Veggie-Bomb ‘Pasta’ Sauce

I’ve been promising to type this recipe up for way too long, and to be honest I have been putting it off because even though I have been making this recipe for years, it changes every time I make it! But, I have come to realise that thats the beauty of this recipe, it can be changed and ingredients substituted and it still seems to taste amazing no matter the way you make it!

So, why does it change each time? Well, the beauty of this recipe is that it is the epitome of #nowaste – this recipe has been designed to use all of those old, sad, forgotten about vegetables wilting in the bottom of your fridge at the end of the week that would most likely otherwise go to waste! And if you are anything like me, those vegetables vary every week.

There are a few key ingredients that I don’t leave out though, as really they are the basis of a good sauce – onion or leek (one of the other is fine), garlic, basil (or another fresh herb like parsley, thyme or rosemary will work) and the passata (can also use diced tomatoes). The rest of the vegetables will really just add more dimension to the sauce which is the beauty of it.

It is also super gut-nourishing if you include the bone broth (another no waste component) that will aid digestion, support gut-health and adds a delicious flavour. Of course if your family doesn’t consume broth, you can swap this for water or homemade vegetable stock.

This recipe is super versatile – hence ‘pasta’ sauce being the title! We use it for so many things – yes it makes a mean pasta sauce – we love ours with meatballs and red lentil pasta, but also makes a delicious pizza base sauce and really yummy as a shakshuka meal (baked eggs in sauce – yum), use for a chicken parmi or as the base for a ratatouille. For this reason I like to make a big batch and freeze in jars, so that when i’m having ‘one of those nights’ where you just can’t/don’t want to cook, you can still make a super nutritious meal for the whole family with a simple defrost!

So, enough from me, heres the ‘rough’ recipe. Like I said, its super flexible, feel free to swap things out or add things in! This makes about 2L of pasta sauce!

For this meal I have served with my meatballs but its also really nice with leftover lamb shoulder.

Veggie Bomb ‘pasta’ Sauce

GF | DF | RSF | EF | NF
Course 1 meal a day, Family Meals, Main Course
Servings 2 Litres


  • 2 Baking trays
  • Baking Paper
  • Chopping board
  • Large frying pan or skillet
  • Large saucepan
  • Hand-stick blender (optional)
  • Thermomix, food processor, or blender (optional)
  • Jars or containers for storing the sauce


  • 1 brown onion or 1 leek
  • 1 bulb fennel
  • 1-2 zucchini/s
  • 1 cup mushrooms (doesn’t matter what kind)
  • 2 TBSP butter or ghee or coconut oil or olive oil
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 sticks celery
  • 4 garlic cloves (unpeeled)
  • 3-4 cups chopped root vegetables (I like to mix them up, but you can just pick one vegetable if you prefer) e.g. sweet potato, pumpkin, swede, parsnips, turnips, beetroot, red capsicum)
  • Olive oil or ghee to drizzle
  • 1 lemon quartered
  • 1 big handful baby spinach
  • 700 grams passata
  • 1 400g tin diced tomatoes 
  • 2 cups bone broth
  • 1 big handful basil leaves
  • 2  TBSP balsamic vinegar
  • 2  TBSP raw honey omit under 12 months
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  • 1/4 cup Roasted Bone Marrow
  • 3 serves desiccated liver powder
  • 250 grams liver frozen, grated raw
  • 400 grams tinned chickpeas or cannellini beans drained


  • Preheat the oven to 180C and line two baking trays with baking paper.
  • Chop and prepare all the veggies. Slice the onion/leek, fennel, zucchini and mushrooms. Then roughly chop (approximately 1 inch size) the carrots, celery and root vegetables of choice – it doesn’t matter how they are chopped really just try and keep them even sized so that they cook evenly! Quarter your lemon and take the basil leaves off the stalks.
  • Then place your chopped root vegetables, fennel, lemon, garlic, carrot and celery evenly onto the baking trays and drizzle with ghee or olive oil, then pop in the oven to roast until soft and lightly browned (will take around 45 minutes) .
  • Whilst the vegetables are roasting, heat a large frying pan or skillet over medium heat, and add the butter (or ghee or oil of choice) until melted. Then add the leek or onion, mushrooms and zucchini to the pan and gently fry until starting to brown and soften, turning a couple of times so that they cook on both sides.
  • Once the vegetables in the oven are roasted, add to a large sauce pan with the frying pan vegetables and place on a low-medium heat. Squeeze in the roasted lemon and garlic cloves (discard the skins). Then add the bone broth, passata, basil and baby spinach, honey and balsamic vinegar. Stir until all combined and continue to heat until simmering. Taste and season with salt and pepper if needed.
  • Then either use a hand-stick blender in the saucepan, or transfer mixture to a thermomix, food processor or blender and blend until completely smooth, then transfer into whatever jars or containers you want to refrigerate or freeze. This sauce lasts about 5 days in the fridge, or up to 6 months in the freezer!


Want to make this sauce extra iron-rich? You can also add bone marrow or liver to this sauce and I promise nobody is going to notice. Up to you if you want to add it to the whole batch or just to some of the batch.
Personally I like to grate the liver in (from frozen) as I find its less noticeable in taste and texture. To grate the liver in, simply freeze liver of choice (I like chicken or duck for less flavour, but beef or lamb is fine to use also).  I would use around 250g of liver in this meal if adding to the whole sauce. You can grate the frozen liver in on step 5. You can also use a desiccated liver or organ powder!
For a vegetarian option you can also add 1 400g tin of drained cannellini beans or chickpeas at step 5. 
AGE APPROPRIATE: one meal a day+
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
Picture via @twinsinmykitchen of the collagen and liver loaded meatballs from Milk to Meals

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Recipe Rating

  1. Emma says:

    Just made this. So delicious! Thanks so much for posting the recipe.

  2. Rachael says:

    Packed with flavour and is a total favourite thank you!!

  3. Chloe says:

    Winner winner! The whole family (including 9-month bubba) love this recipe. Have already used it for pasta and nachos. Thanks Luka

  4. Leena says:

    Just made this but it was inedible due to the roasted lemon making everything bitter! Really wanted it to work.

    • Luka McCabe says:

      Oh really! I love the lemon squeeze through! If you don’t like the flavour definitely leave it out next time 🙂

  5. Bethany says:

    Do you really need to add maple syrup (baby is 9mnths) if you avoiding added sugars?

  6. Amy says:

    This recipe is scrumptious! And it made lots for the freezer! Love all those big pile of hidden veggies thankyou for sharing. Yummy!

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