This Healthy Meat Sauce is the ultimate in comfort food. Easy to make in one pot with ground beef, jarred tomato sauce, vegetables, and olives, this sauce has the most incredible Italian flavour. It’s 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!
Healthy Meat Sauce Recipe
Why you will love this Healthy Meat Sauce:
- Move over Olive Garden! This meat sauce has the most incredible flavour! The addition of our secret ingredient, olives – yes olives- takes this spaghetti sauce over the top and makes it tastes 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. It also freezes really well. You’ll love that it’s made in just 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 veggies. This spaghetti sauce is sugar free and heart healthy and it’s also naturally gluten free, dairy free, paleo and Whole30 compliant!
Key ingredients and equipment needed to make this healthy meat sauce:
- A large pot – you’ll love that this recipe is a one pot meal which makes the clean up so simple. I personally use and love stainless steel cookware which is one of my favourite safe cookware options.
- Ground beef – I love using grass fed and grass finished ground beef but you could easily 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!
- Italian seasoning – To help give this sauce so much flavour – this is the Italian seasoning I use and love
Tips and variations for making this healthy Bolognese:
- 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 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 sauce freezes really well – I love using these Souper Cubes to freeze perfect portion sizes
- Store this sauce in the fridge in an air tight container for up to 5 days
Serving ideas for this homemade meat sauce:
- This sauce is great to eat on it’s own but it’s also great served over your favourite pasta
- Top this meat sauce with some fresh tomatoes, fresh basil or 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 it over cooked spaghetti squash, zucchini noodles or other cooked vegetables such as cooked broccoli or cauliflower
Frequently asked questions:
What is the difference between Bolognese and meat sauce?
Bolognese is known in Italy as ragù alla bolognese. It is a meat-based sauce and is customarily used to dress tagliatelle al ragù and to prepare lasagne alla bolognese. Ingredients typically include 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. Tomato based meat sauces are often used to top spaghetti noodles.
Is it healthier to make your own pasta sauce?
That really depends on the ingredients in the pasta sauce you are using. I love using pre-made jarred tomato sauce when I make my meat sauce or pasta sauce to make my life easier, but I do be sure to choose brands that are sugar free and crop oil free and made with real, unprocessed ingredients.
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
You will love this healthy meat sauce! It has the best flavour and is really easy to make. Perfect for meal prep this is a meal your whole family will love.
- 2 tbsp coconut oil
- 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 tbsp Italian seasoning (more or less to taste)
- 2 tbsp dried basil (more or less to taste)
- 2 tsp sea salt (more or less to taste)
- 1/2 tsp 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.
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