My two and a half year old son (previously the-boy-who-will-eat-anything) is going through a bit of a picky eating phase right now. Read: he only wants to eat buttered noodles.
This can easily be explained by our recent transition to a family of 4, a severe lack of time and energy, and one too many careless short-cut pasta dinners.
Lesson learned: All quick fixes in parenthood will come back to haunt you. Guaranteed.
So. We are working on our table etiquette these days. No more dinner substitutions! We all eat the same thing. And we have to taste everything on our plates at least once before deciding that we don't like it.
(ps: here's a great article on the topic)
This, of course, doesn't mean no more pasta. After all, I love pasta too. So I invented a sneaky little spaghetti sauce consisting mostly of (hidden) blended up vegetables. I think it tastes rather delicious, if I don't say so myself.
I served it to my son, pre-mixed with the noodles, so he couldn't pick out only the un-saucy ones (he does that). And at first he protested.... "want yellow noodles!" he kept saying (which is noodles with butter and a little nutritional yeast sprinkled on top). I stayed firm, and told him that this was all there was. He eventually caved. And then he ate 2 bowls full.
Read on for the sneaky recipe...
Sneaky Vegetable Spaghetti Sauce for Picky Little Eaters
1 cup (packed) fresh spinach leaves
1 whole tomato
1/2 red bell pepper
2 medium carrots
1 Tbsp olive oil
4 Tbsp tomato paste
optional seasonings (what I use):
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp dried basil
1 Tbsp nutritional yeast flakes
1 squeeze of honey, agave syrup or pinch of brown sugar
Place the spinach, tomato, onion, bell pepper, and carrots in a food processor, and blend until very well chopped - almost smooth.
Heat the oil in a sauce pan and add the vegetable mixture. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, then reduce to a slow simmer. Cook for about 10 minutes, until all the veggies are soft. Add the tomato paste, and seasonings of your choice.
You could also then add in a protein of your choice if you so desire (crumbled tofu, cooked ground meat etc).
If you want to completely hide the veggies, you could blend the sauce even smoother with an immersion blender.
Serve over pasta (preferably one with little nooks in it, like rotini or farfale, for the sauce to get "stuck" in), and top with grated cheese.