Tomato Meat Sauce Recipe

This is an easy sauce to make, and yields a big batch of flavorful sauce, which you can serve over pasta, big bed of lightly dressed greens, polenta, grits, or even cauliflower rice (for those of you low-carb lovers). I often make this recipe without the meat, and it’s equally delicious. If serving over greens, lightly dress them in a olive oil and vinegar, or a spritz of lemon juice. 

Tomato Meat Sauce
An easy tomato sauce recipe that makes for delicious leftovers.
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
40 min
Total Time
45 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
40 min
Total Time
45 min
  1. 1 pound extra-lean grass-fed ground beef
  2. 3 tablespoons olive oil
  3. 1 large white or yellow onion, diced
  4. 3 large cloves of garlic, minced
  5. 1 pound mushrooms, cleaned, chopped
  6. Two 28 ounce cans of no-salt-added whole peeled tomatoes
  7. 4 to 6 anchovy fillets, with some of their oil (if vegan, use 3 T capers, chopped)
  8. 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  9. 2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
  10. 1 tablespoon fresh oregano, chopped
  11. 3 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
  12. Splash of red wine vinegar
  13. Salt and freshly ground pepper
  1. Put 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a deep skillet or big pot, and turn the heat to medium. A minute later, add the beef, and brown, stirring with a spoon to break up the meat. Season with a small pinch of salt. Cook until browed. Push the beef to the side, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and the garlic and the anchovies, and stir. When the garlic sizzles and the anchovies break up, add the chopped onion. Sauté onion until it begins to soften. Add the mushrooms, and cook until the mushrooms are releasing their juices. Cook until all the liquid evaporates.
  2. Add tomatoes, breaking them up with fingers as they go into the pan, along with the dried oregano. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and simmer over medium low heat for 10 minutes, then add a splash of vinegar, to brighten the sauce, and the fresh herbs. Cook for at least another 20 minutes. In fact, you can cook this sauce up to an hour, covered, over a low heat.
  3. Serve immediately or reserve for later. Cool, and refrigerate or freeze. Reheat slowly and serve over pasta, greens, cauliflower rice...
  1. Despite their reputation, anchovies are not overpowering, at least once cooked. They are the secret ingredient that gives dishes you love umami, that savory flavor we can't get enough of. And, used with garlic and sautéed onions, they dissolve into the sauce, leaving only depth and meat complexity. Tossed with linguine and/or arugula, they make this simple sauce sophisticated. However, if you're vegetarian, use a few tablespoons of capers. They give the dish a wonderful brininess. Often, I'll add both anchovies and capers.
  2. If you want a thicker sauce, add a 6 ounce can of tomato paste when you add the whole peeled tomatoes.
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