My grandmother made the world’s best spaghetti sauce. We were lucky enough to almost always have some waiting in the freezer packed to the brim with homemade meatballs, sausage, or whatever meat she was trying to use up that week.
Every time I make my own spaghetti sauce, I wished I had learned her recipe because I have never had a sauce that tasted quite as good.
Lately, I have been thinking about her and dreaming about her famous spaghetti sauce. Although today’s recipe isn’t one she would have made (she wouldn’t have included spinach in spaghetti sauce) it was definitely inspired by her.
In terms of this sauce, it is quickly becoming one of our favorites to have in the freezer for a quick dinner.
Packed with fire-roasted tomatoes, sausage, garlic, onion, carrots for sweetness, and herbs – this sauce has tons of flavor. If you can’t find crushed fire-roasted tomatoes, you could use diced tomatoes or San Marzano tomatoes. Just crush them up using your hand when you add them to the sauce.
One more note, because I love my pasta or spaghetti squash with lots of sauce, the serving is pretty large. You could easily just use half a cup.
Key Ingredients and Swaps
- Sausage: This sauce gets a lot of its flavor from the sausage, so make sure to choose something with lots of flavor. Ground Italian turkey sausage is the protein I use most often, but any sausage will work including sweet Italian sausage, spicy Italian sausage, or another flavor. The ground sausage adds more flavor than links in my opinion. For a lighter sauce, swap in some lean ground turkey, just use extra seasoning.
- Carrots: Carrots add a touch of sweetness to the sauce and some extra nutrients. They are optional but traditionally used in bolognese.
- Onion and garlic: Thes two aromatics are essential to a flavorful sauce. Use as much garlic as you like. Also, use fresh if you can for the best flavor.
- Balsamic vinegar: Adding vinegar to the sauce adds richness and depth of flavor. You could swap in a few glugs of red wine. Just make sure to cook it down.
- Fire-roasted crushed tomatoes: Almost any canned tomato works for the sauce. Fire-roasted or San Marzano tomatoes will give the most flavor.
- Parsley: Adding fresh herbs boosts the flavor of the sauce. Parsley or basil would work and you could swap use dried herbs if that’s all you have.
- Spices: This sauce uses basil, oregano, and bay leaves. Italian seasoning would also work well if you wanted to use it instead.
- Spinach: To add greens. nutrients, and flavor to this sauce, I like to add lots of fresh spinach. Frozen, defrosted spinach also works. Just make sure to squeeze out all the excess moisture so the sauce doesn’t get watery.
Read more FAQ: How To Get The Burnt Taste Out Of Spaghetti Sauce?
Ways to Use Spinach Sausage Spaghetti Sauce
Although pasta is the obvious way to use this sauce, there are so many other ways to use this delicious sauce.
- Pasta: This sauce works with all types of pasta including alternative pastas made with chickpeas, lentils, or rice. It can also be used in baked pasta dishes.
- Vegetable pasta: Serve this with spaghetti squash or zucchini noodles for a lower carb, veggie packed meal.
- Pizza: Use this as pizza sauce to make homemade pizza.
- Eggs: Make an Italian version of shakshuka with this tomato sauce as the base.
- Grain bowls: Start with a bowl with quinoa or farro. Add lots of roasted vegetables, fresh mozzarella cheese, and a dollop of this tasty spaghetti sauce.