• Yield: Makes 2 cups; enough for 12 ounces pasta

  • Time: 45 minutes total

From The Complete Baby and Toddler Cookbook by America's Test Kitchen

For ages: 2+ years old

Tomatoes are filled with flavor—­and a lot of water. To make a thick, savory tomato sauce without simmering this fruit (yes, a fruit!) on the stovetop for a long time, we start with our hands. Squeezing out all the extra water and seeds from the fresh tomatoes before roasting them with garlic guarantees a fun time for your toddler. (Just make sure your child is wearing something that washes easily!) Once blended, the sauce has just the right amount of smooth and velvety body without ever hitting the stovetop.


  • 2 1/2 pounds vine-­ripe tomatoes, cored and halved

  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed

  • 2 tablespoons extra-­virgin olive oil

  • 2 teaspoons sugar

  • Salt

  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, torn

The Complete Baby and Toddler Cookbook The Complete Baby and Toddler Cookbook by America's Test Kitchen


1. Adjust oven rack to upper-­middle position and heat oven to 425 degrees. Line rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. Working over bowl, squeeze each tomato half to remove seeds and excess juice; discard seeds and juice. Transfer tomatoes to large bowl. Stir in garlic, 1 tablespoon oil, sugar, and 1 teaspoon salt; transfer to prepared sheet, arranging tomatoes cut side up in even layer.

3. Bake until tomatoes are very soft and starting to brown around edges, 20 to 25 minutes. Transfer sheet to wire rack and let tomatoes cool slightly, about 5 minutes.

4. Carefully transfer tomatoes, garlic, and any accumulated juices from sheet to food processor. Process until smooth, about 1 minute, scraping down bowl as needed. Transfer sauce to clean bowl and stir in remaining 1 tablespoon oil and basil. Season with salt to taste. Serve.

How Your Child Can Help

  • Squeeze tomatoes in step 2

  • Combine tomatoes with oil and garlic and arrange on baking sheet in step 2

  • Tear basil leaves into pieces for step 4

Recipe excerpted from The Complete Baby and Toddler Cookbook by America’s Test Kitchen. Copyright 2019 America’s Test Kitchen.

America's Test Kitchen
The Splendid Table frequently visits with the test cooks at America’s Test Kitchen to discuss a wide range of topics including recipes, ingredients, techniques and kitchen equipment.