This Loaded Veggie Tomato Sauce is packed with zucchini, carrots, bell peppers, celery and onions all simmered and blended together for the most delicious marinara that can be used with pasta, meatballs, on top of pizza, as a dipping sauce and so much more!

This Loaded Veggie Tomato Sauce is packed with zucchini, carrots, bell peppers, celery and onions all simmered and blended together for the most delicious marinara that can be used with pasta, meatballs, on top of pizza, as a dipping sauce and so much more!

Making homemade tomato sauce is a MUST in our household and I was inspired to make this recipe thanks to my two year old daughter.  Lately she has become SO picky, but the one thing she loves is pasta so I wanted to get creative with giving her a wholesome dinner that she would actually eat!  Insert this DELICIOUS Loaded Veggie Tomato Sauce that is low in sugar and packed with onions, carrots, celery, bell peppers, zucchini, garlic, and Italian seasonings for a flavorful sauce that can be used in so many dishes!

The best part about this (for my two year old anyway) is that this sauce gets nice and blended into a smooth, flavorful sauce, so no chunks of vegetables for those picky little eaters.  The carrots and onions add a natural sweetness and I love that this sauce can be used in everything from pasta dishes, to meatballs, enchiladas, on top of pizzas, these zucchini boats, eggplant or chicken parmesan, as a dipping sauce, and so much more.  This is truly a recipe that the whole family will love and a great staple to have handy!

Now I want to clarify, I think its so important that little eaters learn to eat and ENJOY vegetables in their full form, but I also like to give my daughter as much nutrition as I can, so finding ways to sneak in more veggies in everyday dishes is a plus for me!

This Loaded Veggie Tomato Sauce is packed with zucchini, carrots, bell peppers, celery and onions all simmered and blended together for the most delicious marinara that can be used with pasta, meatballs, on top of pizza, as a dipping sauce and so much more!

Ingredients You’ll Need

  • San Marzano tomatoes – hands down the BEST tomatoes for a good homemade tomato sauce!  San Marzano tomatoes just have that perfect balance of sweetness and are less acidic which is what you want in a good marinara
  • Olive oil – you’ll want to use good olive oil in this recipe to sauté the veggies.  Doesn’t have to be expensive, just make sure it’s cold-pressed and organic for the most flavor (in my opinion)
  • Veggies – I used a combination of zucchini, carrots, bell peppers, onions and celery in this sauce, but you could also add yellow squash, mushrooms, leeks or whatever veggies you prefer
  • Tomato paste – this thickens the sauce and gives it that robust tomato color!
  • Vegetable broth – this helps thin out the sauce and also adds a little extra flavor, but you could also use chicken broth or even water
  • Garlic – I loaded this sauce with garlic because…why not?!  6 cloves of garlic may seem like a lot, but it truly makes this sauce taste amazing!
  • Seasonings – Italian seasoning, salt and pepper.  I also like to add a little crushed red chili flakes for some added spice, but I always set aside a non-spicy jar of sauce for my daughter

This Loaded Veggie Tomato Sauce is packed with zucchini, carrots, bell peppers, celery and onions all simmered and blended together for the most delicious marinara that can be used with pasta, meatballs, on top of pizza, as a dipping sauce and so much more!

How to Make Loaded Veggie Tomato Sauce

The great thing about this sauce is how EASY it is to make!  The only time-consuming part is chopping all of the vegetables, but just pop on you favorite podcast or listen to some good music and you’ll be good to go! 😉

  1. Chop, chop, chop!  Like I said before, this is the most time-consuming part of this entire recipe, but trust me, it’s worth it!  I like to finely chop all of the vegetables which will allow them to soften quicker when cooking and make them easier to blend into the sauce later on.
  2. Cook veggies.  In a large saucepan, or Dutch oven, drizzle olive oil and heat over medium heat until the oil is hot.  Sauté the onions and carrots first for about 2 minutes, until they have softened, then add in the garlic and sauté for about 30 seconds more.  Next, add in the celery, bell peppers, zucchini, Italian seasoning, (crushed red chili flakes if you want the spice), salt and pepper, and continue cooking all of the veggies until they are soft, about 10 to 12 minutes.  You’ll want to continually stir them, making sure they don’t burn.
  3. Make the sauce.  Mix in the tomato paste with the vegetable mixture and continue cooking about 2 minutes, then add in the tomatoes and vegetable broth.  Bring the sauce to a boil, then reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for about 45 minutes to an hour to really get the best flavor!
  4. Blend!  Using an immersian blender (I highly recommend this as it makes blending the sauce so quick and easy with no mess!), or you could transfer the sauce in batches to a regular blender, and purée the sauce until smooth.
  5. Serve or store for later.  You can either serve this sauce immediately while warm with your favorite noodles, in a casserole or on top of pizza (see below for all my favorite ways to use this sauce!) and top with fresh chopped basil, if desired.  Or if you want to store this sauce for later, let the sauce cool completely, then tranfer to mason jars, containers or large Ziplock bags.  This sauce will last for about 5 days in the fridge and will freeze for up to 3 months.

Now I chose to blend all the veggies into the sauce using an immerisan blender, but you can absolutely make this a chunky sauce and keep all those delicious veggies intact!  Blending the veggies makes a nice smooth sauce and really disperses those flavors all throughout.  This is also great for picky little eaters who tend to eat around vegetables.

Can I Add Meat to This Sauce?

Absolutely!  For more of a bolognese-style tomato sauce, feel free to brown some ground turkey, ground beef or even some Italian sausage and mix it in with this sauce once it’s blended for a more savory meal and added protein.

This Loaded Veggie Tomato Sauce is packed with zucchini, carrots, bell peppers, celery and onions all simmered and blended together for the most delicious marinara that can be used with pasta, meatballs, on top of pizza, as a dipping sauce and so much more!

Prepping & Storing

This loaded veggie tomato sauce will last up to 5 days in a sealed airtight container in your fridge and will freeze up to 3 months in your freezer.  Just make sure the sauce has cooled completely before storing.  This sauce makes a TON, so I like to divide it up into individual servings in mason jars or large Ziplock bags to freeze and thaw out as needed.  When ready to re-heat, simply thaw the sauce out in the fridge and pour into a saucepan on the stove and heat over medium-low, stirring occasionally, until heated through.

What to Serve This With

  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Total Time: 1 hour 10 mins

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 medium onions, finely chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and finely chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 celery stalks, finely chopped
  • 2 red bell peppers, finely chopped
  • 1 medium zucchini, finely chopped
  • 2 Tbsp Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red chili flakes (optional if you want spice)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 2 (28 oz) cans whole peeled San Marzano tomatoes
  • 2 cups vegetable broth (or water)
  • Optional: fresh chopped basil

Instructions

  1. Drizzle olive oil in a large saucepan, or Dutch oven, over medium heat.  Once the oil is hot, sauté onions and carrots first for about 2 minutes, until softened, then add garlic and sauté for about 30 seconds.
  2. Next add in the celery, bell peppers, zucchini, Italian seasoning, crushed red chili flakes (optional), salt and pepper, and continue cooking the vegetables until soft, about 10 to 12 minutes, stirring occasionally, making sure they don’t burn.
  3. Mix in the tomato paste with the vegetable mixture and continue cooking about 2 minutes, then add in the tomatoes and vegetable broth.
  4. Bring the sauce to a boil, then reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for about 45 minutes to an hour to really get the best flavor.
  5. Using an immersian blender, or you could transfer the sauce in batches to a regular blender, purée the sauce until smooth.  Serve immediately while warm and top with fresh chopped basil, if desired.
  6. If storing for later, let the sauce cool completely, then tranfer to jars, containers or large Ziplock bags.  This sauce will last for about 5 days in the fridge and will freeze for up to 3 months.

Nutrition Facts:

  • Serving Size: 1/2 cup
  • Calories: 61
  • Sugar: 6.3 g
  • Sodium: 103.3 mg
  • Fat: 1.9 g
  • Saturated Fat: 0.3 g
  • Carbohydrates: 7.7 g
  • Fiber: 3.2 g
  • Protein: 1.7 g

* Please note that all nutrition information are just estimates. Values will vary among brands, so we encourage you to calculate these on your own for most accurate results.