Homemade Pasta Sauce

March 26, 2012

This is my favorite homemade pasta sauce recipe.

Just like the vegetable soup recipe I shared last week, I make this homemade pasta sauce so often for my niece.

I was prompted to post this homemade pasta sauce with hidden vegetables by of my favorite readers, Eric, who wrote to me for some advice about how to sneak more vegetables into his son’s diet. His son, Tony was diagnosed with cancer at the age of 5, and at age of 10, has undergone almost 30 rounds of chemotherapy and radiation. Because of these procedures, Tony is extremely sensitive to certain flavors and doesn’t eat a lot of vegetables.

I spoke to Eric on the phone in order to learn more about Tony, and was thrilled to learn that they had just purchased a blender so they could make recipes with hidden vegetables for Tony. Pureeing sauces, soups, smoothies, and batters are some of the easiest ways to hide vegetables in recipes for “greenphobic” children and adults.

Tony is no different than any child of the same age. Most children enjoy eating pizza, pasta, and sweet treats.

So, I always start sneaking veggies into children by including vegetables into the foods that they enjoy eating the most. I don’t know about you, but I don’t know many children who don’t enjoy pizza and pasta! So this homemade pasta sauce is a fantastic option because it is loaded with hidden vegetables and tastes absolutely delicious! Furthermore, it doubles as a fantastic pizza sauce.

My niece, Alexandra gobbles this up and asks for more. I promise your kids will, too. You can’t tell for a moment it is packed with hidden vegetables!

This recipe yields about 10 cups of pasta sauce. You could always halve this recipe if you don’t have need for so much sauce. But this pasta sauce freezes really well, and I always like to have some on hand in the freezer for those quick last minute meals!

Tony, this one’s for you!


Homemade Pasta Sauce

This is the best pizza/pasta sauce because you can sneak 8 vegetables into your kids without them knowing!

Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 40 minutes
Servings 10 cups
Author Tess Masters


  • 8 medium tomatoes, cut into quarters
  • 1 red bell pepper, ribbed, seeded, and cut into chunks
  • 1/4 cup  extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2  teaspoons  Celtic sea salt, plus more to taste
  • 2 cups diced yellow onion 
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic (3 cloves)
  • 1 cup grated carrot 
  • 1 cup shredded broccoli stalks
  • 1 cup grated zucchini
  • 2 (15oz/425g) cans  diced tomatoes and their juices
  • 2 cups vegetable broth 
  • 1 cup firmly packed basil leaves
  • 1/4  cup sun-dried tomatoes
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste


  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Line a large baking tray with parchment paper or a nonstick silicone liner.
  2. Toss the tomatoes and bell pepper with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and 1/4 teaspoon of the salt.
  3. Spread out in single layer on the baking sheet, and roast for about 1 hour. Toss them a few times during cooking so that they roast evenly. 
  4. In a large pot over medium-high heat, warm the remaining 2 tablespoon olive oil and sauté the onions and garlic with 1/4 teaspoon of the salt for about 5 minutes, until soft and translucent.
  5. Add in the carrots, broccoli and zucchini and sauté for a further 5 minutes until just softened.
  6. Add the roasted tomatoes and peppers and their juices, the canned tomatoes and their juices, the vegetable broth, fresh basil, and sun-dried tomatoes with 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium, and simmer partially covered for about 20 minutes to allow the flavors to infuse. 
  7. Allow to cool. Add in batches to your blender, and blast on high for 30 to 60 seconds until smooth and creamy. 
  8. Return to the stove, and add the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt to taste, and season with freshly ground black pepper. 

Recipe Notes

Photo by Trent Lanz; styling by Alicia Buszczak


Comments 29

  1. Sounds delicious! I was wondering how long you think this will keep in the refrigerator, and also if you’ve had any luck freezing it? Would be awesome to make a big batch and keep it on hand for whenever you need it!

    1. Hey Kele
      This will keep in the fridge for about 5 days.
      But it freezes very well.
      I always freeze it in portion sizes for quick dinner options! ENJOY 🙂

  2. As a mum, I really appreciate you posting recipes that “sneak in the veggies” thanks so much for making the hard work much easier

  3. Made this tonight so i can have pasta sauce this week and froze some for later in the month. I tasted it and it was AMAZING. I’m telling everyone about this blog the recipe’s our so simple to prepare and make, Yet when i try them it taste like i spent my entire day slaving away at a stove to have something taste so grand. So far 9 of your recipes have been added to my recipe box of favorites. Keep sharing all these joyous wonderful recipes! -Kristina

    1. Oh. thankyou Kristina.
      Your lovely supportive words really made my day. I really love this recipe….and YES! These recipes are super easy and really tasty. I think so….and it is nice somebody else does too!
      People like you are why I keep writing this blog and sharing these recipes.
      Thankyou for making this all worthwhile 🙂

  4. Wow I love that! This is also one of a best food for my family and friends ! Wow your site is really full of delicious foods. Hope you will continue posting many nutritious recipes. How can we make sure that pasta it will not easily spoiled?

    1. You can freeze it in portions in a sealed container for a few months. It will keep in the fridge for about 5 days.

  5. I’m so happy that I found your site. (which I found from the links on the Kidoing.com site!) I work with people who have cancer or have special food needs, and your site is the perfect place to send clients… as well as feed my family! can’t wait to use this pasta sauce recipe!

  6. Thankyou. I LOVE this sauce too.
    It is SO delicious and incredibly versatile.
    It is fantastic over steamed potatoes or as a sauce over grains too. YUMMO!

  7. Since I can’t really tolerate tomatoes my entire tomato free pasta sauce recipe is ‘sneaking in the veggies’. In addition to some of the veggies listed above you could also try sweet potatoes and pureed pumpkin. Canned beets work well too, just don’t cook too long because they turn brown when over cooked (not sure how this would affect real tomato sauce; since they provide the red color in mine the whole sauce goes brown).

  8. anxious to make for the vegan lasagne recipe! was wondering if i can just skip the zucchini (me n zucc don’t mix well) or should i replace with more of the other veggies? ty!! LOVE your recipes!!!!

    1. You know, I haven’t tried canning this. I always freeze the leftovers and it always disappears so quickly. But I don’t see any reason why you couldn’t…
      If you try it please let me know. I would love to hear how it holds up.
      Thanks for the suggestion.

  9. Nice assortment of vegetables! At the end, after it is all pureed, I would also recommend putting in some lemon juice.

    1. Great idea. Lemon juice just makes everything better doesn’t it. Lifts the flavours and gives it a zing 🙂

  10. Hi! This sounds amazing. Especially for my no veggie little man! Wondering how many servings of veggies you would work out to be in a cup of this sauce? Also wondering why not purée everything raw and save all the cutting and grating time and the simmer the sauce for a couple hours?

    1. Thanks for your feedback Chelsey. I’m not exactly sure how many servings are in each cup of sauce. Sorry. You absolutely could puree everything raw and then simmer. I only prescribe grated and chopped to get a uniform measurement for people to keep the recipe consistent, as well as accounting for people using conventional blenders. Enjoy!

  11. Question, the first instruction is to preheat to 200 /400 degrees. That is a pretty big range, I’m not sure what to do with this.

  12. This looks great! Would mushrooms and brown lentils puree in it well? Just wanting to add some more protein and iron.

    1. It will change the flavor profile significantly as they as both assertive ingredients, but I love mushrooms and lentils, and understand your wanting to add more protein. I would add them gradually and keep tasting until you get the flavor balance you like.

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