In-A-Hurry Meat Sauce (in under 20 minutes)!

Ready for the best bowl of pasta in 20 minutes or less? This easy meat sauce recipe uses a jar of your favorite marinara sauce to get dinner on the table quick. Think of this as an elevated meat sauce. We’re combining fresh ingredients with a jar of sauce to make a 6-ingredient staple sauce recipe, that tastes fancy and could not be easier to throw together! You can customize this spaghetti sauce with what you have in the fridge! It results in a delicious and hearty 20-minute dinner that everyone absolutely loves.

Easy Meat Sauce Recipe with a Jar of Sauce

Here’s the thing, I love our bolognese recipe and tomato sauce recipe so much, but as a new mom, I found myself wanting a borderline no-recipe recipe that was hearty, delicious, and easy. Enter: the easiest from a jar meat sauce.

It tastes restaurant-worthy with a big time-saving shortcut: a jar of really good marinara sauce!

The secret here?

We’re talking….how to make jar spaghetti sauce better, like way better! Honestly, this recipe is really just doctoring up a jar of sauce to make it taste fancy. For example, it definitely needs some fresh garlic, a touch of salt, red pepper flakes, and some dried (or fresh!) herbs like oregano, basil, rosemary, etc. Want to make it even easier on the spices/herbs front? Follow the directions here and use an Italian seasoning blend!

Best Jar Sauce to Buy for the Easiest Meat Sauce

The sauce brands I love and use regularly in this meat sauce recipe are: Rao’s, Cucina Antica, or Stonewall Kitchen’s Montebello line of sauces.

Tip: look out for added sugar and additives that don’t need to be in your spaghetti sauce!

I usually toss in some veggies I have in the fridge for this recipe, too. It definitely adds not only a nutrition boost but a flavor boost too! With that said, I also make it stripped down with no added veggies and it’s wonderful as-is. It’s one of those really easy delicious recipes that uses roughly 6 ingredients and comes together in 20 minutes.

Easy Meat Sauce Ingredients

Ready to see how simple this recipe is? Here’s what you need to make it:

Main Ingredients:
  • Extra virgin olive oil/butter
  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Ground beef or ground turkey
  • Spices
  • Jar of your favorite marinara sauce
  • Optional veggies if you choose!
 
For Serving:
  • A box of your favorite pasta
  • Fresh parmesan
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Ricotta cheese
  • Fresh basil

Do I need to add veggies?

Nope, but they are a great addition! While I do love cleaning out the fridge and sneaking in some mushrooms, you can totally keep it simple by just doctoring it up with extra onion and garlic, or if you’d like to add veggies, simply use what you have in the fridge!

Optional veggies I love in this dish:
Mushrooms
Bell Pepper
Zucchini

How to Make Jar Spaghetti Sauce Better

There are really just three steps to this pasta with meat sauce and it could not be more simple:

  1. Cooking the pasta
  2. Cooking the sauce
  3. Combining the two! Garnish as desired and enjoy.

Want to make it taste even fancier with one tiny tweak?

In step 4, add one tablespoon of red wine or balsamic vinegar, mix, and let it simmer as directed. I don’t usually add this step during the week, but do if I want to make it just a drop more special for a weekend date night in!

Looking for low carb or paleo options?

Simply service this sauce over spaghetti squash or zucchini noodles for the perfect spaghetti and sauce night!

Love this easy Italian dish? Here are some other quick dinners:

Print

In-A-Hurry Meat Sauce (in under 20 minutes)!

Ready for the best bowl of pasta in 20 minutes or less? This easy meat sauce recipe uses a jar of your favorite marinara sauce to get dinner on the table QUICK. Think of this as an elevated meat sauce! We’re combining fresh ingredients with a jar of sauce to make a 6-ingredient staple sauce recipe, that tastes fancy and could not be easier to throw together! 

  • Author: Lexi
  • Prep Time: 00:05
  • Cook Time: 00:15
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 00:20 1x
  • Category: Dinner
  • Cuisine: Italian
Scale

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil or butter
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 8-ounce package baby Bella mushrooms, finely diced (optional)
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 teaspoon hot pepper flakes, more as desired
  • 1 24-ounce jar of your favorite spaghetti sauce
  • Fine sea salt, as needed
  • Black pepper, as needed

Optional Vegetables:

  • 1 green or red bell pepper, finely diced
  • 1 zucchini, diced (about 1 cup)

For Garnish:

  • Fresh parmesan cheese
  • Hot pepper flakes
  • Ricotta cheese
  • Fresh basil

Instructions

  1. Heat oil or butter in a large 12″ skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add onion and garlic and sautè for 2-4 minutes, until onions begin to soften and garlic is fragrant.
  2. Add in mushrooms and any other optional diced vegetables you choose (zucchini, bell peppers) and let cook for 5-7 minutes, until veggies begin to soften, and water reduces from mushrooms.
  3. Add in ground beef and seasoning and cook until no pink remains, about 5 minutes.
  4. Add in jar of marinara or spaghetti sauce. Reduce heat to a simmer for 5 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning as desired.
  5. Serve hot with optional garnishes and over pasta, zucchini noodles, or spaghetti squash.

Notes

  • Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
  • Add optional veggies, or if using any veggies, in step 2 and sautè as directed until soft.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1/4 recipe
  • Calories: 355
  • Sugar: 13g
  • Sodium: 900mg
  • Fat: 17g
  • Saturated Fat: 4g
  • Carbohydrates: 22g
  • Fiber: 5g
  • Protein: 28g
  • Cholesterol: 70mg

Keywords: Easy Meat Sauce Recipe

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May 7, 2021

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