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Ground Meat

Meat Sauce: How to Make Crave Worthy Healthy Pasta

Meat sauce is definitely much faster than doing meat balls, besides, who has that kind of time during the week? My spaghetti sauce recipe is epic, but it takes time and that is definitely a luxury, especially for busy families!

I love him but….

my husband does not like spaghetti. I don’t know what went wrong in his life, but it’s true. Sadly. Thankfully, he does love this recipe! While it isn’t spaghetti, it’s close enough to curb my craving so that works. A happy compromise, ladies and gentlemen, is key!

Healthy, Fast & Delicious Bolognese Pasta Recipe

Meat Sauce Recipe

This recipe makes 4 servings. It’s easy to convert it for larger families.

If you cook and prepare it in the order it is listed, you’ll have dinner on the table (at least the pasta part anyway) in less than 20 minutes. I recommend doing a bagged salad and popping in some garlic toast as you cook so that you’ll be totally done when the meat sauce and pasta are finished!

  • 1 lb Ground Beef (or ground turkey)
  • 1 pound whole grain pipe pasta (whichever you prefer)
  • 14 oz can whole peeled tomatoes
  • 2 cloves garlic (trust me, it’s way better with fresh, but if you have no choice you can use minced)
  • 2 TBSP tomato paste
  • 1 medium carrot
  • 2 stalks celery
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 1/4 to 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (adjust to taste but don’t skip!)
  • 1 cup pasta water (set aside from when you drain the pasta!)
  1. Meat Sauce: How to Make Crave Worthy Healthy Pasta @Crafty_ZooHeat a large pot of water to boiling, add in a pinch of salt and a tsp or so of olive oil. When it is time, add the pasta to the boiling water. When it is done, you will be saving about one cup of the liquid so don’t drain it all!
  2. Peel and dice the onion. Peel carrot and halve lengthwise, then thinly slice into small pieces. Halve the celery, then chop. Peel and roughly chop garlic.
  3. Gently break apart the tomatoes in a small bowl (honestly, I just use a knife in the can)
  4. On medium high heat, cook ground beef (or turkey) for about 3 minutes. Then add in onion, carrots, celery and garlic and cook until the ground meat is cooked through. Sprinkle a little pepper as it cooks and, if you prefer, a little salt as well). Drain the grease if you need to.
  5. Add tomato paste and your preferred amount of red pepper flakes to the skillet with some pepper (and salt if sodium isn’t an issue for you!). Cook for two to three minutes, stirring frequently until it’s all thoroughly mixed together.
  6. Add in the tomatoes and and 1/4 cup of pasta water and stir occasionally until the sauce begins to thicken. (see notes below). Turn off the heat.
  7. Stir in the sauce, 1/4 cup of pasta water and the cooked pasta. Cook on medium-high heat, stirring constantly for 2 minutes or until the sauce has completely coated the pasta. If the sauce is too thick after you’ve done this, you can add in a little more pasta water until it gets to your preferred consistency.


  • If you’d like your ground turkey to have that beef flavor, mix in some Better Than Bouillon, it is fantastic! For my Vegetarian or vegan friends, they even have a Vegetarian version of Better Than Bouillon ‘No Beef’ Base!
  • If you use the longer tube pasta, you will want the sauce to be a little thinner. If you have to thin out the sauce a bit later, just add in the water at the end a little at a time until it’s thinned out some.

On the Side and For Dessert:

We had a delicious salad and garlic bread with our pasta, which seems traditional I suppose. This is a pretty ‘heavy’ (yet healthy) meal, but if you want dessert I recommend Fried Apples. They are much healthier than many alternatives and absolutely delicious year round!


Hi all! My name is Kaycee. I am now learning to navigate life as a single woman. Turns out, it's not all about husband and children. Who knew? So, I'm on a journey of self discovery. I have 5 children, 3 of which are married, 5 2 are in Heaven (my beautiful baby Acadia Reign and my Diva Princess Tara Elizabeth), and 7 grandchildren! Plus, a ton of fabulous nieces and nephews! My educational background is in Psychology and Child Development but my heart is in ministry, crafts, fun, reviews and my website, My Crafty Zoo. Or at least it was, now I'm learning who I really am, beneath all of the busy family life. It's an adventure to be sure. I look forward to continuing to share my life through word and pictures with you and love hearing your feedback! Thank you for taking the time to read and allowing me to share! I look forward to reading your comments!

5 thoughts on “Meat Sauce: How to Make Crave Worthy Healthy Pasta

  • This looks soooo good. I love pasta of almost every kind and this recipe looks delicious. Adding the fried apples for desert is also a win-win. This is a perfect meal in my opinion. Thank you for sharing and cohosting with #ohmgww.

    • Me too! Pasta is definitely my friend! Hope you enjoy the fried apples as well, they are the perfect dessert!

  • Sue E

    I saw your picture of the Bolognese Pasta 🍝 I immediately wanted you to ask me over for dinner! It’s also healthy! I have to say I haven’t met anyone that doesn’t like spaghetti! My kids used to eat the spaghetti with butter and salt! My father’s side is Italian. His parents came from Italy and landed in Ellis Island. Darn that’s the start of us being here. Anyway, My grandma Lena taught me how to make the sauce. It took up much of the day simmering on the stove. I pinned your recipe, because it was a lot like my grams. My grams went crazy with the garlic 🧄 I see you added garlic and garlic bread 🥖
    We usually had bread and a salad or bowl on the side of fresh veggies, olives 🫒 Plus the most important thing besides the grated fresh cheese (yum) was the wine 🍷
    I swear they had wine with every thing! My grams lived to be 99. My dad’s fraternal brother is still alive. He’ll be 89 on March 27th. Yet my dad died 33 years ago! I think it was the fresh virgin olive oil, the garlic and wine 🍷 I’m sorry that I wrote more than I should have! Your recipes and pictures brought back some happy times with my grams. I would put ground beef instead of the Turkey 🦃 though. You could start a fresh food company! I know people would be interested and more than likely start buying your meals!! Thank you for sharing!

    • I would love to be able to sit with you at our table! As for husband not liking spaghetti, it is odd and I’ve been saying that for years! My spaghetti sauce recipe takes up about half the day, but I bet your Grams’ recipe was better! And yes, we are garlic fanatics!
      I love that about your family history! Thank you for sharing! Maybe the key was the freshness in the olive oil and (probably) better quality wine? Who knows, but that’s awesome anyway! I think a lot had to do with older generations working so much harder as well, therefore staying fit!
      I do enjoy ground beef more as well, but use turkey because it’s healthier for my husband. (Cholesterol and what not)
      Thank you for your kind words and feel free to leave super long comments anytime! I always love ‘chatting’ with you!!!!

  • This looks delicious. Thank you for sharing and co-hosting with #omhgww. I have socialized your post. Have a wonderful week.


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