Hidden Vegetable Spaghetti Sauce takes a favorite kid friendly – tomato sauce – and packs it full of extra veggies without their knowledge. Getting your kids to eat more veggies will be no issue when they are hidden in this sauce. Add the hidden veggie spaghetti sauce on top of your family’s favorite pasta with some meatballs and a sprinkle of cheese for a simple dinner, or top whole grain bagels with the veggie tomato sauce and cheese for a healthier twist on pizza bagels. This veggie pasta sauce for kids is a great healthy recipe for kids – no matter how you use it, you’ll love knowing that your picky eater is getting in extra veggies without the hassle.
I get asked a lot if my kids are ‘great eaters’. Which is a total valid question – as a blogger that focuses on healthier eating, picky eaters, and getting them to try new things.
The truth is, the reason I can talk to honestly about this topic is because I too have hit the stubborn kid wall.
You know, the wall when something that was your kids absolute favorite last week is now public enemy number 1. Most commonly, this happens with vegetables in our house.
The frustration is why you can find so many hidden veggies recipes on this site!
One week I can’t give Ryan enough carrots – steamed, raw, roasted, it doesn’t matter. He’s eating them faster than I can buy them, dipping them in his favorite Greek yogurt ranch dip, and I’m starting to worry if he’s going to start looking a little Oompa Loompa orange soon.
And then, just like that, it’s over. He’s picking carrots out of fried rice and can’t bear to even have them on his plate. Ahh, such is life with small children, amirite?
Because little about living with preschoolers is consistent or reliable, I have learned tips, tricks, and recipes to deal with fussy, stubborn eaters. Because you just never know when a veggie boycott is coming.
One of those boycotts is what spurred on this hidden vegetable spaghetti sauce. Ryan was having a week – you know, the kind where he only wants to eat neon orange fish crackers, juice boxes, and yogurt, because he’s a big boy and should be able to choose his entire diet, whether or not it totally messes up mom’s meal plan.
::insert eye roll and desperate plea to the heavens above here::
The only meal we could get into him was spaghetti and meatballs. So in a fit of exhausted and fed up fury, I blended up some random veggies I had in the fridge, cooked it into our normal sauce, and voila – a serving of veggies of picky eaters without the struggle. Can I get an Amen?
Tips for making Hidden Vegetable Spaghetti Sauce
- Use whatever veggies you have in your house, but lighter veggies will be less detectable and lighter veggies will blend right in.
- If you have leftover puree, either add it into the sauce or freeze the extras in ice cube trays. Add to smoothies and sauces as needed for the perfect hidden veggie add in.
- Don’t want to blend up the veggies yourself? Use baby food! Get the same outcome with even less work. Look for a brand that is all one vegetable, rather than a fruit/veggie mix.
- You don’t have to just use this on spaghetti – it’s great on pizza, (my kids love these healthy pizza bagels) blended served with grilled cheese, and as a dipper for mozzarella sticks.
This Hidden vegetable spaghetti sauce is now a staple in our house. My mom married an Italian American, so most of my Sunday family dinners consisted of ‘gravy’ and meatballs – something that has followed me into my own home. It’s such a family pleasing meal, and when you add a few extra hidden veggies to the sauce, it goes from a basic kid friendly dinner to a kid AND mom pleasing dinner for picky eaters. Win, win, win.
Honestly, sneaking veggies into sauce for noodles is the easiest way to get my kids (and most kids, in my experience) to eat veggies – mine love this veggie spaghetti sauce, but my Veggie Pesto Pasta Sauce and Veggie Alfredo Sauce are both huge hits.
Make hidden vegetable spaghetti sauce even more fun by making your kiddos’ meal look like their favorite character!Make it even more fun by using toppings to create fun faces! I used fresh mozzarella balls, a slice of carrot, and olives on top of my hidden veggie spaghetti sauce to make Elmo come to life on my Sesame Street obsessed kids’ plates!
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I like steaming my veggies because it keeps all of the nutrients inside (unlike boiling) and they blend smoother than roasting. I love this silicone vegetable steamer because it’s way easier to clean than the traditional metal.
What veggies go with vegetable spaghetti sauce?
You can really add any veggies into here, steaming them and pureeing ahead of time, but I find the sweeter veggies work best here. My favorites include..
- Bell pepper
- Golden beets (I find them to have a less “earthy” taste than red beets)
- Sweet potato – they will add a creamier texture
- Butternut squash
- Red cabbage
- Red or white onion
How do you make vegetable spaghetti sauce?
The key to hidden veggie sauce is to steam the veggies and puree before adding into the tomato sauce. This ensures that you won’t have any chunks that picky eaters will find and then refuse to eat. By adding the puree before you cook don the sauce, you make sure that all of the flavors blend together and the excess water that comes from the veggies cooks out.
Uses for hidden vegetable spaghetti sauce:
The best part about this veggie pasta sauce is that it’s so versatile – tomato sauce goes on just about anything, especially kid friendly favorites. here are some of my favorite ways to use this sauce:
- Pizza Chicken – a 4 ingredient, 15 minute dinner!
- How to Make Pizza Bagels
- Easy Minestrone Soup – sub the tomatoes for a cup or two of sauce – just adjust the seasoning a bit
- Dinosaur Homemade Pizza Pockets
- Pepperoni Stuffed Crust Pizza
Hidden Vegetable Spaghetti Sauce
Hidden vegetable spaghetti sauce is the perfect item to keep on hand for quick meals and a simple way to add more veggies to your picky eater’s diet – use in place of pizza sauce, pasta sauce, or any thing that uses tomato sauce.
Hidden Vegetable Spaghetti Sauce
Hidden Vegetable Spaghetti Sauce takes a favorite kid friendly - tomato sauce - and packs it full of extra veggies without their knowledge.
- 5-6 large carrots
- 1 bell pepper yellow, orange, or red
- 2-3 tbsp olive oil
- 3-4 cloves garlic minced
- 3 28 oz cans crushed tomato
- salt + pepper to taste
Steam or roast carrots and peppers. Blend with a little water if necessary until a smooth puree forms. Set aside.
In a large saucepan, saute the onions in the olive oil over medium heat until translucent.
Add garlic and cook another 1-2 minutes until fragrant.
Pour in cans of tomatoes and 2 cups of veggie puree.
Simmer at least 20-30 minutes, longer is better.
-This makes a huge batch since it freezes really well. Feel free to halve it as needed.
-Use whatever veggies work for you - carrots and bell peppers are sweeter and less likely to be notice.
Okay so tell me – it spaghetti sauce a staple in your house? What would you use this hidden vegetable spaghetti sauce on? Let me know in the comments!
More hidden veggie recipes that your kids might love..
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