The Sweetest Thing.

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Veggie Loaded Meat Sauce. January 9, 2015

Confession- this is kind of a cheater recipe. It uses a jar of spaghetti sauce. While I love the idea of making my own spaghetti sauce from scratch and even canning it to have on hand, I am just not quite there yet. I do occasionally make sauce, but not often enough to support my partners spaghetti habit. This is our go to recipe.

Truthfully, I never really even liked spaghetti and meat sauce before I tried this.That is actually the only reason this recipe made it on the blog despite using a jar of sauce, maybe it will convince someone else who is on the fence about this classic meal. The basic idea came to the relationship with my partner, but we have really amped it up over the years. This recipe is bursting with flavor and texture and is just simply delicious. It tastes like something you spent a long time on but can be done and on the table in less than 45 minutes.


Veggie Loaded Meat Sauce

serves 4-6


1 lb very lean ground beef

1/2 red bell pepper (large dice)

1/2 orange bell pepper (yellow would also work) (large dice)

1/2 green bell pepper (large dice)

medium red onion (diced)

1 cup cremini mushrooms (quartered)

4 cloves garlic (minced)

1 jar of your favorite spaghetti sauce

1/4 cup water

1-2 Tbls good olive oil

Fresh Parmesan

Pasta of choice


1. Brown ground beef in large, deep skillet. There is not a lot of fat in the ground beef we use, so I don’t even have to drain it, but do so if your ground beef is not quite as lean.

2. Add diced veggies and garlic to browned meat and mix. Cook over medium heat about 7 or 8 minutes. We are not trying to cook the veggies until they are soft. I like them to stay a little firm.

3. Add jar of sauce and water and mix in. Reduce heat to low. Cover and let simmer about 15 minutes.

4. Remove from heat and stir in olive oil.

5. Serve over pasta of choice. You could also stir the pasta right into the pan of sauce. We don’t do that because I eat gluten free pasta and my partner does not. Top with grated Parmesan.

6. Enjoy!



8 Responses to “Veggie Loaded Meat Sauce.”

  1. Chelsey Says:

    That looks WONDERFUL! I love chunky veggie sauces, but I bet the meat gives it a nice flavor and texture, as well. Pinning and stumbling! 🙂

  2. herabosley Says:

    Perfect weeknight dinner, YUM!

  3. Alexis Says:

    This is one of the beat ways to sneak more veggies into pasta sauce, and it’s so much better than the slimy, teeny, tiny veggie pieces you see in bottled spaghetti sauce. I will definitely bookmark and keep this recipe on hand!

  4. Kathleen Says:

    I’d argue that using a jar of spaghetti sauce is only marginally more “cheating” than using cans of tomatoes with basil! This looks great.

  5. Jeanne Grunert Says:

    Cheater recipes are the best. My family actually prefers spaghetti sauce from a jar, anyway. I think that everyone has their own special additions that make the sauce unique. This looks wonderful and I look forward to trying it.

  6. Dedra Clutz Says:

    Sounds yummy. My husband makes a wonderful baked spaghetti with Italian sausage that I could eat at least once a week.

  7. I use jarred sauce a lot, unless I feel like seasoning it a certain way, and then I’ll use plain jarred tomato sauce. Either way, I ALWAYS add more garlic! Your recipe sounds lovely by the way. I need to develop a taste for mushrooms. Can’t handle the texture, but I love the flavor.

  8. Leslie Says:

    Oh my gosh this looks so yummy! I love meat sauce with veggies.

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