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A big square bowl is full of spaghetti noodles and topped with a meaty, chunky spaghetti sauce. There are some basil leaves as garnish and a cloth napkin on the table ready to sop up some tomato sauce.
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4.84 from 6 votes

Homemade Spaghetti Sauce With Veggies and Meat (Dinner Size Recipe or Freezer Batch Recipe)

This unique spaghetti sauce has a bold, deep flavor from tons of basil, peppers, mushrooms, a few surprise ingredients, and plenty of beef!  Make one batch to have for dinner tonight or make a big freezer batch and save it for busy nights!
Dinner Size Recipe make 6 servings of sauce.
Freezer size recipe makes five quarts of sauce to freeze.
Prep Time45 mins
Total Time45 mins
Course: dinner
Cuisine: American
Keyword: spaghetti sauce, freezer meal, big batch cooking
Servings: 12
Calories: 474kcal
Author: Mirlandra Neuneker


Ingredients for a Family Size Batch (Serves 6 people)

  • 1 can diced tomatoes 28oz each or equivalent from garden
  • 1 can crushed tomatoes 28oz each or equivalent from garden
  • 4 Tablespoons basil pesto I use Kirkland
  • 1 Tablespoon garlic minced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme minced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh oregano minced
  • 2 teaspoons Better than Bouillon Beef Base or favorite bouillon
  • 2 teaspoons coarsely ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground beef 12%-16% fat
  • 1/2 red bell pepper diced
  • 1/2 green bell pepper diced
  • 3 jalapeno peppers diced (see note)
  • 1 large sweet onion diced
  • 8 brown mushrooms sliced
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 1 Tablespoon white sugar or to taste
  • olive oil and salt as needed for sauteing

Ingredients for a Big Freezer Batch (Makes 5 quarts)

  • 2 cans of diced tomatoes 28oz each (or equivalent from garden)
  • 2 cans of crushed tomatoes 28oz each (or equivalent from garden)
  • 8 Tbsp. basil pesto I use Kirkland
  • 2 Tbsp. minced fresh garlic
  • 2 tsp. fresh thyme
  • 2 tsp. fresh oregano
  • 4 tsp. Better than Bouillon Beef Base or preferred beef bouillon
  • 1 Tbsp. black pepper
  • 1 tsp. white pepper
  • 3 pounds ground beef 12 – 16% fat (or 2 pounds if you prefer a less meaty sauce)
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 6 jalapenos see note*
  • 2 onions sweet if you can get them
  • 16 large mushrooms
  • 4 Tbsp. butter
  • 2-3 tsp. salt to taste
  • 2 Tbsp. sugar or to taste
  • Olive oil and salt as needed for frying


  • In a large soup pot with a heavy bottom combine diced tomatoes, crushed tomatoes, pesto, garlic, thyme, oregano, beef bouillon, black pepper and white pepper. Turn the pot on medium and bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally.
  • Meanwhile crumble beef into large skillet over medium-high heat. Brown the beef, stirring often and cooking until the pink is just gone. Add the beef and all the drippings that have come out (so entire contents of skillet) to the pot with the tomato mixture.
  • Seed and dice the red bell pepper, green bell pepper and jalapenos. Using the same skillet, fry on medium high heat with a little olive oil and sprinkle of salt until the peppers become slightly softened and take on a few dark tinges. Stir frequently and add additional oil if needed. Add the peppers to the tomato mixture.
  • Dice the onions. Using the same skillet fry on medium high heat with a little olive oil and a sprinkle of salt until the onions have softened and turned slightly golden-brown. Stir frequently and add additional oil if needed. Add the onions to the tomato mixture.
  • Slice the mushrooms. Using the same skillet add the mushrooms, butter, and a dash of salt. Fry on medium high heat until the mushrooms have rendered some water and have a nice golden tinge to the edges. Stir frequently and add additional oil if needed. Add the mushrooms to the tomato mixture.
  • Stir your sauce well and taste it. Depending on how much salt you used in the veggie prep process and on the brand of bouillon you used you will probably need to add 2-3 teaspoons of salt now. I suggest you add one teaspoon at a time and taste between additions. Most brands of canned tomatoes are not very sweet. The sauce should be faintly sweet as if you used the most perfect garden ripe tomatoes. I generally add 2 Tbsp. of sugar to my sauce but taste before you do this because brands and garden varieties of tomatoes differ.
  • Serve your sauce hot or cool and freeze. I like to make mine the day before and refrigerate it because the flavor will develop with sitting. Please do not simmer sauce for hours after everything is added. This causes the meat to become rubbery and the flavor to cook out.


Cooking With Jalapenos: The most frustrating thing about cooking with jalapenos is that the level of heat changes with every batch you buy! They are usually spicier in the winter and less spicy in the summer. If you want more spice add additional peppers or include the seeds / white part with your peppers. The only true way to determine the level of spice in your peppers is to taste for heat before cooking with them. 


Calories: 474kcal | Carbohydrates: 8g | Protein: 21g | Fat: 30g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Cholesterol: 92mg | Sodium: 524mg | Potassium: 410mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 790IU | Vitamin C: 32mg | Calcium: 53mg | Iron: 3mg