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Classic Homemade Spaghetti and Meatballs Recipe

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Homemade spaghetti sauce and meatballs is the ultimate comfort food. While there are so many different pre-made sauces you can buy, once you smell this sauce simmering on your stovetop, you will never think about buying any of the pre-made options again.

spaghetti featured

Classic Homemade Spaghetti and Meatballs Recipe

Who else grew up eating homemade spaghetti? My mother made us spaghetti at least once  a week when I was growing up. Sometimes it was a mixture of beef and pork, sometimes it was turkey spaghetti, but we always had spaghetti. 

What we never had was spaghetti and meatballs. Meatballs do add work, but when they simmer in a sauce for an hour or more, they add such a rich depth to the recipe. My kids don’t want spaghetti anymore if I don’t make meatballs. 

spaghetti meatballs

This homemade spaghetti sauce comes together really quickly once all of the vegetables are chopped. But it really benefits from a slow simmer. I like to start the sauce by noon at the latest, to serve it for dinner. So making this homemade spaghetti sauce does take some planning. 

Luckily, this large batch recipe makes enough for two complete meals for my family of six. And since it freezes well, I always enjoy putting half the recipe in the freezer.

spaghetti & meatball ingredients

Ingredients for this Homemade Spaghetti Sauce Recipe

How to Make Homemade Spaghetti Sauce

To make this recipe, chop all vegetables. Heat olive oil in a large pot and then add and then add onions, carrots, green peppers and saute for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic, and continue to cook until the vegetables are fragrant and soft, another 5-10 minutes.

Add tomatoes, water, and spices. Stir well. Then bring to a simmer and simmer for 2-3 hours, longer if you want.

sauce simmering

One hour before you want to eat, add the meatballs and continue to simmer for one more hour.

Serve over pasta and top with fresh parmesan cheese and salt and pepper to taste.

Meatball ingredients

You can use any meatball recipe you like, or if you prefer to buy pre-made meatballs, that works too. I use my recipe for Spinach Mozzarella Meatloaf to make my meatballs. With lots of spinach, eggs, bread crumbs, mozzarella cheese, and ground beef, this meatloaf recipe is a family favorite and this particular meat mixture makes fabulous meatballs too.

To turn it into meatballs, I mix everything in a large bowl, then form meatballs. I use a small to medium sized melon baller to make them all a consistent size. I put them on a rack placed on top of a sheet pan and bake them for about 15-20 minutes, until they’re browned on all sides and mostly cooked. 

What is the secret ingredient for spaghetti sauce?

This slow cooked spaghetti sauce does have a secret ingredient: carrots! Carrots are a great addition to spaghetti sauce because their natural sweetness gives the sauce a rich taste. They also help cut the acidity. 

I chop my carrots fine so they aren’t really recognizable by picky eaters. You can also grate them if you prefer. Finally, you could strain them out of the sauce before you eat, if you want, but we never do.

spaghetti & meatballs

Michelle. This recipe spaghetti and meatball recipe makes a TON of sauce. What do I do with it all?

This recipe really does make a lot. We typically don’t have trouble eating it though. It freezes well to use another time. 

The spaghetti sauce leftovers can be also turned into lasagna (I just smash up the meatballs and it works fine!) baked spaghetti, meatball sub sandwiches, stromboli, or stuffed peppers. You can also use it to make chicken parmesan – just strain out meatballs first, if there are any left.

Yield: 12 servings

Classic Homemade Spaghetti and Meatballs

spaghetti featured

A delicious, slow-simmering homemade spaghetti sauce - enhanced with homemade meatballs. So worth suffering through the long simmering time!

Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours
Additional Time 30 minutes
Total Time 3 hours 55 minutes

Ingredients

Instructions

Heat olive oil in a large pot and then add and then add onions, carrots, green peppers and saute for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic, and continue to cook until the vegetables are fragrant and soft, another 5-10 minutes.

Add tomatoes, water, and spices. Stir well. Then bring to a simmer and simmer for 2-3 hours, longer if you want.

One hour before you want to eat, add the meatballs and continue to simmer for one more hour. I use my recipe for spinach mozzarella meatloaf to make the meatballs. You can also use pre-made meatballs if you prefer.

To turn my meatloaf recipe into meatballs, mix everything in a large bowl, then form meatballs. Using a small to medium sized melon baller will help make them all a consistent size. Put them on a rack placed on top of a sheet pan and bake them for about 15-20 minutes at 350 F, until they’re browned on all sides and mostly cooked.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

12

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 261Total Fat: 16gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 37mgSodium: 1510mgCarbohydrates: 22gFiber: 6gSugar: 12gProtein: 12g

Nutritional data is not always correct.

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Instagram tagging @simplifylivelove! I love to see your photos!

Do you think homemade spaghetti sauce is worth the effort?

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About Michelle Marine

Michelle Marine is the author of How to Raise Chickens for Meat, a long time green living enthusiast and rural Iowa mom of four. An avid traveler, Michelle has lived on three different continents and has driven all four kids across the entire USA (by herself!). She loves sharing farm-to-table recipes, their family travel adventures, and gardening and homesteading tips on her popular lifestyle blog, SimplifyLiveLove.com.

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