Sneak in some veggies to your pasta dinner. What they don’t know can’t hurt them, but it can make their dinner a lot healthier!


Makes: 2 adult or 4 toddler portions
Difficulty: easy


  • 1 tsp of olive oil
  • 1/2 large onion, chopped
  • 1 celery stick, chopped
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 1/2 leek, chopped
  • 1 pepper, deseeded and chopped
  • 1 tsp of mixed dried herbs
  • 14 oz can of chopped tomatoes with garlic or freshly chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp of balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup of dried pasta shapes or spaghetti noodles
  • Parmesan, shaved and rocket to serve (optional)
  • 1/4 lettuce
  • Your choice of cooked meat, fish or red lentils (optional)


Heat the oil in a large non-stick saucepan and gently cook the onion, celery, carrots and leek until soft (about 20 mins). Add the peppers, mixed dried herbs and cooked fish or meat and cook for 10 mins more, then pour in the tomatoes and vinegar. Simmer for at least 15 mins – the longer the better!

Cook the pasta following the pack instructions.

While the pasta is cooking, blitz the sauce with a hand blender until smooth, season and return to the heat to keep warm while the pasta cooks.

Drain the pasta and pour the sauce on top and mix.

Serve in bowls topped with grated cheese and a fresh green lettuce salad.

Neat cheats

You can buy a ready-made sauce but be aware that most ready-made sauces are high in salt.

Make it together!

Involve your child by getting them to pull the leaves off the lettuce, wash them
 and put them into a serving bowl. An example toddler portion for this would be 3-4 tbsp of cooked pasta.

Messy fun! Sheena x