Not-so-hidden-veg pasta sauce
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
This recipe is great for family meals. Serve the pasta, grated parmesan and sauce separately from serving dishes in the middle of the table. The point is for everyone to see the chunks of vegetables in the sauce. If a child is not interested in their celery / carrot / onion / mushroom etc. Let them pick it out and put it into a learning bowl. This enables them to touch or interact with that vegetable. For example, my husband isn't a fan of the texture of mushroom (although loves the flavour it lends to this sauce) - he only sometimes now picks out his mushroom and consciously talks about it with the girls. He's learning to love and eat mushrooms because he is in control of eating them or not eating them.
Recipe type: main meal
Serves: 6
  • 500g beef mince
  • Olive oil
  • 1 brown onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 jar of passata, low sodium
  • 2 stalks of celery, roughly chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, scrubbed not peeled and roughly chopped
  • 6 button mushrooms cut into quarters
  • Options for additional flavours (you can add what you have on hand):
  • 1 star anise (remove before serving)
  • 1 cinnamon quill (remove before serving)
  • 2 bay leaves (remove before serving)
  • 2-3 sprigs of parsley and/or basil and/or thyme (substitute with dried versions if you have them on hand)
  • ground black pepper (to taste)
  • 1-2 tbsp worcestershire sauce
  • Other vegetables roughly chopped - capsicum, kale, baby spinach, eggplant, pumpkin
  1. In a large pan, sautee the onion in some olive oil. Once it is going transparent, add the beef. Once the beef is browned, add the remaining ingredients and simmer for at least 20 minutes. Top up with water if the mixture is starting to dry out. The longer you can simmer it for the more flavours will be released.
  2. In the meantime, prepare your pasta as per the instructions and grate your parmesan cheese. Serving suggestion pictured is sprial spelt pasta.
  3. Left-over sauce can be stored in the fridge for 2-3 days or frozen.
Recipe by Play With Food at