Tomato Sauce with Ground Beef

Total Time
2 hr 45 min
15 min
2 hr 30 min
This red sauce is extremely versatile. It’s fabulous over pasta but also great with polenta, baked potatoes or eggs.


cooking spray

1 spray(s)

olive oil

2 tsp

uncooked onion(s)

2 large, thinly sliced

garlic clove(s)

4 medium clove(s), minced, or to taste

canned tomatoes

70 oz, plum variety with basil, partially mashed into big chunks

canned tomato paste

6 oz


5 leaf/leaves, or to taste, plus extra for garnish

table salt

1 tsp, or to taste

red pepper flakes

½ tsp, or to taste


¼ tsp

uncooked lean ground beef

1 pound(s)


  1. Coat a large heavy pot with cooking spray and warm over medium heat; add oil. When oil is hot, add onions; cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, about 10 to 12 minutes. Add garlic; cook, stirring a few times, about 1 minute. Add tomatoes, tomato paste, basil, salt, red pepper flakes and sugar; stir and bring to a boil, scraping down sides and bottom of pot.
  2. Reduce heat to low, partially cover pot and cook for one hour, scraping bottom and sides of pot halfway through cooking.
  3. Meanwhile, in a large nonstick skillet, brown beef over medium-high heat, breaking up clumps with a spatula or wooden spoon as it cooks, about 7 to 10 minutes; set aside.
  4. After sauce cooks for 1 hour, stir beef into pot, lifting it out of skillet with a slotted spoon so any excess fat stays in skillet. Cook sauce for 1 hour more, scraping down sides and bottom of pot occasionally. Yields about 1/2 cup per serving.


Feel free to swap lean ground turkey or chicken, or chicken or turkey sausage (in casings) for the ground beef.

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