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Tuesday
Jul222008

Recipe: Hidden Vegetable Pasta Sauce

As a follow-up to my post on Picky Eaters and the Hidden Vegetable Controversy, I thought I would share my home grown recipe for hidden vegetable pasta sauce. The ground beef is a key texture masker in this recipe, so I wouldn't leave it out unless you are going to puree everything. However, vegetarians could replace it with a soy equivalent.

Ingredients

  • 1 red bell pepper (or 2 carrots) 

  • 1 medium zucchini

  • 1 small onion

  • 1 clove of garlic

  • 1 pound of lean ground beef

  • 1 jar of tomato sauce (we like PC Organics Tomato and Basil)

  • 2 tbsp of olive oil

  • salt and pepper to taste


Directions

The vegetable preparation has several options, depending on how picky your little one is. You can start with a puree, work up to grated veggies, and then to chopped veggies.

  • Option 1 - Puree: Peel the zucchini (and carrots if using). Finely chop the red pepper, zucchini, onion and garlic (grate the carrots if using). Saute the vegetables in olive oil until tender. Transfer them to a food processor and puree them, adding a very small amount of water if required for consistency.

  • Option 2 - Grate: Peel the zucchini (and carrots if using). Grate or shred (in food processor) all of the vegetables. Saute the vegetables in olive oil until tender. Set aside.

  • Option 3 - Chop: Peel the zucchini (and carrots if using). Finely chop the red pepper (carrots if using), zucchini, onion and garlic. Saute the vegetables in olive oil until tender. Set aside.


Advanced option: Once your child starts to get used to this recipe, you can slowly start leaving the zucchini peel on. It will create offending specs of green in the pasta sauce, so I recommend starting out by leaving only 1/4 of the peel on and then slowly increasing the amount of the peel that you leave on each time until you are leaving the whole peel on. A lot of the nutrients are in the peel, so you definitely want to work towards this.

Once your vegetables have been prepared and put to the side, brown the meat. Once the meat is fully cooked, mix it with the vegetables and the tomato sauce in a large pot. Let the mixture cook for a while until it is hot and all of the tastes have mixed nicely. If you were using Option 3 for the veggies and used carrots, keep cooking until they are fully cooked and nice and soft.

Season with salt and pepper and serve on top of your child's favourite pasta. We let our kids choose which noodles we will use out of a selection in the cupboard. Add grated cheese if desired. We prefer freshly grated Parmesan.

Enjoy!
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Reader Comments (3)

[...] phdinparenting wrote a fantastic post today on “Recipe: Hidden Vegetable Pasta Sauce”Here’s ONLY a quick extractAs a follow-up to my post on Picky Eaters and the Hidden Vegetable Controversy, I thought I would share my home grown recipe for hidden vegetable pasta sauce. The ground beef is a key texture masker in this recipe, so I wouldn’t leave … [...]

My son loved this recipe. I made a huge batch and froze it into portions and when we have pasta, he gets his own special, healthy pasta sauce full of veggies and no preservatives.
Love it! I also made homemade turkey meatballs which i froze and then i take out 1 or 2 and add to sauce.

February 11, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterkathy

I'm so glad you liked the recipe, Kathy. Thanks for letting me know. :)

February 11, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterphdinparenting

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