Kelly’s “Sneaky” Veggie-Laden Marinara Sauce

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Chef Kelly Anderson, founder of The Lunch Bunch, is a master at getting kids to eat their vegetables. One of her strategies: Sneak veggies into favorite foods. This thick marinara sauce is packed with tomatoes (of course), plus a boatload of onions, carrots, celery and fresh herbs. But once it’s pureed, even the most skeptical kid will just see–and taste–bright-flavored tomato sauce. It’s familiar enough to win over little ones, yet bold and vibrant enough to appeal to grown-up palates. Use it on pizzas, over pasta or as a soup base.

Kelly’s “Sneaky” Veggie-Laden Marinara Sauce

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 35 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

Yield: about 6 cups

Kelly’s “Sneaky” Veggie-Laden Marinara Sauce

This recipe is a good opportunity to practice your knife skills. Or just use a food processor to make quick work of dicing the vegetables.


  1. 2 tablespoons olive oil
  2. 3 medium carrots, diced
  3. 2 stalks celery, diced
  4. 1 onion, diced
  5. 5 garlic cloves, minced
  6. 1 (28-ounce) can organic crushed tomatoes
  7. 2 tablespoons fresh oregano
  8. 1 tablespoon fresh thyme
  9. 1 (2-1/2-ounce) bunch fresh basil, roughly chopped
  10. Sea salt and black pepper, to taste


Heat a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the oil. Add the carrots, celery and onion; cook 5-7 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Add garlic; cook 30 seconds or until fragrant. Stir in the tomatoes, thyme, oregano and basil. Simmer 30 minutes until thickened to desired consistency. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cool to room temperature.

Puree in a blender or food processor or with an immersion blender. Refrigerate up to 1 week or freeze up to 6 months.

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