Hearty Spaghetti Sauce

The weather is FINALLY starting to cool down around here, and people are rushing up to Apple Hill to partake in all of its fall themed glory (apple picking, pumpkin patches, wine tasting and other fall crap). Fall is here! For the greater Sacramento region, cooling down means it’s 80 degrees instead of 90 or higher, but I’ll take it! I’m tenaciously embracing fall, despite the fact that I can’t dress the part without sweating profusely, and I decided it was time for a warm and hearty meal for dinner.

IMG_5481I had quite a few errands this morning (playing catch-up from being sick last week) and Porter behaved, which meant that he earned a trip to The Fountains because that was the deal we made. So basically half my day was shot by the time I got home and I knew I needed something with simple ingredients that was easy to just throw together…

Enter my mom’s spaghetti sauce recipe. So good, so easy, sooooo much better than the jarred stuff from the grocery store. This was my favorite dinner growing up and Porter loves it, so it’s toddler and kid approved! Fair warning that you need 2.5 to 3 hours of simmer time, so plan accordingly. A bonus to this dinner would be a side salad and some homemade garlic bread, but I think that’s pushing it for me today haha. Recipe is below. I hope you enjoy!


Hearty Spaghetti Sauce

1 cup chopped onionIMG_5488

1 lb ground beef (I really can taste the difference when I buy grass fed – so much better)

4 cloves of garlic, minced

1lb 12oz can of diced tomatoes

1lb can of petite diced tomatoes

1 6oz can tomato paste

1 Tablespoon brown sugar

¼ cup fresh parsley (chopped)

¼ cup fresh oregano (chopped)

1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes

2 Tablespoons of fresh thyme

1 bay leaf

1 cup beef broth

1 cup red wine


In a Dutch oven or large pot, sauté onion until translucent, add garlic and sauté for a few minutes. Add the meat and cook until it’s browned. Add all subsequent ingredients and let simmer, uncovered, for 2.5 to 3 hours until it’s reached the desired thickness. Stir occasionally. Serve over spaghetti (my favorite is whole grain thin spaghetti) or if you’re going low carb, this is pretty good over spaghetti squash too. Add parmesan on top before serving 🙂


*you can use dried herbs instead of fresh, just make sure to decrease the amount you use because they’re more potent

*you don’t have to use wine if you don’t want to; I’ve played around with using water, beef broth and wine in all difference amounts

*note for anyone who loves to make freezer meals – I usually make a double batch and freeze half 🙂