Julia’s Spaghetti Sauce

By Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Sometimes, I am so consumed by trying new recipes and ethnic foods that I forget the basics. The staple recipes, tried and true and loved by all.

Today, we’re going back to basics.

Spaghetti Sauce

Is there any greater comfort food than spaghetti? (OK, other than Kraft Dinner.) I feel like I could never turn down a big, hearty dish of spaghetti (preferably with meatballs and garlic bread). There’s something so warm and fuzzy about the very idea of spaghetti. It makes me feel at ease – happy and cozy.

I don’t make it often, but when I do, I always make my own sauce. I normally make it up as I go and use whatever vegetables I have around, but that past few times I made note of the ingredients and steps I took so I could share it on the blog.

Most recently, I made this version and it was to die for. The unexpected barbecue sauce adds a tiny something extra that made me go “Hey! There’s something different about this sauce! I love it!” Gotta love the whole je ne sais quoi factor.

Back to Basics: Julia’s Spaghetti Sauce


  • 1 lb ground beef (optional)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 tsps minced garlic
  • 1 bell pepper (any colours)
  • 2 ribs of celery, diced
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms (optional)
  • ½ cup BBQ sauce (chipotle or buffalo is best)
  • 1 can diced tomatoes (28 oz)
  • 1 can tomato sauce or passata (16 oz)
  • 1 can tomato paste (6 oz)
  • 1 tsp red chili peppers
  • 2 tsps dried oregano
  • 2 tsps fried basil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper


  1. Cook the beef like you would for tacos. Drain fat and remove beef. Set aside. In the same pan, fry onion, garlic, celery, mushrooms and bell pepper. Cook and stir until vegetables are tender. Re-add beef. Stir diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, barbecue sauce and tomato paste into the pan. Season with oregano, basil, salt, red chili peppers and pepper. Simmer for 1 hour, stirring every few minutes.

I like to garnish my spaghetti with fresh grated parmesan and use whole wheat pasta, but that’s just me. Also, as I said, garlic bread is essential. Remember that you can play with this recipe by using whatever vegetables you have on hand. I’d even try spinach or zucchini if I had it! And of course you can omit the beef and make it vegetarian.

What’s your go-to spaghetti sauce recipe? Do you have a family one?

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