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Ella’s Hidden Vegetable Sauce

This recipe has always been a go-to throughout my time as a nanny and even at home in my own cooking - it’s simply marvellous (pun very much intended!). It came about as I’d never been a big fan of jars of sauces as they taste bland, have little nutritional value and are usually full of sugar. However, I love the convenience of having something on hand for quick dinners so I created this delicious and nutritious sauce that’s so easy to make. You can also easily double the batch and freeze some portions for later. It’s totally versatile and you can change up the vegetables to whatever needs to be used up in the fridge. Some great alternatives I’ve also tried include mushrooms, leeks, broccoli even some leftover sprouts from Christmas can be chucked in! 

-Ella  Trigwell

Norlander, Founder of Marvellous 

Ella’s Hidden Vegetable Sauce




5 mins 


30 mins 


9 months+ 




  • 1 tablespoon olive oil 

  • 1 onion, roughly chopped 

  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped 

  • 1 carrot, roughly chopped 

  • 1 courgette, roughly chopped 

  • 1 red pepper, roughly chopped 

  • 1 bag of spinach 

  • 1 can (400g) tomatoes 

  • Zero-salt stock cube 

  • 1 tablespoon tomato puree 

  • 1 tbsp Italian mixed herbs (dried oregano, basil, thyme etc) 

  • A good squirt of tomato ketchup* 


  1. Heat olive oil in a saucepan over a medium heat. Add the chopped onion and sauté until translucent, about 2-3 minutes. 

  1. Add the minced garlic and cook for another minute. 

  1. Add the carrot, courgette and red pepper to the pan. Cook for 5-10 minutes until the vegetables soften. 

  1. Wash your spinach leaves then add these into the pan. Cook for another few minutes until the spinach has wilted. 

  1. Stir in the dried Italian herbs. 

  1. Pour in the tinned tomatoes, tomato puree and then crumble in the stock cube. Stir well to combine. 

  1. Bring the sauce to a gentle simmer, then reduce the heat to low. Let it simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. 

  1. Once the sauce has thickened slightly and the vegetables are soft, remove it from the heat. 

  1. Let the sauce cool for a few minutes. Then, use a stick blender to purée the sauce until smooth if you want to completely hide the vegetables. 

  1. Serve the sauce over cooked pasta or use it as a base for various pasta dishes. Enjoy!  

Tips and Tricks

  • *The low salt and sugar ketchup alternatives can be used, but the small amount of sugar from a squirt of ketchup is fine and helps balance out the acidity. 

  • Freeze a few individual servings for a quick and easy pasta sauce when defrosted.  

  • You can also use this sauce as a great base for our Puff Pastry Pizza recipe available in the Marvellous App! 

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