One of the easiest ways to broaden kids’ palates is to start with a food you know they like and make minor tweaks. This familiar marinara sauce incorporates roasted red peppers. Hemp seeds add a little protein and a pleasantly nutty undertone. The sauce flavor will likely be slightly different than they expect, but not enough to set off tiny alarm bells.
• 2 red bell peppers, sliced (about 2 cups)
• 1 small to medium onion, peeled and sliced (about 1 cup)
• 1 tablespoon olive oil
• ¼ teaspoon salt
• 1 (14.5-ounce) can tomato sauce
• 2 tablespoons hemp seeds
• 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
• 12-16 ounces pasta
• Toppings: Crumbled goat cheese, grated Parmesan, chopped walnuts, crushed red pepper flakes, snipped fresh basil
1. Preheat oven to 375°. In a bowl, toss pepper and onion slices with oil and salt; spread on a baking sheet and roast 25 minutes, or until soft.
2. Transfer cooked vegetables to a blender and add tomato sauce and hemp seeds. Blend on high until very smooth. Stir in Italian seasoning.
3. Prepare pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, transfer sauce to a medium saucepan and heat until warmed through. Season to taste.
4. Drain pasta, reserving 1 cup of the pasta water. If the sauce is too thick, thin with a little of the reserved water. Toss drained pasta with sauce and serve with desired toppings.