Rainbow veg sauce is perfect for when you're busy, as it’s a super quick way to get an excellent mix of veggies into your kids and helps to produce tasty meals in a flash!
Although “hiding veg” is not a great long-term solution, veg-heavy sauces can be an excellent way to add more veg to your family’s diet in addition to presenting more visible veg on a plate. It means that, even if the vegetables they can see isn’t all eaten, they are getting some extra in anyway.
So a veg-packed sauce can be a perfect batch-bake and freeze kind of dish. Bake up a big batch (double, or even triple the recipe) at the weekend, and freeze in 2 ways:
- Get out an ice cube tray and fill with heaped tablespoon portions of the veg sauce. This is perfect for topping pizza bases, or for when you need just a little for a pitta bread, sandwich, single serve of pasta or other small dishes.
- Get yourself a bunch of freezer bags, freezer-safe containers or even empty old jam jars (just make sure you are filling them with cold veg sauce and never fill to the top to prevent cracking in the freezer). Pour about 400-500g of the sauce into each jar - this will be roughly the equivalent of one tin of tomatoes or passata in recipes that call for it!
And when you get all of this stocked in your freezer, it’s just a question of defrosting (pop in the microwave or a pan until piping hot) and using as you would tomato sauce. You can replace in any recipe that calls for tomato sauce, tinned tomatoes or passata, including:
- Pasta sauce - the easiest way to use it is simply to heat through and pour over cooked pasta, then sprinkle with cheese and add in any extras you like (extra veg, cooked meat or fish or pulses, fresh or dried herbs…).
- Pizza sauce - use a couple of the tablespoon portions in your ice cube trays to spread over a homemade or shop-bought pizza base and add mozzarella and your choice of toppings. Better yet - get the kids doing this themselves! Not got time for proper pizza making? Try an ice cube portion spread on tortilla wraps or pitta breads for mini instant pizzas.
- Casseroles and stews - instead of adding passata, chopped tomatoes or sauces to a casserole, stir in 400-500g of this sauce and add instant extra flavour as well as veg.
- Lasagne and pies - this sauce is perfect in the meat sauce for a lasagne, or mixed into the mince part of a cottage or shepherd’s pie.
- Curries - making a tomato-based curry instead of a coconut milk one? Replace the chopped tomatoes with this sauce.
- Ketchup - why not try dipping your chips (or better yet, veggie fries!) into a healthier alternative to ketchup by defrosting a few ice cubes of the sauce and popping into a bowl on the table?
- Homemade baked beans - make your own baked beans by stirring a couple of tins of cooked haricot or cannellini beans into this sauce and heating through. Add a teaspoon of sweetener (syrup, molasses or brown sugar work well) and a pinch of salt if you like yours sweet.
Wondering why it’s so important to eat a variety of different vegetables? Dr Rangan Chatterjee tells us why eating the rainbow is so key to our health here.