead, pat yourself on the back.
Finding dinner ideas that provide nutrition AND satisfy both picky eaters and adults can be tough. We all know any kid will gladly settle for chicken nuggets any night, but sometimes we have to think outside the box when making sure they get their veggies.
Getting our kids to try new foods is not easy but it is possible! Learn how many parents are helping their kids learn to try new foods.
Getting Picky Eaters to Try New Foods
When it comes to serving up new foods to picky eaters, we know there is often pushback and an uneaten portion. While it can be frustrating, don’t give up, there are a few ways to present new foods that will encourage your kids to give it a try.
- Use your Kid’s Favorite Foods as a Vessel
This recipe is the perfect example, I use their favorite tomato sauce as a vessel to add veggies.
You can also do this by adding blended veggies into chili like my Paleo Chili, muffin batter, and smoothies. The veggies cook/blend into the recipe and are masked by the other ingredients; this way, veggies are consumed, and no questions are asked.
- Start Small
Simple is best, and a lot of new things on their plate all at once can be overwhelming. Avoid this by serving a small portion of whatever vegetable or dish you’ve made along with something they are familiar with, *ahem- chicken nuggets (hey, it works!).
- No Pressure
Pressuring our kids to eat or try new things is not a long-term solution. Instead, it causes the child to feel angst towards unfamiliar foods. Creating a no-pressure environment is key for long-term success, so offer the foods, make them familiar, but let your child go for it.
I have more details and resources to help kids try new food in a separate post and podcast episode, but these two can be the most helpful and best place for many parents to start.
Hidden Veggie Pasta Sauce Ingredients
As stated above, this recipe comes together with only 2 ingredients: tomato sauce and pesto. I like using my recipe for broccoli pesto since it’s more nutrient-dense than regular pesto but you can use basil pesto just as well.
Whether you use homemade or store-bought pasta sauce is up to you. I have this easy Slow Cooker Tomato Sauce that practically cooks itself, and you could even stir more veggies into the slow cooker like shredded carrot and zucchini, which cook down and help bulk up the sauce.
Add the pesto in once it’s finished cooking, and you have a solid, nutrient-packed option for pasta, pizza, and more!
How to Make Hidden Veggie Pasta Sauce
If you can stir, you can make this Hidden Veggie Pasta Sauce- it’s that easy. Use it for the classics like spaghetti and meatballs or to try a new recipe like my famous Pizza Chicken. Alright, back to the sauce!
Bring the tomato sauce to a simmer over medium heat in a large saucepot.
Add the broccoli pesto, stir to combine, and it’s ready to use.
Top it over pasta or as a dip with your child’s favorite snack.
Want to whip up this quick recipe together? Watch the video below to cook with me!
Make-Ahead Hidden Veggie Sauce
If you want to make this Hidden Veggie Pasta Sauce ahead, prepare the recipe as directed and refrigerate the tomato sauce in an airtight container for 5 days.
Anything longer and the sauce will need to be frozen in an airtight container for 3 to 4 months or canned and stored in the pantry for up to a year.
So now that you know the secret to a veggie-packed sauce everyone will love, what’s your first recipe to try it with? Can’t decide, here are a few ideas to get you started:
Hidden Veggie Pasta Sauce
- 4 to 6 cups tomato sauce
- 1 cup broccoli pesto or ½ cup basil pesto
- In a large saucepan, bring the tomato sauce to a simmer over medium heat.
- Add the pesto sauce and stir to combine. Remove from heat and use as needed.
- Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container for up to 5 days.