Thursday, April 7, 2011

Sneaky Monkey Sauce

For the kids, for the picky eaters, for the "eeewww, carrots" kind of people, grown up and child alike - here is the sauce. Put it on a pizza. In a lasag. Over basketti. In ze calzone. Anywhere regular tomato sauce would make an appearance.

Tomatoes are such an acidic (and delicious!) veggie. They have special powers of conversion - seeping into other, more base substances, turning them red, softening them. Disguising them. Making it possible to get "I only eat chicken nuggets!" child (a client's) to unknowingly scarf 2 servings of veggies in one plate of lasagna.


And so, here it is, a personal-cheffing classic - Sneaky Monkey Sauce.

1 28-oz can diced/chopped tomatoes
1 can tomato paste
3 tablespoons garlic
1 small onion, diced
3 cups vegetables of your choice - I used mushrooms, zucchini, broccoli shreds, carrots, and celery, chopped roughly
Basil and oregano, 1 tsp each
2 tablespoons olive oil
Dash red wine
Salt to taste
Dash sugar

First, we're going to mince those veggies to a pulp. Pulsing is the way to go - you want them small and uniform.

At start:

And, finished:

This is actually the first step to my Mushroom Bolognese as well - mincey mc mincerson. Anyways.

Start the sauce as you would normally - heat oil, saute garlic and onion, 3-4 minutes, until onion softens. Add your veggies and turn up the heat - medium-high or so. Stir to coat with oil, cover, and let those suckers go for 3-4 minutes - I like to brown them a bit. Stir. Cover. Repeat.

Deglaze with wine and add all your tomatoes. Fill up your large tomato can half way with water and add that as well. Turn the heat to medium and simmer the sauce 40 or so minutes, until the tomatoes have fallen apart a bit. You'll have to stir pretty regularly, more often that you would normal mater sauce.

Taste for salt, add a little sugar or molasses. If things aren't simmering to indistinguishable-ville as quickly as you'd like, don't be afraid to get the potato masher out and have ats half way through the simmering.

Lookit that thing! Not even a HINT of the veggie power hidden inside. And remember, this sauce doesn't quite have the congealing power regular stewed tomato sauce does - so if you plan on putting this on a pizza, maybe add another 1/2 can of tomato paste, and simmer just a teeny bit longer.


  1. Tomato paste comes in 2 sizes--which sized can? Thanks, looks like a great way to sneak in lots of vegies.

  2. Sneaky sneaky. As a parent I often wonder if disguising veggies is a good idea because I want itty bitty to know that he just ate those veggies and actually liked them. On the other hand, some days I think screw it and try to get sneaky. Pasta sauces seem to be the best way to sneak in the goodness. Great idea!

  3. @anon - I only ever buy the little guys (what are they, 6 ozs? 8?) so that was what I was referring to here. Sorry for the lack of clarity!

    @PC - I totally know what you mean. This one little tyke, however, is just beginning her journey to veggie mecca so we gotta start slow. Kids like that make me realize what a weirdo I was a child - I loved broccoli and cheese so much growing up that I dressed up as it one

  4. Dude, this is awesome. Just emptied the refrigerator of about everything to make a sweet sauce for the pasta. You rock.

  5. This has been my secret for a long time. My child walked in to the kitchen when i was making "red sauce" one day and he was like "are you making soup?" No im making sauce... He couldnt understand why so many veggies.. good ideas ! Thanks for sharing !

  6. Yum!! That looks so good, even with all the veggies!!

  7. The lasagna version looks so delicious! Are you up to sharing the rest of the recipe? *wishful thinking* Is that ricotta cheese in there? And do I see mozzarella?

    1. Hey D+B! You sure do - that lasagna was for a pal's birthday who is a big cheesehead. Think I went through about 8oz of fresh mozz and a pint of ricotta to complete that sucker. And, of course, some noodles. Enjoy :)

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