Pasta with tomato & hidden veg sauce

Pasta with tomato & hidden veg sauce

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(47 ratings)

Prep: 15 mins Cook: 50 mins


Serves 4

Get your family to eat more veg with this superhealthy pasta sauce recipe which counts as 5 of your 5-a-day. The sauce is freezable too

Nutrition and extra info

  • Freeze sauce only
  • Healthy
  • Vegetarian

Nutrition: per serving

  • kcal381
  • fat3g
  • saturates1g
  • carbs79g
  • sugars22g
  • fibre8g
  • protein14g
  • salt0.35g
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  • 1 tsp olive oil
    olive oil

    Olive oil

    ol-iv oyl

    Probably the most widely-used oil in cooking, olive oil is pressed from fresh olives. It's…

  • 1 large onion, chopped



    Onions are endlessly versatile and an essential ingredient in countless recipes. Native to Asia…

  • 2 celery sticks, chopped



    A collection of long, thick, juicy stalks around a central, tender heart, celery ranges in…

  • 2 carrots, chopped



    The carrot, with its distinctive bright orange colour, is one of the most versatile root…

  • 1 leek, chopped



    Like garlic and onion, leeks are a member of the allium family, but have their own distinct…

  • 2 peppers, deseeded and chopped



    Also known as capsicums, bell peppers, sweet peppers or by their colours, for example red and…

  • 2 x 400g cans chopped tomatoes with garlic
  • 1 tbsp each caster sugar and balsamic vinegar
  • 300g dried pasta shapes



    Pasta is the Italian name for Italy's version of a basic foodstuff which is made in many…

  • Parmesan, shaved, and rocket, to serve (optional)



    Parmesan is a straw-coloured hard cheese with a natural yellow rind and rich, fruity flavour. It…


  1. Heat the oil in a large non-stick saucepan and gently cook the onion, celery, carrots and leek until soft, about 20 mins. Add the peppers and cook for 10 mins more, then tip in the tomatoes, sugar and vinegar. Simmer for at least 20 mins – the longer the better.

  2. Cook the pasta following pack instructions. Meanwhile, blitz the sauce with a hand blender until smooth, season and return to the heat to keep warm while the pasta cooks. Drain the pasta and toss through the sauce. Serve in bowls topped with shaved Parmesan and rocket leaves, if you like.

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Comments, questions and tips

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29th Sep, 2015
Oohh, I like the idea of adding lentils, will make a note for next time!
9th Feb, 2015
Have been making a version of this for years, with lemon juice instead of vinegar and a couple of tins of tuna at the end. Even better.
13th Sep, 2014
I think this recipe is a wonderful way to increase the veggie intake of kids and adult veg fearers alike, but it concerns me slightly that the BBC Good Food site is giving misleading information on vegetable portion sizes. This recipe will not provide 4 people with 5 portions of veg. According to the NHS Live well site 1 medium onion is 1 portion So you need at least 2 onions to give one portion each (presuming the onions are really large). 1 portion of celery is 3 sticks, so this would need to contain a whopping 12 sticks of celery for 4 people. 1 leek (white part) is 1 portion - so presuming you chuck out the green part (or use it in something else or bung it in this sauce - which is what I do) you either need 2 or 4 leeks. The 2 peppers are fine as half a pepper is 1 portion, and the tinned tomatoes actually exceed 1 portion per person - but that doesn't help much because only the first portion each day counts. You could live on tinned toms alone (though you wouldn't last long) but once you've exceeded 1 portion none of the others count towards 5 a day (or whatever the latest "a-day" count is). I am happy to admit that kids require smaller portion sizes so maybe that is what you meant - but I suggest you would do well to make that clear in the same place as you make the 5-a-day portion claims.
20th Aug, 2014
This sauce is just scrummy...I got my 2 boys to help and added some oregano. Made loads so I can freeze it.
17th Apr, 2014
This is so so good! I added two medium red chillies and it gave it a lovely kick.
michelle_30's picture
20th Mar, 2014
Mmm yummy! made this tonight and highly recommend! Easy to make but not as quick as id of liked but well worth the wait and large portions. Great for getting in 5 day! Try it
fayfumbs's picture
25th Jan, 2014
A very tasty, versatile sauce. Served it over pasta and homemade turkey meatballs. I wasn't going to blend it and leave it chunky, but it was a bit too thick. Glad I did blend it as the flavour was much better
20th Jan, 2014
I also added garlic to this, 3 cloves, I'd say it definitely needs it. It's an ok tasting sauce, a bit sweet for me, maybe next time if I make it again, I'll leave out the sugar as the carrots and peppers add enough sweetness for my taste. A bit disappointed after all the rave reviews but I guess it's a personal taste thing.
13th Nov, 2013
Wow! I have been trying to eat more healthier and find more exciting things to do with veg, this recipe appealed to me as I love pasta dishes too. Having just made a batch (easily enough for about 8-10 servings!) I cannot recommend enough. As I don't usually use peppers, I added an extra to finish off the pack and increased a few of the other veg for the same reason. I couldn't find leeks but added a parsnip and 1/3 of a courgette (zucchini). Followed timings etc but used my homemade garlic infused olive oil and three chopped up cloves as I didn't have garlic tomato and we LOVE our garlic. Three tins of basic chopped tomatoes to cover the extra veg and a splash of lemon juice. Having just had a portion of pasta with what I thought was a portion of sauce, I am delighted to say I am overstuffed - next time, I can reduce my portion size as all the veg makes this so filling. A great recipe and nice quick meal during the week!
maltawildcat's picture
20th Oct, 2013
Just made this sauce for future use, used the exact ingredients as listed and have enough for at least 8 servings. Must be something to do with the vegetables we grow here in Malta. Big does not cover it. Tastes bootiful, can't wait to have pasta meal this week, think it will go great with meatballs as well. Thanks for this.


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