Easy Meat Sauce

Spaghetti SauceWhen I think meat sauce, I imagine something simmering on the stove all day. However, when I think about my typical day, I think, “What can I get on the table in a hurry.” This meat sauce comes together in about an hour and because it marries two flavorful meats, it tastes like it’s been going all day. I simmered my sauce for about 40 minutes because that was the time until dinner, but you could even get away with simmering for 25 minutes or so, just long enough to bring everything together and intensify the flavors. Make a big batch like I did and you’ll be rewarded with leftovers that taste even better!

You can use this sauce to top zucchini noodles or spaghetti squash. You could even eat it straight up like my husband kept doing. Several times he tried to sacrifice himself by skipping the spaghetti squash and just going in with a spoon. Nothing wrong with that!

Easy Meat Sauce

1 Tbsp. lard or F.O.C.

1 lb. ground pork

1 lb. ground beef

1/2 a large onion, about 1 c. chopped

4 garlic cloves, minced

28 oz. crushed tomatoes

15 oz. tomato sauce

1/2 c. water

1/2 tsp. garlic powder

1 1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. fresh ground pepper or more to taste (I like a lot of pepper in this)

1/4 c. fresh basil, slivered


1) Melt lard in a large pot over medium-high heat. Sauté onion and garlic until translucent, about 5-7 minutes.

2) Add both meats and cook until brown, about 10 minutes.

3) Add crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, water, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Stir to combine and cover partially with a lid. Simmer over medium-low heat for about 40 minutes.

4) Add slivered basil, taste to adjust seasonings, and serve any way you like.

Makes 6-8 servings


Spicy Pepper Meat Sauce

I always find it handy to have a meat sauce in the freezer to throw on top of zucchini noodles or spaghetti squash at any time. Sometimes I’ll just eat it like chili or put it on sautéed kale or a sweet potato. Whatever you choose to do with it, you can’t go wrong making a big batch and saving some for later.

A few years ago I stumbled across a light pasta recipe in Eating Well Magazine that wowed me with its use of pepperoncini. For my paleo-eating ways, though, I like to have a meaty sauce that fills me up because it’s almost always the main event. While I’m smitten with my zoodles or spaghetti squash as a base, they’re pretty light so I’m looking to the sauce for the oomph.

I assure you, this recipe does not disappoint! The sauce gets its heat and a vinegar-tang from a whole jar of hot banana peppers. You could easily swap in pepperoncini here as well. Don’t worry about the heat too much because the meat will absorb a lot of it.


Hot Pepper Meat Sauce

4 slices of bacon

1 onion, chopped

4 garlic cloves, sliced

2 lbs. ground beef

16 oz. jar of hot banana peppers, sliced, stems and seeds removed

28 oz. can of crushed tomatoes

15 oz. jar of tomato sauce

1/2 c. water


1. Chop the bacon and brown over medium heat until crispy. Set aside, reserving 2 T. of the bacon grease in the bottom of the pot.

2. Add chopped onion and garlic, sauté until translucent, about 3 minutes.

3. Add  ground beef and cook, breaking it into chunks, until browned, about 8 minutes.

4. Add all of the sliced hot peppers, crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, 1/2 c. water, and the reserved bacon.

5. Bring to a boil and simmer for about 45 minutes. Even longer is great!

Serves 6-8