Tomato sauce is a perfect vehicle for many wonderful additions. It is a true blessing for parents of small (or big) kids who are not into vegetables since it is almost impossible to identify them once they have been cooked with the sauce. We add lots of veggies to our tomato sauce not only to make it more nutritious but also to improve the flavor and boost variety. I think that most of the vegetables of any color and in any combination work for this recipe. This sauce is made of 1 pound of ground turkey and about 2 pounds of zucchini and carrots, plus a 25 oz jar of tomato sauce!
Two things to remember:
1. If your child is going through an extremely selective stage, he or she will see the veggies and may refuse to try it. It is amazing how kids are able to smell our agenda miles away. If this is the case, make sure to serve a lot of plain pasta, or mashed potatoes, or bread to fill the small tummy.
2. If your child does not mind veggies mixed into dishes, like this sauce, make sure to keep serving them alongside the meal. It is very tempting to stop doing it once you see our child eating tons of vegetables disguised in a soup or casserole but in the long term, kids benefit tremendously from consistent exposure. With this recipe, I sliced some zucchini and put it under the broiler for about 5 minutes, while the sauce was cooking.
15-minute vegetable meat sauce
- 2 pounds of washed vegetables (any combination of zucchini, carrots, eggplant, mushrooms, spinach (fresh or frozen), peppers and onions). If the skin is rough, like on eggplants or bigger zucchini, feel free to peel it off.
- 1 pound of ground turkey or beef or chicken
- 1 25 oz jar of your favorite tomato sauce
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
Heat the oil in a dutch oven or any deep heavy-bottomed pan. When the oil is hot, add the ground meat and saute for a couple of minutes stirring to break the big pieces.
In the meanwhile, shred the vegetables. I used an attachment on my blender and it took literally one minute.
Add the shredded vegetables to the meat, increase the heat and saute for about 5 minutes until soft.
Add the tomato sauce and let everything boil together for about 10 minutes. If you have time, leave the sauce to bubble slightly on a very low heat for about half an hour, but if you are in a rush to put dinner on the table, serve it right away. It works great with pasta, potatoes, rice or lasagna.