This easy veggie meat sauce is a quick pasta sauce made with tomato sauce, garlic, ground beef, and veggies, and it is so delicious. It makes the perfect weeknight meal.
Now, I am not going to lie when I tell you I am usually a purist when it comes to my recipes, especially my tomato sauces. If I am making a bolognese, it is going to be traditional.
If I am making an Italian meat sauce, well, it is just the meat, aromatics, and tomatoes. Then someone made this for me and I was in heaven. Even my husband now prefers it to a regular Italian meat sauce.
Swap out the veggies depending on what is in season to make this any time of year. If you have picky eaters, I promise, they will love this.
If you want to get some more veggies into your pasta sauce, this is a great way to do it. I always look for ways to add more veggies to my meals and if you have tried my ricotta meatballs with spinach, then you already know 🙂
Ingredients you will need
For this veggie pasta sauce with meat, there are just a handful of things that you will need. Here is what they are:
- Tomato sauce. I prefer to use a jarred sauce when making this recipe but if I have time, I will also make my own simple San Marzano sauce.
- Veggies. For summer, I use a blend of red peppers, zucchini, and eggplant. For Winter, I use a blend of carrots, red pepper, and green pepper. I prefer to use at least different vegetables when making this veggie meat sauce.
- Pasta. You can use any type of pasta for this sauce. Spaghetti, penne or rigatoni are all great options.
- Ground beef. This is a veggie sauce with meat and ground beef is our preference. You can also make this healthier and opt for ground turkey if you prefer. If you are looking for ways to use up Italian sausage you may have, it makes a great addition to this sauce in place of the ground meat.
Oh, and in case your jarred pasta sauce needs a little more flavor, this meat sauce with veggies is also a great way to jazz it up.
How to make
This veggie meat sauce is so easy to make. Here is what it looks like (full recipe below):
- Brown the meat: Just cook the meat until it is nice and brown and cooked all the way through.
- Cook the vegetables: Once you have diced up the veggies into bite-sized pieces (the zucchini, eggplant, garlic, and red pepper), cook them up in the same pan as the meat.
You only need one pan for this pasta sauce. Once the meat is browned, I just move it over to the side of my pan and cook the veggies. Cleanup is so much easier this way and some of that meat gets caramelized sitting on the side which adds flavor to the pasta sauce.
- Mix it all together. Once the veggies start to soften, you can mix it together with the ground beef.
- Add the tomato sauce: This is the time to add your pasta sauce. If you need a recipe for pasta sauce, just scroll to the ingredients list above. If not, any store-bought pasta sauce works great. We love Rao's but use your favorite brand.
- Add it to the pasta. The last step to putting together this delicious and simple veggie pasta sauce with meat is to toss it with the pasta!
Vegetables: The veggies I used for this veggie sauce were from my garden and what I was growing at the time. This veggie sauce can use vegetables from any season. Just make sure to have an assortment of at least three vegetables to give it a real veggie sauce flavor.
Meat: You can use ground pork, Italian sausage, or ground turkey in place of the beef.
Vegetable and Meat Sauce Faqs
There are so many vegetables that pair well with pasta depending on the sauce. If you are using a tomato-based sauce like in this recipe, peppers, squash, eggplant, and carrots are great options. If you are working with a white sauce or olive oil sauce, almost any veggies work!
The best vegetables to add to a bolognese are Italian veggies like eggplant, zucchini, peppers, and garlic.
What to serve with this veggie and meat sauce
If you are looking for what to serve with this veggie meat sauce, here are some of our favorites:
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If you love this veggie pasta sauce, you may also like these:
Veggie Meat Sauce
- 1 lb pasta either penne, rigatoni or spaghetti
- 1 lb ground beef I prefer an 85/15 blend ground beef
- 24 ounces Pasta sauce homemade marinara or your favorite brand jarred sauce
- 1 small eggplant diced
- 1 medium zucchini diced
- 1 Red bell pepper diced
- 3 cloves of garlic minced
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt plus more to taste
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil then start on the sauce.
- In a large saute pan over medium heat add olive oil.1 tablespoon olive oil
- Add meat and cook until browned.1 lb ground beef
- Once meat is browned, push it to the side of the pan and add the vegetables and cook until soft.1 small eggplant, 1 medium zucchini, 1 Red bell pepper, 3 cloves of garlic
- Once the vegetables have softened, mix it into the meat then add the sauce.24 ounces Pasta sauce
- Mix well.
- Add salt and mix again then reduce heat to low to simmer for 5 minutes.1 tablespoon kosher salt
- Once pasta water is boiling, add a good pinch of salt and add pasta.1 lb pasta
- Cook until al dente according to the manufacturers instructions.
- Drain pasta.
- Add pasta to the veggie sauce and toss well.
- Serve immediately.
Nutrition Values are estimates only.See full nutrition disclaimer here
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