Sneaky Vegetable Tomato Sauce (for Pizza, Pasta & More)


Who couldn’t use more recipes packed with produce? This sneaky vegetable tomato sauce may look like an ordinary red sauce, but it’s packed with a bushel of healthy ingredients. To add richness, the recipe starts with olive oil, which I wouldn’t be tempted to omit. Not only does it enhance the flavor, but studies have also shown that your body absorbs nutrients from greens and other vegetables better when they are consumed with a monounsaturated fat.

Sneaky Vegetable Tomato Sauce plus a quick & easy recipe for grilled pizza slices (dairy-free, vegan, optionally gluten-free). The sauce is a summer staple, filled with fresh produce, naturally paleo, and made without top allergens.This sneaky vegetable tomato sauce recipe and photos were shared with us by

Enjoy this sneaky vegetable tomato sauce on just about any Italian-inspired meal, including easy grilled dairy-fee pizza bread. Simply brush 1/4- to 1/2-inch thick slices of your favorite crusty bread (wheat or gluten-free) witholive oil and season lightly with salt and pepper. Grill the bread until lightly crisp on each side and transfer to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Top each slice with the sneaky vegetable tomato sauce (recipe below), sprinkle with dairy-free cheese alternative sheds (I’m loving Follow Your Heart’s new formula right now), and then add any other toppings desired (fresh herbs, olives, etc.). Bake at 350ºF for about 5 miniutes, or until the cheese alternative is melty (may vary by brand).

And as an added bonus, the olive oil people shared this very cool butter to oil conversion chart! However, if converting for baking, use caution. These conversions may work well in cakes and muffins, but not so well in chewier or flakier baked goods like cookies and bars. In those cases, I use half the amount of oil to butter and add liquid (such as dairy-free milk beverage) as needed to get the right consistency.

Easy Butter to Olive Oil conversion chart plus a versatile Sneaky Vegetable Tomato Sauce Recipe.

Special Diet Notes: Sneaky Vegetable Tomato Sauce

By ingredients, this recipe is dairy-free / non-dairy, egg-free, gluten-free, grain-free, nut-free, peanut-free, soy-free, vegan / plant-based, vegetarian, paleo and generally top food allergy-friendly.

Sneaky Vegetable Tomato Sauce
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 1 serving
  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups peeled and small diced eggplant
  • 1 cup small diced onion
  • 1 cup small diced carrot
  • 1 cup small diced celery
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 3 quarts canned crushed tomatoes (or fresh tomatoes)
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil cut in long, thin strips
  • 1-2 dry bay leaves
  • Fine sea salt, to taste
  • Black pepper, to taste
  1. In large (5-quart or bigger) thick-bottomed pot, heat the extra-virgin olive oil over medium heat. Add the eggplant, onion, carrot, celery and garlic, and saute gently (not browning the vegetables or garlic) until the vegetables start to become tender.
  2. Add the tomatoes, herbs and bay leaves. Simmer, uncovered, for about 1 hour.
  3. Puree until all vegetables are hidden in the tomato sauce. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  4. Chill and use to make quick meals, such as dairy-free pizzas. Freeze unused sauce in smaller portions for future use.

About Author

Alisa is the founder of, Food Editor for Allergic Living magazine, and author of the best-selling dairy-free book, Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook for Milk Allergies, Lactose Intolerance, and Casein-Free Living, and the new cookbook, Eat Dairy Free: Your Essential Cookbook for Everyday Meals, Snacks, and Sweets. Alisa is also a professional recipe creator and product ambassador for the natural food industry.


  1. This is such an awesome way to load up on a ton of fresh vegetables. Plus I love that you can freeze it and reuse for later. Makes for such a quick and healthy sauce for any meal!

  2. This tomato sauce is brilliant and appropriately named “sneaky” – luv it! Nice way to add fresh produce goodness in a sauce when cooking for otherwise picky eaters. Must be so flavorful! 😉

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