This is the best healthy meat sauce recipe! It's easy to make in one pot with ground beef, jarred tomato sauce, vegetables, and olives. This meat sauce has the most incredible Italian flavour, is great for meal prep, freezes well, and is kid approved! It's also paleo and Whole30 compliant.
I am so excited to share today's recipe with you all. This is the meat sauce I grew up with. It is seriously the best meat sauce ever! But I really can't take any credit for the recipe as it was my Dad who came up with it but I figured it was just too good to keep to ourselves any longer. This meat sauce has my favourite secret ingredient, olives! Yes olives. Just trust me, it takes any meat sauce to the next level of tastiness. I can't wait for you to try it!
Why you will love this recipe:
- Move over Olive Garden! This healthy spaghetti sauce recipe has the most incredible flavour! The addition of our secret ingredient, olives - yes olives- takes this meat sauce over the top and makes it taste so much better than any other meat sauce or Bolognese recipe!
- It's so quick and easy to make and is perfect for meal prep.
- This homemade meat sauce freezes really well.
- You'll love that it's made in one pot on the stove top so the clean up is so quick and easy.
- It's so versatile! Switch up the ground beef for another ground meat such as ground turkey and feel free to add other veggies and spices. You could even add some cooked sausage for even more flavour and protein.
- It's a healthy complete meal that's loaded with vegetables.
- This spaghetti sauce is sugar free and heart healthy and it's also naturally gluten free, dairy free, paleo and Whole30 compliant!
Taste and texture:
This rich meat sauce is so thick and chunky from all the vegetables and the addition of olives. The added herbs give it the most delicious Italian flavour. This is a mild meat sauce and is not spicy.
Key ingredients and substitutions:
- Ground beef - I love using grass fed and grass finished ground beef but you can use any type of ground beef you like. You can also use another ground meat such as ground chicken or ground turkey too.
- Tomato sauce - I use jarred tomato sauce for this recipe - choose your favourite brand to give this sauce the most incredible flavour.
- Green and black olives - the secret ingredients for this sauce! I know it sounds crazy but just trust me, olives make meat sauce so much better! If you don't like olives you can leave them out of this recipe.
- Italian seasoning - To help give this sauce so much delicious Italian flavour.
How to make this recipe:
First, place a large pot on the stove on medium heat. Add the coconut oil and allow it to melt. Then add the ground beef and cook it for 5-10 minutes until browned, stirring frequently to break it apart.
Next, add the tomato sauce, tomato paste, olives, spices, and chopped bell peppers to the meat. Stir everything well until it's combined.
Now turn down the heat, cover the pot with the lid, and allow it to simmer for 50-60 minutes, until the vegetables are the consistency you prefer. Stir the sauce infrequently while simmering. Then serve and enjoy!
Tips and variations:
- Instead of ground beef you can use another ground meat such as ground turkey or ground chicken.
- Feel free to add other vegetables to this sauce - I will often add chopped onion, carrots, zucchini or green peas.
- Feel free to add cooked, chopped sausages, such as Italian sausage to this healthy pasta sauce to give it even more flavour and protein.
- I love a chunky meat sauce but if you prefer a smoother texture, finely chop the vegetables and olives or puree them in your food processor before adding them to the sauce.
- If you are on a Whole30 diet: make sure the tomato sauce and olives you choose are Whole30 compliant - this is my favourite Whole30 compliant tomato sauce.
- This healthy beef bolognese sauce freezes really well.
How to serve:
- This sauce is great to eat on it's own but it's also great served over your favourite pasta noodles or spaghetti noodles.
- Top this meat sauce with some fresh tomatoes, fresh basil or grated parmesan cheese (if you tolerate dairy of course).
- If you are avoiding grains: I love these Jovial grain free spaghetti noodles that are made with cassava flour!
- If you are on a Whole30 diet: serve this ground beef tomato sauce over cooked spaghetti squash, zucchini noodles or other cooked vegetables such as cooked broccoli or cauliflower
How to store:
Store this sauce in the fridge in an air tight container for up to 5 days.
Frequently asked questions:
Bolognese is known in Italy as ragù alla bolognese. It is a meat-based sauce and is classically used to dress tagliatelle al ragù and to prepare lasagne alla bolognese. It is usually made with onion, celery, carrot, beef and pork, white wine, milk, and a small amount of tomato paste or tomatoes. The dish is gently simmered to produce a thick sauce. Meat sauce on the other hand is typically a tomato-based sauce and is more common outside of Italy. Ground beef or other ground meats such as ground turkey are often added.
It is usually healthier to make your own pasta sauce compared to buying pre-made pasta sauce. Many store bought pasta sauces will contain added sugars, whereas when you make your own pasta sauce you can keep it sugar fee and add other healthy ingredients like fresh vegetables.
This healthy spaghetti sauce recipe is great for diabetics because it is sugar free and has no added sugar.
Yes! You can easily swap the ground beef for ground turkey to make this a ground turkey meat sauce instead.
Other recipes you will love:
- Healthy Sloppy Joes
- Healthy Teriyaki Chicken and Broccoli
- Creamy Sun Dried Tomato Pasta
- The Best Meatloaf
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Healthy Meat Sauce
- 2 tablespoon coconut oil (or other cooking oil of choice)
- 2 lbs ground beef
- 3 jars tomato sauce (total of ~2100 mL)
- 1 can tomato paste (156 mL)
- 1 can black olives (juice included)
- 1 can green olives (juice included)
- 2 tablespoon Italian seasoning (more or less to taste)
- 2 tablespoon dried basil (more or less to taste)
- 2 teaspoon sea salt (more or less to taste)
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper (more or less to taste)
- 4 sweet bell peppers, chopped
- Place a large pot on the stove on medium heat. Add the coconut oil and allow it to melt. Then add the ground beef and cook it for 5-10 minutes until browned, stirring frequently to break it apart.
- Add the tomato sauce, tomato paste, olives, spices and chopped bell peppers to the meat. Stir well until everything is combined.
- Turn down the heat, cover the pot with the lid and allow it to simmer for 50-60 minutes, until the vegetables are the consistency you like. Stir the sauce infrequently while simmering.
- Store this sauce in the fridge in an air tight container for up to 5 days.
- Instead of ground beef feel free to use another ground meat such as ground turkey or ground pork.
- You can add other vegetables to this recipe such as carrots, peas or zucchini.