Garden Vegetable Pasta Sauce is a tomato-based sauce loaded with all your favorite veggies like onion, mushrooms, zucchini, and carrots. This healthy sauce is the perfect way to get kids to eat veggies they would normally turn away because it’s so good! Vegan with Whole30 and Paleo options.
Tips for Making Homemade Garden Vegetable Pasta Sauce
Making homemade pasta sauce is really simple. The hardest part on this one is chopping veggies – after that it’s just a saute and a simmer away. Here’s a few tips to make sure it turns out perfect the first time around.
The Veggies (and alternatives)
I used some of my favorite veggies in this recipe – but the cool part about veggies is you can interchange them pretty easily without sacrificing taste. In fact – you could end up with a new sauce every time just by changing them up.
- Zucchini – I love the taste and texture, but if you are looking for an alternative celery stalks (2), spinach (3 cups, sliced), or even okra (cut into 1/4-inch pieces all will work great too.
- Onions – onions are a staple, and I used yellow, my personal favorite. However red onions, leeks, fresh fennel bulb would all work well too.
- Carrots – carrots lends a sweet flavor to the sauce you can’t get from many other veggies. But I suppose parsnips or beets would work in a pinch too.
- Mushrooms – I love that mushrooms act as little flavor sponges. There really isn’t anything like mushrooms, but if you’re not a fan try using bell peppers (about 1 1/2 cups).
Getting the Veggies Super Small
The vegetables in this sauce should be cut down to about 1/4-inch pieces. If you cut them any bigger you’ll need to saute them longer, and also add a bit more water or broth to simmer a bit longer until they are all very tender.
If you do end up making them bigger than you would like and end up with a chunkier sauce than you prefer, try using an immersion blender and give the sauce a few pulses until the texture is just what you want.
Fit Your Diet
- Whole30 – eliminate the sugar or honey. If you find it’s too acidic, you can use a teaspoon of baking soda to cut that down.
- Paleo – grab some raw honey instead of sugar
This sauce stores well in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
If you don’t need 8 servings, consider freezing the leftovers in a freezer safe container for up to 3 months. Just make sure it has cooled completely before freezing. If steam builds up in the jar while freezing, ice will build up plus it will possible break any glass storage.
Serve it With
- Whole30 Turkey Meatballs
- Sweet Potato Skillet Lasagna
- Ground meat or vegan substitute with noodles or veggie noodles.
- Over Roasted Spaghetti Squash
Garden Vegetable Pasta Sauce
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 small onion (finely diced into 1/4-inch pieces)
- 1 small zucchini ( finely diced into 1/4-inch pieces)
- 1 large carrot (finely diced into 1/4-inch pieces)
- 1 cup mushrooms (finely diced into 1/4-inch pieces)
- 4 cloves garlic (minced)
- 15 ounces crushed tomatoes
- 15 ounces tomato sauce
- 1 1/2 cups water (chicken or vegetable broth)
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh basil ((or 1 teaspoon dried))
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 tablespoon sugar or honey*
- salt and pepper to taste
- SAUTE THE VEGGIES: Heat the oil in a stock pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Once the oil is shimmering, add the onion, zucchini, carrots, and mushrooms. Season with salt and pepper. Sauté the vegetables until they have all softened, about 8 minutes.
- ADD THE REMAINING INGREDIENTS: Once the veggies are soft, add the garlic and stir constantly for about 60 seconds. Add the crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, water, basil, red pepper flakes, and sugar. Stir to incorporate the vegetables and bring to a boil. Taste and add salt and pepper to your liking.
- SIMMER: Reduce the heat to a simmer and continue simmering for 15 minutes or until the liquid reduces by 1/3. Turn off the heat and taste again to see if more salt or pepper is needed.
- SERVE: Serve warm over noodles, meatballs, or in any dish you like.
- MAKE IT WHOLE30 – Eliminate the sweetener, add a teaspoon of baking soda to cut acidity if needed.
- VEGGIE SUBSTITUTIONS – See the full blog post for other vegetables you can use
**This blog post contains affiliate links to products that I actually use and that align with my values. See my affiliate disclaimer here.
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