This easy pasta sauce is on our regular meal rotation and my whole family loves it. I add lots of vegetables to boost the nutrition and stretch the meat. If you have a pound of ground beef, you can whip this up in no time. Also, once you make it a few times you won’t need to buy a jar of sauce again!
Uses Pantry Staples
Two of the canned ingredients I keep in our food storage are diced tomatoes and tomato paste. There are so many simple recipes you can make using them. I recommend you buying a case at a time to have on hand.
Another staple in my pantry is Italian Seasoning. Soon I’ll share that recipe but it’s easy to substitute some oregano and basil in it’s place. Those are great herbs to buy in bulk and keep in your spice cabinet.
After the recipe are the tips and tricks, including how to make this vegetarian.
Easy Pasta Sauce
- 1 pound of ground beef
- A onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- Vegetables: a bell pepper, diced (I like a red pepper), a carrot, finely diced, a zucchini, diced
- 1 tablespoon Italian Seasoning or 1 teaspoon each: dried oregano and basil
- 6 ounce can tomato paste
- 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Pinch of sugar
Brown the ground beef with the onion, garlic, any vegetables you like, and the Italian Seasonings. Drain meat if needed. Before you tip the drained meat back in the pan, add the tomato paste to the hot pan. Let it cook for a minute by itself. If you aren’t draining it, make a well in the middle of the meat and add the tomato paste. Stir and cook for a minute before stirring into the meat. This technique adds richness and sweetens the paste a bit. Stir in the meat mixture and diced tomatoes. Then fill your tomato can with water and add that to thin the sauce a little.
Last of all taste for salt and pepper and adjust if needed. My husband’s grandma always threw in a pinch of sugar to cut the acid in the tomatoes so see if you think it needs that.
After it’s tasting delicious let it simmer for 20 minutes if you can or serve right away over hot pasta. I like to make it early in the afternoon when I can and let it sit for a while. That also helps with the dinner rush.
Tips and Tricks
- To make this vegetarian, leave out the meat and double the amount of vegetables you add.
- Brown the meat and/or vegetables until the water has evaporated and they are starting to fry. This adds a lot of richness to your sauce.
- Add garlic powder instead of fresh garlic if you’re in a pinch.
- Double recipe to make enough for a crowd or some to freeze for a later meal
- This is the sauce I use for lasagna or baked pasta. It’s really versatile.