This meat sauce recipe is my go-to for a quick and filling meal. It’s packed with veggies and spices, making it naturally paleo and Whole30 friendly! You can serve it with noodles, gnocchi, spaghetti squash or over even over hearty greens like kale. It makes a perfect weeknight meal!
This dish has become one of my go-to’s for a weeknight meal. A tomato sauce is a very forgiving, easily adaptable to what you have on hand and in your pantry. I always start with a similar base – onion (red or yellow), garlic and any other veggies in the fridge – bell peppers, diced carrots, spinach, mushrooms, etc. You can use whatever you’d like to have in your sauce! I find that the red onion and carrot combination makes the sauce naturally sweet, which is a great complement to the acidity of the tomatoes and heat of a pinch of red pepper flakes.
After those veggies have cooked a bit together, the next step is to brown the ground beef. Once it’s thoroughly cooked, I love to add in a splash of wine – it really brings the meal to the next level and gives it that little touch of decadence!
Next step, sauce! The shortcut in this recipe is using a can of good, pre-made sauce (I used a Thrive Market one here). I try to have one on hand for this sauce or shaksuka at all times! You could also used canned or diced tomatoes and incorporate a little bit of extra olive oil and seasoning in place of a pre-made sauce.
Though the pasta has lots of vegetables in it, I like to serve it with steamed broccoli (or frozen then defrosted) on the side. It’s a good contrast that helps make it even more filling – and stretches the sauce a bit longer! The sauce with a little pasta (regular, paleo, chickpea, spaghetti squash, whatever!) is hearty enough to stand on its own, too. A little basil or parsley on top is perfect to finish! Here I had it with chickpea pasta for lunch one day, and spaghetti squash another – delicious!
Let me know if you try it out 🙂
Easy Spaghetti Meat Sauce (Paleo and Whole30 Friendly)
- 2 Tablespoons avocado oil
- 1 purple onion diced (yellow onion is fine too)
- 1 bell pepper diced (optional – I use it if I have one around)
- 1 large carrot grated
- 3-4 cloves garlic minced
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1/3 cup red wine optional, leave out for paleo/Whole30
- 16 ounces tomato or pasta sauce choose your favorite!
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- pinch of red pepper flakes
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese optional, leave out for paleo/Whole30
- Fresh ground pepper to taste
- Salt to taste
- Heat a large pot or pan over medium heat. Add the avocado oil, then then the diced onion. Saute until onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. Add in the diced pepper and sautee for a few minutes until soft. Finally, add the garlic and saute one more minute until fragrant.
- Add in the ground meat into the center and begin to brown (I like to make a ‘well’ in the center of the pan, pushing the onion mixtures slightly out towards the edges of the pan). Toss the meat to brown on both sides, breaking up any large clumps and incorporating with the onion and garlic. Add in the dried spices and stir again.
- Add in the wine, if using and cook until most of the liquid is evaporated, stirring occasionally.
- Add in the grated carrot and sauce and mix to combine, stirring occasionally.
- Turn down the heat to low and let simmer for 20 minutes, covered. Take the lid off and simmer on low 5 more minutes. Taste for seasoning; add salt and pepper as needed – your sauce may have enough.
- Turn off the heat and stir in the Parmesan cheese.
- Serve on top of spaghetti squash, pasta, hearty greens or alone with crusty bread!