Do tomato sauce and pesto sauce count as vegetables?

I’m a commited pastavore. I love to eat noodles with pesto and tomato sauce. Am I getting my daily dose of veggies from my toppings, or do I actually have to eat whole veggies for it to count?

Ah, wishful thinking. So familiar, so comforting. If only we could make you real.

Sure it counts, just like a glass of V-8 juice counts. But it would probably have to be swimming in the stuff to equal a full serving. And your daily dose is 4-5 servings, if I recall correctly.

The label should tell you what percent of the RDA of each nutrient a sauce gives you. If you’re making your own, though, it might be more difficult to figure it out.

However, you do want to eat whole fruits and vegetables because dietary fiber is a good thing, and that’s mainly found in the skins and parts of the fruit/vegetable not used in sauces. Adding a nice green salad to your meals will help here, in addition to giving you B vitamins commonly found in the better green leafy veggies (not iceberg, more like romaine).

No, you don’t need to eat whole veggies for it to count, but you do need to eat the equivalent of whole veggies.

USDA recommends 2 1/2 cups of veggies and 2 cups of fruit per day. Tomatoes would probably fall more under the “fruit” category than the veggie category. I’d guess basil can be considered a “dark leafy green”, but there’s no way in hell you’re eating the equivalent of 2 1/2 cups of basil every day from your pesto sauce, and if you are, you’re eating a very unhealthy amount of olive oil and parmesean cheese to go with it.

Obviously, the lesson to take home is to eat a variety of vegetables, specifically:

Please don’t do this.

General Questions Moderator

Nutritional information for raw tomatoes and tomato sauce. It looks like a half-cup of tomato sauce is very roughly equivalent to one tomato, so you’re probably getting the equivalent of a serving or two of tomatoes from your tomato sauce. This isn’t likely with pesto, though, as YamatoTwinkie noted above.

The original question’s already been answered pretty thoroughly, so I won’t bother repeating what’s been said.

What I will add, though, is that you should consider is adding some chunky veggie bits to make your pasta sauce more substantial if you’re concerned about your fruit and veggie intake.

It’s a double benefit, really… first, you’ll be adding a greater variety of veggies to your diet and second, the veggies help fill you up and you’ll probably eat less pasta, thus cutting down on your carb intake. Win-win. :slight_smile:

There are tons of veggies that are well-suited to a chunky pasta sauce and that are nutritious as well. Think peppers (fresh or roasted), carrots (grated, so they cook faster), spinach, mushrooms, eggplant, zucchini… or all of the above, if you really want a boost.

Ketchup is not exactly the same as tomato sauce, but the Reagan administration seemed to think it was a vegetable in the context of school lunches.

The Master Speaks: Did the Reagan-era USDA really classify ketchup as a vegetable?

And chocolate is made from a bean, so we can count it as a vegetable, right?


Nice. Cecil should’ve mentioned that the President caught a lot of grief over that especially because it happened at the same time as the Reagans were acquiring a big and very expensive set of White House china. Not a good juxtaposition, politically or PR-wise.

Dark chocolate actually contains a fair amount of various antioxidants. Just so long as you don’t get too much sugar with it, chocolate’s just fine.