Pasta with tomato & hidden veg sauce

Pasta with tomato & hidden veg sauce

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(90 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


  • 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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Anthony Hargreaves's picture
Anthony Hargreaves
3rd Oct, 2019
Very much a dish for children. If you want to give this to adults try adding herbs (I used basil, oregano and rosemary) and some sundried tomatoes to give depth of flavour.
12th Sep, 2019
My two year old daughter has refused vegetables for a while now. Although I needed to top with cheese, she actually ate this! I served with vege sausages for protein and threw in a chili for adults. Went down very well!
20th Jun, 2019
I put all the veggies and the garlic in a food processer and chop finely before cooking in olive oil. The tomatoes or passata, stock, herbs, seasoning and a very little bit of sugar go in afterwards. Lovely.
The Elvis diet
15th Sep, 2018
After years of battling the children to eat veg I’d almost given up. Serve them this sauce with pasta and they didn’t bat an eyelid! Asked if they liked it and all 3 said they loved it! It’s gorgoues Tip - use half the sugar and add 1 tbl spoon of tomato purée and mix in a dollop of mascarpone just before serving
29th Jan, 2018
My Children love this sauce. We also use it on pizza. My daughter who only likes cheese pizza is getting extra veg without knowing!
2nd Sep, 2017
I LOVE this recipe. So delicious and yet so healthy. Only downside is it takes longer to make than it says by quite a bit if you're not the best cook (i'm certainly not!). One tip - don't blend just cut everything finely and then it won't look like "baby food"
12th Aug, 2017
Wonderful. Will do many times again. I added 3 garlics and normal tinned toms. I would half the sugar, it's sweet enough. You will never buy jars again. Make a batch. Perfect to freeze.
31st May, 2017
Make this every week, minus the celery and the balsamic vinegar. Just use plenty of garlic and herbs!
27th Jan, 2017
I make this all the time. I have a very fussy autistic child who's diet is very limited but he loves this sauce. he suggested that I make in into a bolognese sauce so I added 5% fat mince and he can't get enough of it. Thankfully it makes a lot so I have plenty to freeze. for anyone with a soup maker it works well in them, divide the mix and do it in 2 batches then mix together. Takes the hassle out of standing over it.
Claire Baker
28th Sep, 2016
This is worth making not sure why it's got such negative reviews, it's just a nice thick toamato based pasta sauce that got some veg and a bit of texture. It's a bit on the sweet side so next time I'll go easy on the sugar and add some extra seasoning. Think it would go really well with chicken as a sauce too. Make it!


5th Oct, 2015
Hi there, I'm just wondering do the nutritional values here include the pasta or is it just the sauce?
26th Jan, 2020
lovely for kids but to add more flavour I would recommend adding a little bit of chilli powder, oregano and a splash of red wine. when you have served it, you can add some chopped up hard goats cheese which goes really well. also if you are cooking for four people I would recommend halving the recipe or making room in your freezer as there was quite a lot left over.
27th Jan, 2017
Cook it in a soup maker.
28th Nov, 2016
Re the negative reviews: I think you have to remember it's for children; my 4 yr old veggie fuss pot enjoyed it... To doll it up for grown-ups I would add half a cup of grated cashew nuts so you get more protein, add torn basil leaves, reduce the sugar, add a tad more balsamic, and throw in some oregano and extra garlic. Chilli flakes if you're brave, blend and it's delicious.
15th Dec, 2014
I put in three cloves of garlic, about three tablespoons of Mixed Herbs and also a teaspoon of chilli puree and it came out amazing! Without the added bits I would imagine it would be quite bland. I also added about 50ml of water to the initial cooking of the veg to soften them more quickly in a massive pot rather than a pan. Came out quite thick though even after blending for 10 minutes!
11th Feb, 2014
Freezes well in silicon muffin tins as individual portions. I usually use 3 tins of chopped tomatoes as I like the tomato boost, having made three batches, I have decided that cabbage is okay in small doses as an additional veg but parsnips are a must! They add to the creaminess of the sauce and just make it a good tasting sauce. My fiancé hates them but loves the sauce!
12th Sep, 2013
I have made this sauce so many times I have lost count. It's a big winner from me and my husband down to my 3 kids youngest being 18 months. My tips would be to double everything and make a huge batch as it freezes very well. I also add a lot of fresh basil just before blending and also serve it with lots of fresh basil leaves and Parmesan...I do feel the basil and Parmesan make a huge difference. I don't add chillie during cooking but always splash on some chillie sauce on my serving. Enjoy its a great recipe! Oh I almost forgot... I serve this with linguini again makes a difference so yummy!
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