Vegetable loaded pasta sauce

I recently shared my first “cooking” reel on Instagram and it sparked a few comments, as well a lot of chat in my DMs. Lots of you also asked for me to share my recipes with you. I absolutely love nutrition and it has always been an area that has really interested me, even more so when the gut microbiome research started to really get some traction about 10 or so years ago. I was already in the depths of my PhD, researching bacterial interactions so combining this knowledge with nutrition was a match made in heaven for me! I love that you are also interested in nutrition for your haircare as it allows me to share with you my love of curls, science, and nutritional science. I am not a nutritionist, but I am a scientist who loves cooking and has researched bacterial interactions in detail. I am also always reading up on the science around nutrition so really love that you want me to share this knowledge with you.

A lot of you said that you hadn’t really thought about nutrition when caring for your curls, mainly just looking at products and what products can do. However, as well as great products, our curls need great nutrition. Hair to our body is a luxury, hair isn’t important for life, so unless we are taking care of ourselves and providing the nutrients we need to fuel our body, we can not expect our hair to be grow strong.

As many of you know, I am half Italian, so my love for pasta is next level. It is for this reason that I wanted to share with you my super easy pasta sauce that is loaded with vegetables. Firstly, when it comes to pasta sauce (I am talking a red pasta sauce here), I am quite a conocer on tomato sauces. For this recipe, I like to use a passata mainly because it doesn’t need much cooking time and you can easily whip up a really great tasting sauce in about 30 – 40 mins. Passata has had the tomato skin and seeds removed so you are missing out on the phytonutrients often found in the skin and seeds but I load my sauce with extra vegetable so you don’t really end up missing out on key nutrients.

Vegetable loaded pasta sauce recipe


  • 1 250 ml jar of passata, I recommend the Mutti brand as it tastes so good!
  • 1 onion
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • Good pinch of oregano

Your choice of vegetables, I often use the following:

  • Handful of wild garlic
  • 1 leek
  • Handful of mushrooms
  • 1 courgette

In terms of the best tasting passata, this has got to be the best Mutti Passata Gastronomia with Cherry Tomatoes | Waitrose & Partners, it is so sweet and delicate, it is just lovely!


I start my sauce off with extra virgin olive oil and will add a good glug of this to my pan, I will heat this gently for a minute before adding and frying off finely chopped onion (red or white, whatever is in the fridge) and also grate in a clove of garlic, I will if I also have it in the fridge, finely chop up one celery stalk and fry this off with the onions and garlic. I fry until the onions are translucent and watch to make sure the garlic doesn’t catch and go brown as this can make the sauce taste bitter. I then add the passata and bring it to a gentle simmer. I will then add whatever vegetable I have to hand, this could be chopped mushrooms, chopped leaks, an additional chopped tomato, chopped courgette just whatever you have available. I have also been known to finely chop chard and add this, spinach and when it is in season I love to add wild garlic. One thing I always add it a good pinch of oregano, I absolutely love oregano so never miss this out. I then leave this all to simmer for around 30 minutes, making sure to keep stirring the sauce so that it doesn’t catch. The passata is such a lovely sauce that there is usually no need to add any salt or any sugar as the Mutti passata is very rarely bitter.

After about 30 minutes I boil my pasta according the packet instructions, drain and add the pasta sauce and you are done. If you following the vegetables I have used, you are getting 7 plant points in just one sitting!

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