If you follow my blog, you know I’m not a fan of hiding or sneaking veggies in my kids’ food, instead I let the veggies shine. The onions, carrots, squash and red peppers all serve a purpose and that is to balance out the acidity of the tomatoes with their natural sweetness (no sugar needed). Add the protein of your choice and you have a meal that is balanced in every way. Full of fiber, calcium, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, this is a meal your little ones will happily devour. Enjoy!
5-Vegetable Pasta Bolognese
Serves: 6-8 kid servings
1 medium onion, peeled and cut into quarters
2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely minced
1 red pepper, cored and roughly chopped
2 carrots, peeled and cut into big chunks
1 cup peeled and chopped butternut squash
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
¼ cup tomato paste
1 tablespoon each dried oregano and basil
1 pound lean ground meat (chicken, turkey or grass-fed beef)
1 teaspoon salt
1 large can or box of copped tomatoes (28oz.)
¼ cup grated parmesan cheese, plus more for sprinkling
¾ pound whole-wheat elbow pasta (or other small pasta such as penne or spirals)
In a food processor, add onions, pulse until finely diced. Set aside. Add red pepper, carrots and squash to food processor and pulse until very finely chopped/shredded.
Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Add onions and sauté 5 minutes. Stir in garlic and sauté 1 minute. Add chopped vegetable mix and sauté an additional 8-10 minutes. Stir in tomato paste, oregano and basil, cook an additional 1 minute.
Add ground meat and salt and continue to cook, breaking up meat with a spoon, an additional 4-5 minutes, until cooked though.
Stir in chopped tomatoes, increase heat, bring to a light boil. Reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes. Add parmesan cheese and cook an additional 20 minutes, until mixture has thickened.
During the last 20 minutes of cooking the tomato sauce, bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Cook pasta according to package directions and drain (about 8-10 minutes).
Serve bolognese over pasta and sprinkle with additional parmesan cheese.
Freeze any leftovers for up to 3 months in the freezer.