hidden vegetables – pasta sauce and pasta bake

a while back i was seriously broke and all i could do was watch cooking programmes and wish that i could afford all of the kitchen gadgets and tools that the TV chefs use. after getting paid from work i was in the supermarket and there was a deal on a food processor and i managed to get my hands on a basic level food processor for the price of a bottle of gin and i couldn’t help myself – i jumped in and got the processor and the gin! more than two years on and the processor still works well and has helped me bash out some great recipes in a fraction of the time.  the machine has torn its way through a tonne of vegetables, meat and fish and it is one of the best things i have ever bought. (ps. the gin was amazing too!)

perfect way to hide vegetables

i love nothing more than a pasta bake and rather than using jar sauces or sachets that ask you to just add liquid i wanted to try and make my own tomatoey, rich in flavour sauce that i could pour over spirally pasta (my favourite) and smother with cheese and bake in the oven then wolf down on a cold damp wintery night.

using the good old internet i researched some ideas and then i thought i would just jump in. scrambling around in the fridge i came across a chunk of broccoli, a couple of stalks of celery, a large red bell pepper and in the cupboard i had some carrots, onions garlic and ginger.

I washed them all through and went to town blitzing those buggers! adding some herbs, capers, oil salt and pepper i came up with an amazing pasta sauce. looking at the sauce, its an orangey red colour and there is no sign of vegetables in the sauce. the perfect disguise to get your other half, kids, parents and scavenging cats and dogs to eat their 5 a day.

what i would say is get our your food processor and then rummage in cupboards and the fridge and see what green goodies (fresh or frozen) are kicking about and looking for a fight. Chuck them in your food processor show them your blade and take out all your anger and frustration on the veggies. add some minced meat, diced chicken, tofu or quorn pieces and mix with some ready pasta and you have yourself a healthy dinner that tastes amazing!

this is a great way


chunk of broccoli

1 medium carrot

2 or 3 cloves of garlic

one large bell pepper

2 stalks of celery

one red onion

sprinkling of salt and pepper

sprinkle of oregano

one sprig of fresh rosemary

drizzle of olive oil

1tsp capers.

one 400g tin of chopped tomatoes or equal amount of passatta

500g pasta of your choice – my fav is spiral pasta

one ball of basics mozarella


  1. pre heat the oven to 190oC
  2. in a large pan bring the pasta to the boil, simmer and cook as per the instructions on the packet. Drain the pasta and leave ready for the sauce in an oven safe dish.
  3. in the food processor, chuck in all of the washed and peeled vegetables ready for blitzing. pour in some olive oil and even a drizzle of the capers vinegar so that the vegetables are easier to blitz in the food processor.
  4. Make sure all the vegetables are chopped finely so that they cook evenly.
  5. add in your chosen dried or fresh herbs (i used some dried oregano and fresh rosemary from the huge plant in the garden) and 1tsp of capers.
  6. add the blitzed vegetables, tinned tomatoes or passatta and herbs to a pan and gently fry for a few minutes until some of the liquid evaporates and the vegetables become tender.
  7. season with salt and pepper as necessary.
  8. once you are happy with your vegetables and their consistency turn off the heat.
  9. pour the pasta sauce over the pasta in the oven dish and mix thoroughly.
  10. add slices of mozzarella to the top of the pasta and again season with crushed black pepper.
  11. place in the oven for 15-20 minutes until the cheese is melted and the pasta is hot all the way through.
  12. serve with crusty bread, salad and enjoy.

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