An incredibly flavorful bolognese sauce, made in under an hour? Yes, it’s totally possible with this easy Italian meat sauce recipe! My go-to weeknight sauce is made with roasted cherry tomatoes, garlic, ground meat and Italian herbs.

You can toss it with spaghetti, pappardelle or use it to make a delicious lasagna! The roasted tomatoes give it an extra depth of flavor that I know you’re going to love!

Pasta tossed in meat sauce in large pot with serving spoon in the pot

Bolognese is a rich and hearty Italian meat sauce that combines beef and/or pork with tomatoes, garlic and Italian herbs. In this version of the popular Italian recipe, I’m creating a quick and easy meat sauce with a base of ground beef and roasted cherry tomatoes.

Growing up, this meat sauce was on our menu at home every week. I updated the recipe to add roasted cherry tomatoes, instead of canned diced tomatoes. The roasted tomatoes add a ton of flavor to the sauce. They’re the secret ingredient that makes this dish so delicious!

You’ll never make another meat sauce again after you try this easy recipe! It only takes 15 minutes of hands-on time to make and it creates fantastic leftovers! I love to make a big pot of this pasta sauce on Sunday, then eat it throughout the week.

You can toss it with your favorite pasta, add it to lasagna or serve it over zucchini noodles for a low carb meal. To mix things up, you can use Italian sausage instead of ground beef, or add red pepper flakes for a kick of spice. This sauce is versatile and oh-so-scrumptious!

ingredients for roasted tomato meat sauce

What You’ll Need

  • Fresh Cherry Tomatoes
  • Garlic Cloves
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Balsamic Vinegar
  • Black Pepper
  • Fresh Basil – dried basil will also work if you don’t have any fresh basil on hand.
  • Ground Beef – feel free to use ground pork or Italian sausage instead, if you’d like!
  • Tomato Paste
  • Dried Parsley
  • Dried Oregano
  • Salt
collage of images showing how to make roasted tomato meat sauce

How To Make Meat Sauce with Roasted Tomatoes

  1. Place cherry tomatoes and garlic cloves on a baking sheet covered with foil. Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, add fresh chopped basil and black pepper. Toss everything together. Place in a 400°F oven and bake for 25 minutes.
  2. Remove the roasted cherry tomatoes from the oven. Grab the corners of the foil and transfer all of the ingredients from the baking sheet into a blender or food processor. Add tomato paste, dried parsley, oregano, salt and pepper to the blender.
    • Quick Tip! Replace the dried parsley and oregano with 1 tablespoon of my homemade Italian Seasoning mix for even more flavor!
  3. Puree until smooth, then set aside.
  4. Add ground beef to a large pot, or dutch oven, on the stove over medium high heat. Cook the ground beef through. This should take 6-8 minutes. Drain any grease from the pot, then add the tomato puree from the blender and stir to combine.
  5. Cover the meat sauce, reduce the heat on the stove to low and let the sauce simmer for 15-20 minutes.
    • Quick Tip! If you have more time, you can let it simmer longer, but after just 15 minutes, it will be delicious!
  6. Use the sauce to make lasagna, or add cooked pasta to the sauce and toss to combine.
Italian meat sauce in large pot with serving spoon

Whit’s Tips & Tricks

  • For a spicy bolognese sauce, use spicy Italian sausage instead of ground beef and add 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes to the sauce.
  • When tossing the sauce with pasta, I recommend adding 1/4 – 1/2 cup of the pasta water, along with the pasta. This starchy water will help thicken the sauce.
  • This sauce makes great leftovers, in fact, in might just be even better the next day! As the flavors of the sauce meld together over the course of a day or two, it just keeps getting better. Store this pasta sauce in a covered container in the fridge for 5-7 days.
  • This homemade meat sauce can be frozen for up to 6 months. You can store it in a freezer bag or mason jar, just be sure to leave an inch of space at the top of the jar for expansion in the freezer. To thaw the sauce, place it in the refrigerator 24 hours before using it in a meal. Once thawed, reheat the sauce in a pot on the stove over medium heat for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • To make a low carb meal with this delicious meat sauce, serve the sauce over zucchini noodles or with spaghetti squash. Check out this Spaghetti Squash Mac & Cheese recipe for tips and tricks on how to roast spaghetti squash. These serving options also create a great gluten free meal!
  • For a healthier meat sauce, try using ground turkey instead of ground beef.
  • Want to double, triple or quadruple the recipe? No problem! In the recipe card below, hover over the serving size amount and use the slider to increase the sauce to make 12 cups, 18 cups or 24 cups of sauce! The ingredient amounts in the card will automatically adjust to the correct amounts for the desired serving size.
pasta tossed in tomato meat sauce in large pot with serving spoon

Looking for more easy Italian recipes? Check out these popular posts!

  1. Pasta Boscaiola – The most delicious Creamy Mushroom & Bacon sauce!
  2. Slow Cooker Beef Ragu – award winning recipe!
  3. Three Cheese Manicotti with Italian Sausage Marinara – a hit on Pinterest!
  4. Tomato Basil Gnocchi Soup – made in just 15 minutes!
  5. Italian Polenta Casserole – a staple on our weeknight dinner menu!
Large pot filled with pasta and meat sauce
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Easy Bolognese Meat Sauce

An incredibly flavorful bolognese sauce, made in under an hour? Yes, it's totally possible with this easy Italian meat sauce recipe! My go-to weeknight sauce is made with roasted cherry tomatoes, garlic, ground meat and Italian herbs.

Ingredients

  • 4 cups cherry tomatoes
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 ¼ teaspoon black pepper, divided
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 6 ounces tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon salt

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  • Place the tomatoes and garlic on a baking sheet covered with foil.
  • Drizzle with the olive oil and balsamic vinegar, then top with ¼ tsp black pepper and fresh basil.
  • Place in the oven and roast for 25 minutes.
  • Remove the roasted tomatoes from the oven.
  • Grab the corners of the foil and transfer all of the ingredients from the baking sheet into a blender or food processor.
  • Add the tomato paste, dried parsley, dried oregano, remaining 1 tsp black pepper and salt to the blender.
  • Blend until smooth, then set aside.
  • Add the ground beef to a large pot, or dutch oven, on the stove over medium high heat.
  • Cook the ground beef through, this should take 6-8 minutes.
  • Drain any grease from the pot, then add the tomato puree from the blender and stir to combine.
  • Cover the sauce, reduce the heat on the stove to low and simmer for 15-20 minutes.
  • Add your favorite cooked pasta to the sauce and toss to combine, or serve the sauce over spaghetti squash or zucchini noodles for a gluten free, low carb meal.
  • Optional: top with a sprinkling of grated parmesan cheese and fresh chopped basil right before serving.

Notes

  • Simmer Time: the sauce will be good to go after simmering on the stove for just 15 minutes. But if you have more time, you can let the sauce simmer on low for up to 4 hours.
  • Italian Seasoning: Replace the dried parsley and oregano with 1 tablespoon of my homemade Italian Seasoning mix for even more flavor!
  • Ground Meat: the ground beef can be replaced with ground turkey, ground pork or Italian sausage.
  • Leftovers: can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 7 days or in the freezer for up to 6 months.
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Nutrition Facts

Serving 4gCalories 302kcal (15%)Carbohydrates 10g (3%)Protein 15g (30%)Fat 22g (34%)Saturated Fat 6g (30%)Cholesterol 53mg (18%)Sodium 480mg (20%)Potassium 716mg (20%)Fiber 2g (8%)Sugar 6g (7%)Vitamin A 965mg (19%)Vitamin C 29.6mg (36%)Calcium 40mg (4%)Iron 3.1mg (17%)
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