Magic sauce recipe – get your kids eating vegetables

This post is happily shared with wearethat family’s Works for me Wednesday.

I have lots of children around my kitchen table during the week and boy are some of them fussy eaters. It can be really difficult to find a healthy meal they will all enjoy as there’s no way I’m cooking more than one meal a night (this ain’t no restaurant!). This is my recipe which they will ALL eat – it’s easy to make, it freezes really well and it squeezes in seven types of vegetables without them even knowing. It definitely works for me.

You’ll need:

1. a onion
2. a clove of garlic
3. a stick of celery
4. a red pepper
5. a carrot
6. half a small fennel bulb
7. a tin of chopped tomatoes
8. a little olive oil
9. a teaspoon of sugar (optional)

Optional extras are herbs such as basil and oregano (but my kids will object to any tell-tale green bits) and a slug of balsamic vinegar.

To make it, chop up ingredients 1 to 6 and fry in a little olive oil. Add the tomatoes (and the sugar, if you’re using it) and leave to cook for 20 minutes (or until all the veg is softened). Now you need to whizz this with a blender and all those little bits of vegetable magically disappear to leave a delicious tomato sauce which you can eat as soup, as a pasta sauce or as a pizza topping. That’s it – seven veggies inside your child with no fussing!

I’m always looking out for recipes like this that are easy to make and child-friendly, so if you have any to recommend I’d love you to post a comment.


  1. says

    I have a similar recipe that I use for cheese sauces. My kids like to eat it as cheese soup with homemade croutons and then I thicken the rest with yogurt to make a macaroni and cheese sauce:
    1 large or approx 15 baby carrots – sliced
    2 small potatoes – peeled and sliced
    3 stalks celery – sliced
    1 small zuchinni (green or yellow) – peeled (if green and your child has a greenaphobia) or unpeeled (if yellow or if your child can handle flecks of green) and sliced
    Other vegetables could include:
    Sweet Potato
    REd, Yellow or Orange pepper

    Boil all together in just enough water to cover. Let cool and transfer to blender. Puree.

    Return to stove on medium heat.

    Add 1 cup milk and 1 cup grated or diced cheese.

    Stir until cheese melts.

    You can add additional seasonings if you like such as garlic, cumin or curry, italian spices, pepper.

    For homemade croutons I simply mix some toasted bread cubes with italian salad dressing and put under the broiler for about 2 minutes.

    My son refuses to eat any non-pureed vegetable but he loves this soup.

    Like I said, you can make a double batch and put the rest away for a macaroni and cheese sauce. I just cook the macaroni and drain it, then reheat the sauce, thicken with a little yogurt and toss the macaroni in for a stovetop macaroni and cheese casserole (my children like this better than Kraft Dinner)

    • Cathy says

      Thanks so much for this recipe, it looks really tasty. I’m going to give it a try at the weekend.

  2. says

    sometimes it is easy to fool the little critters. they have been eating chopped spinach for years round here in stews, sauces, onthehob fryups, casseroles and pies. i have told them the tiny green bits are chopped herbs.

  3. says

    I’ve tried convincing them that green bits are herbs, but my oldest, 5, doesn’t believe in green.
    Another sneaky recipe I do is to combine vegetables pureed with fruit and sometimes yogurt and freeze as popsicles. Freezing it eliminates the vegetabley taste so you can put lots in there. The popular ones in my house are zucchini fudgesicles, spinach-blueberry pops and sweet-potato-squash-mango-orange pops.
    I also use pureed or grated vegetables in all my baking instead of butter or margarine.

    • Cathy says

      Grit – very sneaky! I like it.

      Dara – I bow to your inventiveness. You are a master of vegetable deception!

  4. says

    I puree vegetables, freeze them in ice cube trays, and stick them into everything! lol Cauliflower and/or carrot hide well in canned tomato soup for a quick, healthier lunch, sweet potato in pancakes, carrot in macaroni & cheese, almost any veggie in a tomato-based sauce or chili, cauliflower in banana bread (yup, that’s right! Just 1/2 a cup though)… There are some great cookbooks with more specific recipes too (“Sneaky Chef” and “Deceptively delicious).

    • Cathy @ NurtureStore says

      Hi Regina – I’m really pleased you found this useful. Hope some of the ideas work for you!

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