I wanted to create a pasta sauce full of veggies. My kids love pasta, so I thought, as I am sure many of you have, what a great way to make a sauce to get more veggies in their little tummies! When I started looking for recipes on Pinterest, most of the recipes I came across the "hidden veggie pasta sauce" or "trick your child into eating vegetables". This was exactly the opposite of what I wanted.
It sounds intuitive: our kids are picky, they won't eat vegetables, let's hide the veggies in something like a sauce or muffin, the kids eat the veggies and no one is the wiser, right? WRONG! I never recommend "tricking", "hiding" or "manipulating" our kids into eating vegetables.
Many times this backfires and can lead to distrust. Many children notice small changes in food when it's presented, so if we change this food without letting them know, they may be more reluctant to try the same food again, or something new. Another reason this might backfire is the message we are sending out children: vegetables are bad and must be hidden, or something they "have to do".
That being said, I do love to pack the nutrition punch when I can. I have many recipes on my blog with added zucchini to bread, spinach to muffins or carrots to cookies. The difference is that my daughters know what's inside.
Here is the recipe for my "not so hidden veggie sauce". Bonus: my 3 year old loved helping put the vegetables in the blender and even eating raw spinach!
Want to learn more about how you can help encourage your children to eat more vegetables? Join me at my next Peaceful Mealtimes class!
Here's how it looked in the kicthen and on the table. Read on for the recipe!
Not so Hidden Veggie Sauce
- 1-2 cups raw spinach
- 2 carrots, peeled
- 1 medium zucchini, roughly chopped
- 2 x 14.5 oz cans diced tomatoes
- 1 onion, quartered
- 2 cloves garlic
- Spices (my favorites are cumin, garlic and onion powder, herbs de provence and a dash of chili powder)
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- Add all ingredients into blender or food processor and blend until relatively smooth. If you like a chunkier sauce, don't blend as much.
- Heat oil in a medium pot or dutch oven on the stove. Add sauce and simmer for about 20-30 minutes.
- Use sauce with your favorite pasta, added to rice, on a sandwich or wherever else you like it. Have leftovers? Freeze in an ice cube tray and will last about 2-3 months in the freezer.