If there’s one thing that all parents can agree on, it’s that getting your kids to eat more vegetables is a never-ending chore. Try as we might we can’t seem to trick them into falling in love with broccoli or asking for extra serves of Brussels sprouts, and so we have to try stealthier methods.
Pasta is one of those staple ingredients that works with all types of cuisines, skill levels, and desired tastes, and it has the bonus of being a favourite for kids around the country. That’s why pasta presents the perfect way to hide some sneaky vegetables in its midst so your kids can get a flavoursome and super healthy serving of dinner without being any the wiser.
This recipe is affordable, simple, and perfect for amateur cooks and the time poor. It is also a great way to get rid of those vegetables in the crisper that are nearly past their best. Mix and match the veggies you use, so long as you keep them hidden. The sauce freezes perfectly too, so make up an extra batch and keep it for a rainy day when you don’t have time to cook from scratch.
- 1 brown onion, chopped
- 2 carrots, chopped
- 2 celery sticks, chopped
- 1 leek, white part only, chopped
- 2 red capsicums, chopped
- 2 x 400g tinned tomatoes
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 tbsp caster sugar
- 300g dried pasta
- A sprinkle of cheese for topping
- Using a large non-stick saucepan, heat the olive oil on a mild setting and cook the carrots, onion, leek and celery until soft.
- Once soft, add the capsicum and cook for another 10 minutes or until soft.
- Add the tinned tomatoes, caster sugar and balsamic vinegar, and simmer for at least 20 minutes, or longer if you want a stronger flavour.
- Cook the pasta in a large saucepan according to directions. To feed more, you can use 500g of pasta for this recipe.
- Blitz the sauce with a hand blender or pour into an electric blender and mix on a high speed for two minutes or until completely mixed.
- Return the sauce to the pan and season with salt and pepper, adding Italian herbs if needed.
- Drain the pasta once done and return it to the large saucepan, pouring the pasta sauce in and toss through with a wooden spoon until coated.
- Serve immediately or refrigerate for two days, freezing portions of the sauce separately if desired.
Sneaky and Simply Delicious
This is one of those versatile dishes that can please the whole family from parents to babies. If you’re feeding a young one, use pasta that’s easy for them to grasp with their hands. Large spirals and penne are ideal for self-feeding babies, and they’re simple enough for kids to pick up with their forks.
With just one serving of this delicious pasta, you’ll be giving your kids a healthy dose of vitamins, protein and fibre. To make it even more enticing, you can sprinkle it with cheese or put the whole thing in an oven safe dish and bake it if you think the family would prefer a pasta bake instead.
If you’re feeling adventurous, you might want to top it with rocket leaves, but if this is going to cause suspicion amongst your diners, top it with yummy cheese instead.