Including a range of vegetables in pasta sauce is one of my favorite ways to offer a variety of ingredients and flavors to the kids. Here are my absolute best kid-friendly vegetable sauces for pasta!
Vegetable Sauce for Pasta
Adding vegetables into what we feed our families—while ensuring the food is delicious and easy!—is something I love to do. It’s a great way to eat more vegetables and to model that vegetables aren’t scary. So I add a lot of vegetables to pasta sauces.
I started with marinara sauce, then created single- and mixed-vegetable sauces—like Zucchini Sauce and Red Pepper Sauce—and worked on a stable of creamy pasta sauces, too. The collection that follows includes all of my favorite pasta sauces with veggies in the mix. I love to make these with my kids so they know what they are eating—and that they like the veggies!
This easy marinara sauce is super simple and flexible so you can adjust the recipe based on what you like and have on hand. Plus, extras freeze beautifully!
Cauliflower Mac and Cheese
This mac and cheese is a family favorite and one of our go-to comfort food recipes. By adding the cauliflower to the cheese sauce, we’re able to tuck a veggie right into the sauce without having to make a side dish to go with dinner.
Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese
If your family loves creamy, cheesy pasta and you’re looking for a simple way to up their veggie intake—because aren’t we always?!—this super simple 5-Ingredient Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese needs to be on your menu asap.
Sweet Potato Mac and Cheese
It comes together in less than 15 minutes, is incredibly creamy, and tastes so darn good. Plus, there’s sweet potato in the mix to add flavor and nutrients. Win!
Pasta in Broth
This is a simple meal that’s easy enough for a weeknight and can be adjusted for preferences and allergies as needed.
Green Pasta Sauce
It’s ready in less than 20 minutes, has two veggies in the mix, and is super easy to make. You can even freeze extra portions for future weeks!
Broccoli Pasta Sauce
It’s similar to my Green Pasta Sauce but uses broccoli instead of cauliflower in the sauce. It’s a great option for kids who may already love broccoli, who haven’t yet found a favorite way to eat it, or who need a cozy, cheesy pasta recipe!
The sauce is incredibly easy, it’s just as creamy as you’d want from an Alfredo, and it’s not remotely intimidating. Plus, you can make the sauce ahead of time and stash it in the fridge, so all you need to do when you’re getting ready for dinner is cook the pasta.
Red Pepper Pasta
I love how roasting the peppers with onions and garlic deepens their flavors and that it’s as simple as blending everything together after that step.
Extra-Veggie Baby Pasta
Serve up a filling, yummy baby meal with this easy Baby Pasta. It includes a tomato-based sauce with extra veggies and beans blended in for an iron-rich meal perfect for lunch or dinner.
Zucchini Pasta Sauce
This pasta sauce is easy to make, easy to freeze, and a delish option to toss with pasta. It has a mellow flavor that you can vary with the addition of basil and/or lemon, and it’s great with extra Parmesan.
Pack your next pasta night (or pizza night) with nutrition using this super simple Spinach Pesto recipe. It’s made without nuts, so it’s budget-friendly and allergy-safe—and it stores well in the fridge or freezer for future meals!
How to Store Vegetable Sauces for Pasta
You can store any sauce for 3-5 days in the refrigerator, or longer in the freezer. To freeze a sauce, let it cool, then either pour into an ice cube tray to make smaller portions or you can add to a freezer bag, press flat, remove the air, and seal. Then you can defrost it at room temperature, in the fridge overnight, or stir right into hot pasta.
Best Tips for Success
- Remember that kids like to know what they are eating, and if they find out we tried to sneak something in, they may not eat that food again. I try to call food what it is and have kids help make things when possible.
- Start with a little sauce, then add more to everyone’s liking.
- Add more flavor to your portion by adding crushed red pepper, cracked black pepper, fresh herbs such as parsley or basil, sheep milk or feta cheese, or other desired toppings.
- Use whichever type of pasta your family prefers, whether classic semolina pasta, whole wheat, bean- or legume-based pasta, or gluten-free.