Meat Sauce with Herbs

[Printable Recipe]

Adapted from Simply Recipes

This recipe takes a bit longer than my quick and dirty meat sauce recipe and I make it a day in advance, but it’s much more flavorful.



  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 lb. ground beef (we use 96% lean)
  • 1 Tbsp. minced garlic
  • 1 28-oz. can of tomato sauce
  • 2 Tbsp. tomato paste
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Handful of fresh basil, chopped, or 1 tsp. dried basil
  • Handful of fresh oregano, chopped, or 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • Salt and pepper


  • Heat the olive oil in a saute pan over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot, add the onion and a pinch of salt and saute for ~4 minutes.
  • Turn the heat up a bit and add the beef, breaking it up into smaller pieces. You want it to brown, not steam, so don’t go mushing it around in the pan the whole time. Let it hang out.
  • Once the beef is mostly (but not fully browned), break it up into really small pieces and add the garlic. Saute for 1 minute.
  • Add the remainder of the ingredients and turn the heat to low. Adjust the seasonings for your taste. Cover the pan and simmer for about 1 hour, but it can go for longer. If the sauce reduces too much, add water; if the sauce needs to be thickened, add a bit more tomato paste.

Before it reduces.

  • After the sauce has reduced, remove from the heat and let cool. Serve the following day over pasta with plenty of parmesan (I guess you could serve it the same day, but the flavors won’t be as complex).


I love meals like this that take about 10 minutes of actual hands-on cooking time, yet yield such flavorful results. This is also a great meal for when you don’t feel like going shopping — I keep all of these ingredients in my pantry and freezer.


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