Sneaky Spaghetti Sauce

Did you know that most children don't get enough vegetables and fruits into their diets? I know this is true with my children especially my youngest son Carson. He hates vegetables so I have to be sneaky any way I can to get him to eat them.

In the past I have posted about how I have to sneak veggies into different foods so my kids can get some sort of nutrition vegetable wise. It isn't always easy, but when I do they have no idea vegetables have been added.

This would be the same case when it comes to this yummy Sneaky Spaghetti Sauce pictured above. I was searching around on Google and came across several recipes for sneaky spaghetti sauce.

Most of the recipes I found called for shredded veggies, but I prefer pureed. Mostly because pureed veggies are smoother and less likely to detect, especially in baked goods. The recipe I found was a bit bland, so I adapted it more to my liking adding extra ingredients and adjusting the spices.

In the end I think I came up with a version that was quite tasty. Both of my kids ate their spaghetti dinner not knowing any different, so thumbs up for mom.

I keep a stash of pureed veggies in my freezer at all times. I usually puree them when I start to see that the vegetables are looking kind of funky, but still edible. I usually puree a big batch every other month or so I don't run out.

A lot of times I purchase extra veggies when I catch them on sale, so I can make up a few batches. If you're unsure on how to puree and freeze vegetables for cooking and baking, refer to this post "How to puree vegetables for sneaky recipes". In that particular post I have step by step photos and directions on how to get you started.

The best veggies I have found to puree and be sneaky with are zucchini, carrots, yellow squash, butternut squash and bell peppers. You would be amazed at what you can throw into a sauce, brownie or muffin vegetable wise. Well enough about veggies and onto the recipe. In usual fashion I have included some step by step photos. The full recipe is at the end of this post.

In a large sauce pan, crumble the turkey and Italian sausage. Add the onion and garlic and cook over medium heat until the meat is cooked through. Drain off any fat. Puree the bell pepper and celery together. I used an orange bell pepper that I had frozen. Add the meat mixture to a 4-6 quart crock pot.

Add the pureed carrots, zucchini and bell pepper mixture. Stir in the tomato paste and all the canned tomatoes. Use a large spoon to break up the whole tomatoes. Add the spices, sugar, water and bay leaf. Cover and cook on low for 6 - 8 hours. Stirring occasionally.

Sneaky Spaghetti Sauce

1 - lb ground turkey
2 - sweet Italian sausage links, remove casings
1 - small to medium onion, chopped
2 - cloves garlic, minced
1 - orange, green or yellow bell pepper, seeded and pureed
1/2 - cup carrots, shredded or pureed
1/2 - cup zucchini, shredded or pureed
1 - medium rib of celery, chopped or pureed
1 - 28 oz can Italian style tomatoes in puree
1 - 14 oz can Italian diced tomatoes, with juice
1 - 6 oz can tomato paste
1/2 - cup water (if using frozen pureed veggies omit the water)
2 - 3 tablespoon sugar
1 - bay leaf
1 - teaspoon dried basil
1/2 - tablespoon dried oregano
1/2 - teaspoon crushed thyme
1 - teaspoon salt
1 - 16 oz package whole grain spaghetti noodles or whole grain veggie pasta 

In a large sauce pan, crumble the turkey and Italian sausage. Add the onion and garlic and cook over medium heat until the meat is cooked through. Drain off any fat. Add the meat mixture to a 4 - 6 qt crock pot.

Stir in the tomato paste and all the canned tomatoes. Use a large spoon to break up the whole tomatoes. Stir in the pureed vegetables (bell pepper, carrots, zucchini, celery).

Add the spices, sugar, water and bay leaf. Cover and cook on low for 6 - 8 hours. Stirring occasionally. Serve over cooked pasta.

Shredded Vegetables:
If using shredded vegetables add the carrots, celery and zucchini when the meat mixture is fully cooked and drained. Continue to cook, stirring, until the vegetables are limp, about 5 minutes.

Recipe yields: 6 -8 servings


That is a super idea. Our kiddo's are older 20 in college and 17 in high school but they always and still do eat the fruit and veggies!
I do like this recipe and I am going to try this. I looks yummy!
You did it again another great recipe. I have made MANY recipes you have posted and my family has loved!
Happy cooking and baking,
Mrsblocko said…
I usually add shredded carrots and zucchini to spaghetti sauce. My friend thought it was odd. Good to know im not the only one who is sneaking extra veggies into dinner!
Tina said…
You're not the only one. I have to do what I have to do. Most times the kids don't even know. You gotta love that. I think the veggies give the sauce a nice flavor.
wesliane said…
oh je crois que toutes les mamans du monde ont le même probleme .comment faire manger des legumes a nos enfants.
votre recette est génial merci beaucoup
Michelle said…
I am lucky, my kids love veggies. They even like spinach. But I think this is a great idea for kids that don't.
Dianne said…
my kids love spaghetti. i cant help it make one for them maybe i need to try this recipe of yours to make it change.
added to my list thank you dear.
Tina said…
wesliane, I translated your comment so I know what you were saying. I love those online translators. I agree all mothers around the world have the same problem with kiddos and their veggies. Thank you for stopping by.
mamabunny13 said…
What a fabulous idea! I need to try this on my hubby, he is worse than my kids ever were! *giggles*
Kelly said…
I was just curious. Do you know if the kids get the same amount of nutricious stuff out of pureed and then cooked in stuff vegetables as they would if they ate them raw? But then again, if they don't eat them at all, I guess it is better than nothing to stick them in stuff,right??
What a great way to get your kids to eat their veggies :) :) Love and hugs from the ocean shores of California, Heather :)
Mary Bergfeld said…
This sounds wonderful and it is a perfect example of why I like to visit here. I never leave empty handed and always have a recipe or idea to take back to my own kitchen. I hope you have a great day. Blessings...Mary
Unknown said…
That's a nice little 'sneaky' addition of nutrients to plain old spaghetti
Unknown said…
Need to try this with my grandsons. They dont eat veggies well at all. Used to eat green beans, now not even thst. Give them vitamins and fiber daily.
Unknown said…
Like this recipe. I also use V8 juice added to tomato paste when making sauces.
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Anonymous said…
I like to puree baby kale, spinach and red chard about 3 cups in my sauce they have a mild taste my kids love it and dont even know
Mary Clair said…
Purée grilled eggplant will give a wonderful addition as well as thicken the sauce!
Anonymous said…
I puree collard greens and put them into spaghetti sauce, corn bread and meatloaf. You add only 2 servings per 6 serving batch and they are none the wiser. Anymore than that and it changes flavor of the dish. If you want to add 3 to four servings then add bayleaf to your dish and it somehow swallows up the collard flavor. Also use spinach but prefer collards. It goes great with any bean soup as weell.
Anonymous said…
This sounds wonderful and is exactly what I was looking for! Like one of the commenters said, my husband is worse than a child when it comes to eating vegetables and I so wanted a vegetable pasta sauce so I am going to try this on him tonight with whole wheat penne noodles and crumbled feta ;)