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Extension > Family > Live healthy, live well > Healthy bodies > Eat smart > The recipe box > Easy Meat Sauce

The recipe box

meat sauce

Easy Meat Sauce

Make your own meat's so much tastier than the pre-packaged varieties! This recipe also makes a great base for chili and sloppy joes.

Number of servings: 9
Serving size: 1/9 of prepared recipe


2 pounds ground beef or ground turkey

3/4 cup onion, chopped

2 15-ounce jars spaghetti sauce

3/4 cup water

4 cloves garlic (or garlic powder)

1 teaspoon oregano

1/2 teaspoon basil

1-2 cups chopped vegetables


Time needed: 10 minutes preparation; 40 minutes cook time

  1. Brown meat thoroughly, making sure there is no pink color left in the meat or juices.
  2. Drain any excess fat from meat. Rinse with hot water.
  3. Combine drained meat with onion, spaghetti sauce, water and spices. Add vegetables. Cover and bring to a boil.
  4. Simmer 20-30 minutes or until desired consistency.
  5. Refrigerate or freeze leftover sauce in 1-cup portions.

Nutritional information

Calories 179
Total Fat: 6.1 g
Saturated Fat: 2.2 g
Cholesterol: 48 mg
Sodium: 381 g
Total Carbohydrate: 11.8 g
Dietary Fiber: 2 g
Total Sugar: 7.8 g
Protein: 19.8 g

Allergens: Check ingredients for potential allergens.

Tips and variations

Leave the salt and add more garlic or herbs for more flavor.

Add 2 cans of kidney beans and 2 teaspoons of chili powder to 2 cups of meat sauce to make easy chili.

For sloppy joes, add 1 tablespoon each of vinegar, brown sugar, and 3/4 cup ketchup to 2 cups of meat sauce.

Cook once and eat twice. This is a great way to use leftovers. Store leftovers in the refrigerator immediately.


This recipe was developed by University of Minnesota Extension Center for Family Development staff.

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