Pasta with Slow Simmered Marinara Sauce

Pasta with Slow Simmered Marinara Sauce

With kids and food, I find it all comes down to marketing. For an adult audience I would advertise this as a Slow Simmered Marinara Sauce, but where my kids are concerned, it is Sauce.

My kids have a selective relationship with . While they love Kale Chips, they are not a fan of big chunks of greens in dishes. Does this mean I don’t use kale in my cooking? Not at all, I include greens in almost all of my savoury dishes. I just make sure to cut it into fine pieces, purée it, or use positive advertising, catering meal labels around whatever my kids happen to be into at the time.

I also invite them to see something they are not sure about as a version of something they love. My kids weren’t sure about broccoli stems, so I thinly sliced them, and called them broccoli cookies. Now they fight over who gets to eat the “broccoli cookies” whenever I pair this dish with Roasted Broccoli. As I mentioned above, it is all about the marketing. I prefer this to hiding vegetables in dishes, as I would like my kids to have a positive relationship with the veggies they are eating, especially the green ones. I did mention pureeing greens above, however this is to shift the texture rather than to hide the fact that I am including greens as one of my ingredients.

Pasta with Slow Simmered Marinara Sauce


2 Tbsp olive oil
5 cloves garlic, crushed
1 medium onion
1 red pepper, finely diced
Pinch salt
1½ tsp each of thyme, oregano and rosemary
28 oz BPA-free can organic crushed tomatoes (a glass jar is even better!)
⅓ cup almond flour
¼ cup nutritional yeast
1 lg handful fresh basil, finely chopped
2 lg handfuls kale, finely chopped
Small drizzle lemon juice
Drizzle of truffle oil
Salt and Pepper to taste


Warm olive oil in a sauté pan over medium/low heat. Sweat onions, peppers and garlic with a pinch of sea salt over low heat for 15 mins to a half an hour. The longer you slow cook the veg, the richer the flavour of the sauce will be. Add spices and sauté for another 5 minutes. Add crushed tomatoes, cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Add almond flour, nutritional yeast, fresh basil and kale, stir to combine and cook for another 5 minutes. Purée in a blender for a smooth sauce, or leave as is for a chunkier sauce. Remove from heat, and add lemon juice & truffle oil. Check seasoning, and adjust with a bit of salt and pepper, as needed.

I love to pair this with pasta, either spaghetti, fettuccine or penne.

What is your favourite way to market more challenging foods to your kids?

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Jean Newton

    Hi Juliette,When my children were young (in the ’70’s), the first of the Star Wars movies had just come out. I made a casserole with vegetarian ingredients including navy beans and apples. At the time, my children favoured hamburger in all sauces. So I called the vegetarian dish Star Wars Casserole, and it was an immediate favourite. They wanted me to make it for their friends, who also loved it. To this day, we all love Star Wars casserole…and know it by no other name.


    1. juliettelacroix

      Fabulous, I love it! I suspect when my kids are a bit older and we start moving from Shrek to Star Wars we may very well end up making a Star Wars Casserole of our own! I love how fun nicknames for dishes can lead to family favourites and traditions. 🙂

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