Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Tomato Carrot Puree: Easy Pasta Sauce

I think most parents have dabbled with the age old dilemma of how do I get my child to eat more vegetables? (And maybe even getting your spouse to eat more vegetables.) I've realized that getting toddlers to eat fruit isn't too difficult, at least for my child and many of her friends. It's sweet and juicy and a handful of blueberries will go fast after play time at the park. At lunch time Bambina gobbles up the most amount of fruit because she's been playing all morning and the juiciness helps quench her thirst. It's vegetables that are a little harder to consume. She loves raw baby carrots that I chop into small pieces, but cooked carrots get a big ol' "bleh" from her. Even when doused with sugar and butter, that's a negative. I think it's the texture. Cooked vegetables are too soft for her and she prefers crunchy food. But then what explains for eating squishy grapes and berries? Sweetness, I suppose.

And so about a year ago I randomly came up with a pasta sauce recipe for Bambina. She loves pasta. Loves, loves pasta. And spaghetti! I was eating whole wheat spaghetti with some eggplant, mushrooms and cherry tomatoes and she went to town on the spaghetti. Ever since then all she talks about is spaghetti. So I wanted to have a healthy tomato sauce to sneak in some vegetables. I've made marinara sauce many times before and knew what goes into it, but I don't have an hour everyday to make it fresh and let it simmer. And I hate that most marinara sauce recipes use canned tomatoes, I want something with fresh tomatoes!

And so, on this particular day, I threw together some olive oil, garlic, a roma tomato and some baby carrots, blended it and thew it over some pasta. Bambina devoured it up not knowing she just ate some tomato and carrots! (And it makes for a faster dinner because when she eats baby carrots it takes so long to finish one carrot as she chomps down on each small piece.)

photo.JPGI make this recipe quite often. I've put it on french bread with some cheese and made a quick pizza, which Bambina loved. I've even made quick pasta dishes for hubby where I used this sauce.  For the dish to the left I simply took some left over grilled chicken, peas, pasta and this sauce to put in Hubby's lunch and he devoured it. (Notice how the word quick is used repeatedly in reference to this recipe?) I also use this sauce for gnocchi.

Now I know I won't be winning any James Beard awards for this dish,  nor will I be a contender for Top Chef, but it's popular in the Tiffin Girl household and that's all that matters to me!

1 Tbsp olive oil
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 roma tomato, chopped
1-2 baby carrots, finely shredded (Depending on size. Seriously, some are bigger!)

1. Heat olive oil on medium high heat. Add in garlic. Saute briefly, careful not to burn.

2. Add in carrots and tomato. Smash tomato pieces with a spatula. Sprinkle with salt.

3. Bring to a boil and then let simmer for 10 minutes.

4. Blend sauce. I use a Magic Bullet, actually since that has died I use my new Baby Bullet.

5. Serve over pasta, gnocchi, with pizza, or as a dipping sauce! Yum!

Amateur Cooking Difficulty Scale: 2
I  make this dish quite often. Bambina requests spaghetti everyday for every meal, not that she eats it that much, but it's almost on an everyday basis. So I make whole wheat spaghetti and this sauce.

Try it out on your family, let me know if they unknowingly consumed fresh produce!


  1. Good idea! I'm going to try this!

  2. Amanda,

    If it's a little dry you can add water when you blend or a little more olive oil. I think it's the olive oil that gives it the good taste!