Today I decided to do the veggie marinara sauce I have been talking about in my weekly #HomeChat posts on Twitter.  If you are not already on Twitter, I HIGHLY recommend you sign up and check out the weekly #HomeChat on Tuesdays at 9PM EST.  They have conversations about organizing, food, kids, etc.  Wonderful group of people, if I do say so myself.  It is hosted by the wonderful Angela England of The Untrained Housewife and Heather Solos of Home Ec 101. (You should also check out Heather’s book Home-Ec 101 !)

Oh, and that was a totally unpaid endorsement people!

Ok, onward and forward!!  Where were we?  Oh, yes, hidden veggie marinara.  Although my kids are fairly good at eating their veggies, they can sometimes be stubborn.  However, they love anything with pasta!  I got this idea from Giada’s book Everyday Italian.  I put my own tweaks to the recipe, and tripled it!  I make a HUGE pot of this sauce at least once a month – sometimes two.  I get four servings and freeze them for future meals.

First, you need a bulk store can of crushed tomatoes (you can pare this down to 28oz can).  We use crushed instead of diced because Rogan doesn’t like the texture of tomato chunks, but is ok with crushed.  Put this in your sauce pan (we use a 6 qt enamel coated dutch oven) and start your simmer.

Crushed Tomatoes in Dutch Oven

Pot O' Tomatoes

Meanwhile, you want to grab the veggies you want to include in your sauce.  I use carrots, onions, garlic – sometimes I will include celery, spinach or other green.  Peel and chop into small bits.  I like to use the food processor to make something just a step up from a mush.

Dirty Food Processor


Add this to your skillet, with a few tablespoons of butter and cook on medium heat for about six or seven minutes.  Don’t have your heat too high, you do not want this to brown, only cook thoroughly.

Mushed Carrots

Skillet o' Carrot Mush

Now you can add your carrot mixture to your pot of tomatoes.  Mix thoroughly and let simmer for about ten minutes, so the flavors can mix.

Mush and Tomatoes

Tomatoes and Carrots

Mid Point of Marinara

You are almost done!

After simmering for a while, you want to add your crushed basil.  You can use fresh or dried – if you use fresh be careful of your portion, fresh has more flavor punch than dried.  Add a bit and then taste.  If needed, add more.  Ok, ok, ok…add two teaspoons, geesh!  You people are very needy with all the measuring and stuff :p

Basil in Tomato sauce

Basil, It's What's in Marinara

Now, let that simmer at medium low for about thirty minutes.  Just before serving, you can add Parmesan cheese directly to the sauce, if you wish.  This sauce is good for any kind of pasta or rice dish.  You can even add browned hamburger meat, meatballs, beef tips or chicken bits for a bit of something different.

Pot of Marinara Sauce


This recipe is so stinkin’ easy to make, I challenge each of you to try it.  Yes, getting out the food processor, setting it up, breaking it back down and cleaning it can be a pain in the rear, but it is sooo worth it.  Let me know what you think of it!

Do you have any recipes which are good for more than one dish?  One that will make up two, three or more different dishes for dinners, lunches or breakfasts?  Let us know!  Don’t forget to also post it on Twitter, with the hashtag #HomeChat!


Hi, it’s me again, Margaret…if you want this recipe to be even easier, and have a family/spouse who eats veggies without much problem, you can leave out the veggie puree.  Then you just open a jar or can of tomatoes, add basil and parma  cheese, simmer for about 20 minutes, throw over your favorite pasta and, viola!, you have dinner!  I like to make the big batches of this recipe and freeze into three or four dinner servings, then I have a quick meal throw-together plan on days I really don’t feel like cooking.  It’s healthy, and we don’t get a jar of preservatives or a take out window full of grease and fat and sugar.