My “I NEED To Use These Veggies!” Pasta Sauce Recipe

As you may remember from some of my other posts, my husband and I had our first “real” garden this growing season.  While it is dwindling in terms of what plants are still producing, we have a plethora of tomatoes and peppers.  My mother has a very impressive amount of giant carrots (and I really do mean giant) that she brought me, and we still have onions along with cubed zucchini that I froze.  My husband has reached of point of not wanting to eat anymore raw tomatoes, which is a problem since there are plenty still left on the plants.  What does this mean?  Figure out a way to use them all in one dish!

 I have to give my husband some credit for helping with this recipe, as he did all of the cutting, mincing, and chopping.  The recipe below is what I would call a rough outline of what you could do with this sauce.  Here it is:

Pasta Sauce Recipe


8 medium sized tomatoes and around 30 cherry tomatoes (I only did this because we have both sizes)

1 onion, minced

4 cloves of garlic, minced

4-5 tablespoons olive oil

2 small or 1 large bell pepper, chopped

1 medium carrot, chopped

1 cup of zucchini, cubed

2 tablespoons of a mixture of oregano, basil, rosemary, and parsley (I used dried, but fresh would be awesome!)

¼ cup parmesan cheese (romano or other hard cheeses would also be great)

Step 1. Roast

Halve and remove seeds from medium tomatoes.  Cover with olive oil and sprinkle with basil.  Roast in 400 degree oven for 35-40 minutes.

 pasta sauce recipe

Step 2. Saute

When tomatoes are almost done roasting, place onion, garlic, and olive oil in large sauce pan or stock pot and simmer until onions are clear.  Add peppers and simmer for a few minutes before adding roasted tomatoes along with the seasonings.

 pasta sauce recipe

Step 3. Mix and Simmer

Mix well and add carrots, zucchini, and additional cherry tomatoes.  Cover and simmer on low for about an hour, stirring occasionally.  Once tomatoes are very well broken down, add parmesan cheese and allow to simmer for a few more minutes before pureeing.  I used an immersion blender very carefully right in the stock pot, but do whatever you need to do!  If removing from pot and placing in blender, let cool a bit before pureeing. 

(Please note: You don’t need to puree if you like a thicker sauce or don’t have kids who may question the chunks.  However, I would suggest adding tomato paste or letting the sauce cook down uncovered for awhile in order to avoid a watery sauce.)

pasta sauce recipe

Step 4. Add Meat (optional)

We added cooked ground pork to the sauce and again allowed it to simmer for about ten minutes before serving over pasta.  It was great! 

As you can see from the pictures, my sauce was very orange.  This was due to the large number of orange tomatoes I used.  If you are hiding veggies from the kids and you are afraid they will be startled by the color, just avoid orange or yellow tomatoes!  The non-red veggies blend in really well, or you could even consider using red peppers.

 pasta sauce recipe

Do you have any recipes that use quite a few tomatoes and/or carrots?  I would love suggestions!


Lana Criswell is a born and bred Hawkeye fan who has lived in Iowa City for almost ten years! She came for college and never looked back. Lana has been married to her husband, Tom, for two years and is momma to Jessa (3.5 months) and Charlie, the dog. She finished graduate school nearly four years ago in speech-language pathology and works at Children’s Center for Therapy in Iowa City. She is excited to be able to work 80% time now and have some “girl time” with Jessa each week. Lana loves spending time with family and friends, cooking/baking, going to Hawkeye games, going on walks around the neighborhood with the dog, and reading.


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