You like the title of this post – Super Healthy Tomato Pasta Sauce? You’re probably wondering what makes this tomato sauce super healthy? Isn’t tomato sauce naturally healthy since it’s made with a lot of tomatoes? You’re right – most tomato sauces are already on the healthier side, but I have bumped up the nutrition in this tomato pasta sauce even more by adding lots of vegetables to this sauce. I bet you can’t tell.
Although my kids have gotten so much better about eating vegetables over the years, it’s always a bit tricky when their friends eat at our house. Most of them don’t eat more than one or two vegetables or fruits. One friend said he “hates vegetables” and only eats carrots and celery. Another friend who stayed with us for four days recently said he eats two vegetables (edamame and broccoli) and one fruit (apples).
So, I challenged myself to figure out a way to make something that these boys would eat that was healthy and delicious without them noticing all the vegetables they were actually eating. Kids love pasta, so I figured that was an easy place to start. A few weeks ago, I made a Healthier Meat Sauce that was actually chock full of vegetables and fed it to my kids and their friends – they devoured it, thinking they ate some real meat sauce.
This time around, I made a tomato pasta sauce that was souped up with lots of fresh vegetables, and pureed them right into the sauce – packed with carrots, celery, mushrooms and red bell pepper. I’ve been using this Super Healthy Tomato Pasta Sauce in place of regular tomato sauce in Spaghetti with Meatballs, Baked Ziti, on top of pizzas and on Chicken Parmigiana. The boys (and their friends) haven’t noticed a thing ;).
Super Healthy Tomato Pasta Sauce
- 1 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium onion chopped
- 1 cup carrots chopped
- 1 cup celery chopped
- 1 red bell pepper chopped
- 10 ounces mushrooms chopped
- 4 garlic cloves chopped
- 3 28- ounce cans whole peeled tomatoes pureed in a food processor with all the juices
- salt and pepper to taste
Heat oil in a large saucepan. Add onion, carrots, celery, bell pepper, mushrooms, and garlic. Saute until onions are softened, about 3-4 minutes. Add tomatoes and bring to a boil; reduce heat to low and simmer for 30-40 minutes, until vegetables are soft. Use an immersion blender or food processor to puree sauce. Season with salt and pepper.
Angie@Angie's Recipes says
This is not only healthy, also lipsmackingly delicious, Jeanette.
Thanks Angie – this is a great sauce to have on hand – I’ve been sneaking it in everywhere I can. The vegetables actually add a lot of flavor to the sauce.
Brian @ A Thought For Food says
I could see myself dipping huge hunks of bread in this sauce. Though, I wouldn’t pass up a big bowl of pasta.
Brian – I think this sauce would be good with just about anything, it’s super versatile.
Cookbook Queen says
My 8 year old son is SOOOO picky about his veggies…but he loves pasta and sauce. This is the perfect recipe for us!!
I think your son should like this – I made this and served it to my son’s friends who said they don’t eat vegetables and they ate it all up with pasta.
Oooo, there’s nothing like a good tomato sauce. I like adding carrots to mine too. 🙂
Love that you add carrots to your tomato sauce too Sommer. I’ve been sneaking in vegetables left and right lately trying to get my kids and their friends to eat more veggies.
Russell van Kraayenburg says
Now I want spaghetti and tomato sauce! Yum!
This looks very yummy–we eat a lot of pasta sauce in my house. Homemade is the best! 🙂
Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) says
This looks like a great all-purpose tomato sauce to keep in the freezer.
That’s a great idea Lydia – I haven’t frozen any yet, but I’m sure it would freeze well.
Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen says
Sneaky! Sounds delicious.
Shirley @ gfe & All Gluten-Free Desserts says
What a great recipe, Jeanette! I love packing in more nutrition and flavor in spaghetti sauce. Will definitely be making this recipe! 🙂
Kelly Williams says
Thanks for the recipe! I love pasta dishes! I’ll definitely try this one of these days!
Jane Hermann says
Now why haven’t our schools been doing this for lunch programs? our government wants healthy and this is the way to provide it. when i scrape trays, all the vegtables go to the trash, they won’t eat them and we are so wasting food and money ! its not rocket science!
That’s a great idea Jane – I know what you mean – I hate seeing the kids throw their trays away full of fruits and vegetables.
I made this sauce and it was delicious. I had so much extra that I froze the leftovers. When I tried to reheat it, it was really runny. Any ideas of how to thicken it after its been frozen?
Lindsey, so glad you liked this sauce. I just made a big batch last week and used the rest to make lasagna for my kids while I was out of town. Did you try reblending the sauce? If not, tomato paste usually does the trick. Would love to hear what you try.
Jen P says
What kind of can tomatoes do you use?
Jen, it depends. I try to buy organic whenever I can. I also use boxed tomatoes if I see them. The tomatoes I used are whole, peeled tomatoes.
Thank you, Jeanette. I don’t use facebook otherwise you know I would vote for you.
Thanks for your support Liz – I appreciate it whether you can vote or not 😉
How many cups does this make? I’m guessing 4 or so?
I think it makes about 10 cups of sauce. You can freeze extras or halve the recipe.
I make a similar homemade sauce. My kids are a little older and have gotten much more open to veggies. As such, I’ve discovered you can easily add EVEN MORE “hidden veggies. ” For example, they are ok with small chopped green pepper in the sauce. I took that and ran with it! So my sauce includes fine chopped zucchini and spinach in addition to the other veggies. (They always assume it’s pieces of green pepper!) You truly can’t taste any of added veggies and have yet to have a single person notice. The recipe works for picky adults that say that they don’t like this veggie or that veggie.
1/2 cup finely shredded zucchini added into your standard brownie mix also makes for the moistest, tastiest brownies I’ve ever tried. My kids actually say that it’s the best brownie…of course I had them try I’m home before they found out what exactly it was in them. LOL now they even love helping me make the “healthy brownies” as they call them.
Love all the additional veggies you add to your sauce, and zucchini to brownies! Thanks so much for sharing!
Wow, I just tried this sauce with my picky toddler and preschooler and they love it! Thank you so much! I’ll be freezing the leftovers tonight for sure 🙂
Darlene, so glad your kids enjoyed this sauce – I’ve made this for my son’s friends who refuse to eat vegetables and they love it ;).