Hidden Veggies Pasta Sauce

by Eat Well with Lex

Are you tired of the daily battle to get your kids to eat their vegetables? Well, we’ve got the perfect solution for you – a delicious, creamy pasta sauce that’s not only nutritious but also packed with hidden veggies. Say goodbye to dinnertime struggles and hello to a meal that’s not only toddler-approved but loved by the whole family.

This roasted vegetable pasta sauce is a smooth, luscious, creamy sauce packed with fresh, nutritious veggies. The sauce can be used in various pasta dishes, pizzas, casseroles, or even as a dip, providing a versatile and nutritious addition to family meals.

If you’re looking for more tasty ways to incorporate vegetables into your kids diet, try my Cheesy Spinach Pasta Sauce for Toddlers recipe next.

close up view of hidden vegetable pasta sauce

This pasta sauce is a game-changer in my home. Everyone love it, and it’s our meal prep superstar. I like to meal prep a batch for the week and use it in dishes like casseroles, lasagna, pizza and even make it into a soup. But here is my magic trick: it makes the best mac and cheese that my two year old absolutely loves. Just add a sprinkle of cheddar cheese and kids will think its the best mac and cheese ever.

What is Hidden Veggie Pasta Sauce?

Hidden veggie pasta sauce is a cleverly crafted creamy sauce that incorporates various vegetables, often roasted, then pureed into a traditional pasta sauce. The beauty lies in its ability to sneak in extra nutrients without sacrificing taste. This is particularly popular for families with picky eaters, especially children who may be resistant to consuming vegetables in their whole form.

The vegetables used in hidden veggie pasta sauce can vary, but common choices include carrots, zucchini, spinach, bell peppers, and onions. These vegetables are often chosen for their mild flavors and the ease with which they can be blended or incorporated into the sauce without altering its texture significantly.

Why Parents Love This Hidden Veggie Pasta Sauce

  • Sneaky Nutrition: This pasta sauce is a stealthy way to incorporate a variety of vegetables into your child’s diet.
  • Toddler Approved: The creamy texture and rich flavor of this sauce make it a winner even for the pickiest of eaters. Kids won’t even realize they’re eating veggies.
  • Freezer-friendly: Whip up a batch and incorporate it into various recipes throughout the week because this is great for meal prep.
  • Great for the Entire Family: Most believe hidden veggie pasta sauce is for kids only but everyone in your household will enjoy the sauce and its benefits; babies, toddlers, kids, and parents, alike! 
  • Customizable: This recipe is a great way to use up produce in the fridge because it takes a medley of veggies to make. And if you prefer certain kinds, you can easily add them to the mix.
overhead view of a bowl of pasta tossed in hidden veggie pasta sauce

Recommended Tools

tools used to make hidden veggie pasta

Ingredients

  • Zucchini
  • Carrot
  • Red Bell Pepper
  • Tomatoes: Use three ripe tomatoes or about eight cherry tomatoes sliced in half.
  • Yellow Onion
  • Garlic Cloves
  • Seasoning: I use a delicious blend of sea salt (optional), ground black pepper, smoked paprika, oregano and dried thyme. Feel free to taste and adjust the seasonings as you go. The salt isn’t necessary. If preparing for a baby, omit the salt.
  • Oil: Use avocado oil or extra virgin olive oil when roasting the vegetables. Use a high-quality oil like Primal kitchen avocado oil.
  • Coconut Milk: This healthy fat provides a smooth, velvety texture.
  • Broth: Use vegetable broth for blending.
  • Grated Parmesan Cheese or Cheddar Cheese (optional)

How to Make Hidden Vegetable Pasta Sauce

Roast Veggies: Preheat your oven to 400°F (200°C). Toss the chopped carrots, zucchini, onion, bell pepper and garlic cloves with 1 tablespoon of avocado oil. Spread them evenly on a baking sheet and roast for about 25-30 minutes or until the veggies are tender and slightly caramelized.

seasoned vegetables
roasted vegetables

Blend Veggies: Once the vegetables are done, allow them to cool for about 5 minutes then transfer them to a blender or use an immersion blender with coconut milk and vegetable broth. Blend until smooth.

If the sauce is too thick, you can add more water or broth to achieve your desired consistency. Adjust salt and pepper to taste.

Transfer the sauce to a jar or airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3-5 days. For an immediate serving, combine the sauce with cooked pasta in a saucepan, ensuring the pasta is thoroughly coated. Sprinkle a bit of parmesan or cheddar cheese for an extra creamy touch. Stir well until the cheese is melted and fully incorporated.

4 step visual of how to make hidden vegetable pasta sauce

Variations and Substitutes

  • Add Meat: Make a hidden vegetable meat sauce, adding ground beef, ground turkey, or ground chicken.
  • More Vegetables: You can experiment with other veggies. Anything that steams, roasts, and blends well together will work. I suggest trying cauliflower, kale, spinach, red onions, eggplant, or squash.
  • Make It Spicy: Add red pepper flakes or cayenne pepper for a kick of heat.
  • Other Cheeses: You can add cheddar cheese in order to make it taste similar to mac and cheese.
  • Dairy-Free: If you like cheese but want to make the sauce without it, use nutritional yeast instead. It is a great plant-based option.

Pro Tips

  • Season the veggies really well before roasting them.
  • Cut the vegetables into similar-sized pieces so they cook at an even rate.
  • Roast the veggies until they are soft. This makes the blending process easier.
  • If the sauce is too thick, add more coconut milk or vegetable broth.
  • For a thicker sauce, add beans like chickpeas or white beans. This also adds protein.

How to Serve Hidden Veggie Pasta Sauce

  • Toss it in pasta. 
  • Spread over pizza.
  • Use it as the base of a soup. (Thin out the sauce with vegetable broth or additional coconut milk.) 
  • Simmer it with cooked ground meat or meatballs.
  • Layer the sauce into lasagna.

Can Hidden Veggie Pasta Sauce Be Made Ahead?

Absolutely! Hidden veggie pasta sauce is an excellent candidate for making ahead of time, which can save you time and make meal preparation more convenient. It can be stored in the fridge or freezer and used later. See below for details.

Storing Leftovers

Store leftover hidden veggie sauce in an airtight container for up to 5 days or in the freezer for 2 months. I like to store the sauce in mason jars or a stasher bowl

To defrost, place the sauce in the fridge overnight or place the storage container in a bowl of hot water. Once defrosted, transfer to a saucepan and reheat on the stove. If stored in a stasher, you can partially seal the bag, then place it in a pot of boiling water for about 10 minutes.

plated hidden vegetable pasta

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Will my kids notice the veggies in the sauce?

Most likely not! The vegetables are roasted and pureed blending seamlessly into the sauce. The rich flavor and creamy texture help disguise any veggie presence.

How can I encourage my picky eater to try this sauce?

Involve your child in the preparation process, making it a fun activity. Additionally, emphasize the delicious taste and creamy texture, highlighting the sauce’s ability to make their favorite dishes even more enjoyable.

Can I use this sauce for baby food?

Yes, the hidden veggie pasta sauce can be suitable for babies. Ensure the vegetables are well-cooked and consider omitting or reducing salt and spices for very young children. Always check with your pediatrician if you have specific concerns about introducing new foods to your baby’s diet.

At what age can I make this for my baby?

I recommend serving hidden vegetable sauce to babies 9 months and up.

Is hidden veggie pasta sauce toddler-approved?

Yes! Many parents find that this sauce is a hit with toddlers. It’s smooth texture and mild taste make it appealing to little ones who may be picky eaters.

More Hidden Veggie Recipes for Toddlers:

Veggie Chocolate Muffins (3 Hidden Veggies)

Vegetable Chicken Fingers for Babies

Kid-Friendly Lentil Soup with Veggies

DID YOU MAKE THIS HIDDEN VEGETABLE PASTA SAUCE RECIPE?

Leave a star rating and comment below to let us know your thoughts. You can also share the recipe on Instagram and tag @eatwell.withlex.

close up view of a bowl of hidden veggie pasta sauce

Hidden Vegetable Pasta Sauce

Hidden veggie pasta sauce is a cleverly crafted creamy sauce that incorporates various vegetables, often roasted, then pureed into a traditional pasta sauce. This is particularly popular for families with picky eaters, especially children who may be resistant to consuming vegetables in their whole form.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Course Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine Italian
Servings 5

Equipment

Ingredients
  

  • 1 large zucchini chopped
  • 1 cup Carrot peeled and chopped
  • 1 Red Bell Pepper
  • 2 Ripe Tomatoes sliced in half
  • 1 Small Yellow Onion
  • 2 Garlic Cloves
  • ½ tsp Sea Salt optional
  • ¼ tsp Ground Black Pepper
  • ½ tsp Smoked Paprika
  • ½ tsp Dried Thyme
  • 2 tbsp Avocado Oil or Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • ½ cup Coconut Milk
  • 1/3 cup Vegetable broth

Instructions
 

  • Preheat your oven to 400°F (200°C). Toss the chopped carrots, zucchini, onion, bell pepper and garlic cloves with 1 tablespoon of avocado oil. Spread them evenly on a baking sheet and roast for about 25-30 minutes or until the veggies are tender and slightly caramelized.
  • Once the vegetables are done, allow them to cool for about 5 minutes then transfer them to a blender or use an immersion blender with coconut milk and vegetable broth. Blend until smooth.
  • If the sauce is too thick, you can add more water or broth to achieve your desired consistency. Adjust salt and pepper to taste.
  • Once the vegetables are done, allow them to cool for about 5 minutes then transfer them to a blender with coconut milk and blend until smooth. Taste and adjust the seasoning if needed.
  • Transfer the sauce to a jar or airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3-5 days.
  • For an immediate serving, combine the sauce with cooked pasta in a saucepan, ensuring the pasta is thoroughly coated. Sprinkle a bit of parmesan or cheddar cheese for an extra creamy touch. Stir well until the cheese is melted and fully incorporated.
DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE?Share your creations on Instagram! Tag us @Eatwell.withlex and use #eatwellwithlex! Don’t forget to leave a star rating and comment.

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Recipe Rating




6 comments

Rasta Pasta with Jerk Chicken | Eat Well With Lex March 6, 2023 - 9:03 am

[…] Hidden Vegetable Pasta Sauce […]

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Mia August 26, 2023 - 7:10 pm

5 stars
Made this without the cheese, and it was absolutely delicious! I could eat it by itself but it was incredible on pasta and I’m planning on using it as a sauce for other things as well. Absolutely perfect!

Reply
Eat Well with Lex August 28, 2023 - 7:06 pm

I am happy to hear that you enjoyed this recipe. I definitely agree, it is just as delicious without the cheese.Thank you for trying it.

Reply
Gretchen Bagwell February 7, 2024 - 3:00 am

This was amazing! My family loved it so much, I made a second batch immediately for the freezer.

Reply
Eat Well with Lex February 8, 2024 - 3:57 pm

Thank you so much Gretchen! This sauce is so bomb and i’m happy you guys enjoyed it.

Reply

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