The other day we were planning our meals and figured we would add spaghetti to the meal plan. Seemed simple enough, but when we got to the store, many of the jarred sauces contained a ton of extra ingredients. And half of them I could not even pronounce. Then you add the extra sugar, and it becomes extremely unhealthy.
Now we don’t go on crazy food diets, but making foods from whole fresh ingredients is always going to be healthier for you than tons of extremely processed foods. So, we decided to make our sauce from scratch. And since we don’t always have all the time in the world with four kids running around, we needed something that was still easy.
Plus, even if you have picky eaters, this recipe is a nice way to hide a few extra vegetables. We have a few that randomly complain about certain foods, so this works to slip them in with no problems.
Making the sauce
In our recipe, we make this a complete meal with bread and noodles, so it also has ground beef. However, you can make this without the ground beef for a basic sauce that can be used on other dishes, such as chicken parmesan.
It’s always best to prepare all your ingredients first. Chop up the vegetables, grate carrots, etc. While you prepare the vegetables, brown, and then drain the ground beef in a large stock pot. We used a Lodge Dutch Oven (https://amzn.to/3MXD4QG). Once drained, return to the stock pot, and add the onion, garlic, celery, mushrooms & carrots.
Sauté until the vegetables are tender and lightly browned. Do not over-cook them here. It’s better to be slightly underdone than fully done, as they will continue to cook once you add the tomatoes. If you are using lean ground beef, you might need a little oil added to the pot to help brown the vegetables.
Add the olives, canned tomatoes, and tomato sauce, plus all the seasonings. Bring to a simmer and let simmer for at least 15 minutes. The longer you let it simmer, the richer the flavor will become, and things will meld together nicely. Taste for seasoning and adjust as needed.
If you are opting to make a sauce for a different meal and did not add ground beef, you can optionally take a stick (immersion) blender (https://amzn.to/3q0pXoL) and grind everything to a smooth consistency. I prefer my sauce to be a little chunky, so I do not blend it down. Blending would also not work if you added the meat unless you reserve until after you sauté and bland the vegetables.
Serve over fresh hot noodles. Top with fresh parmesan cheese.
Homemade Spaghetti Sauce
An easy-to-make healthy homemade sauce with lots of added vegetables to make it hearty.
1lb Ground Beef
1/2 Onion, diced
2-4 cloves Garlic, minced
2 stalks of Celery, diced
3 oz Mushrooms, diced
1-3 Carrots, shredded
2-15oz cans of Tomatoes, diced
1-15 oz can of Tomato Sauce
1 1/2 tsp Italian Seasoning
1/2-1 tsp Salt
1/4-1/2 tsp Black Pepper
1/4 cup Black Olives, sliced (about 1/3 can)
- Prep all vegetables in advance. Brown ground beef in a large stock pot. Drain excess grease.
- Return ground beef to pot and add onion, garlic, celery, mushrooms & carrots. Saute until soft.
- Add remaining ingredients and simmer over low heat for at least 15 minutes.
- Serve over freshly cooked pasta, with parmesan cheese if desired.
- Optionally, you can make it without the ground beef and use it for other tomato sauce dishes.
- You can return the meat to the pot later, after simmering and blending for a smoother sauce.