Favorite Healthy Homemade Meat Sauce

Favorite Healthy Homemade Meat Sauce

With lean bison and fresh tomatoes, this healthy homemade meat sauce is my go-to recipe. It’s perfect for lasagna, zoodles, and veggie pasta bakes.

This healthy homemade meat sauce is what Italian food dreams are made of.

Until I met Bry I was perfectly happy with canned sauce. Sure, I’d add a little extra basil depending on the brand, but otherwise I had no issue unscrewing the lid, heating it up and pouring it over my pasta dish. 

Healthy homemade meat sauce over zucchini noodles

But then he introduced me to true, homemade Italian sauces and suddenly those jarred sauces just couldn’t cut it anymore. 

While I do have a go-to vegetarian marinara recipe on the blog, if you’re a meat eater then this healthy homemade meat sauce is by far one of my favorite recipes, and I promise you it’ll become your family’s favorite as well! 

What You’ll Need

  • Olive oil 
  • Shallot 
  • Garlic
  • Ground bison
  • Roma tomatoes
  • Canned tomato sauce 
  • Dried basil
  • Italian seasoning 
  • Salt 
  • Sugar 
  • Water 

Is ground bison healthier than ground beef? 

Growing up in Colorado, eating bison was perfectly normal. However, when I was living in Boston I quickly realized that not everyone is as familiar with it. 

Besides liking the flavor better, bison is also a healthier option with 4-ounces of ground bison providing 203 calories, 9.7 grams of fat, 4 grams saturated fat, and 29 grams of protein. 

In comparison, 4-ounces of 80% lean ground beef provides 280 calories, 22 grams of fat, 9 grams saturated fat, and 20 grams of protein. 

So, not only is bison lower in calories, total fat, and saturated fat, but it’s also higher in protein! 

Plus, due to federal regulations, all bison have to be raised without any hormones or antibiotics, so you don’t have to worry about reading your labels quite as closely. 

Can you make this healthy homemade meat sauce with canned diced tomatoes? 

Absolutely! This sauce is unique in that it already uses some canned tomato products. While I like to use roma tomatoes, especially when they’re in season, you can still get a delicious sauce using canned diced tomatoes. 

To substitute in canned, use 1 14.5-ounce can of regular diced tomatoes in place of 1 pound of roma tomatoes. 

Choosing the best canned tomatoes 

Cans of Muir Glen tomato sauce

If there’s one “rule” with this pasta sauce, it’s using really good canned tomato sauce. As tempting as it can be to buy generic or whatever’s on sale, the quality varies greatly. 

My go-to is Muir Glen tomatoes; however, I know others swear by Cento San Marzano. 

Step-By-Step Instructions 

Step 1: Prep all your ingredients

Muir glen tomato sauce canns, ground bison, olive oil, roma tomatoes, whole shallot, two garlic cloves, and dried basil

Start by dicing you shallot and tomatoes and mincing the garlic. Measure out remaining ingredients. 

Step 2: Sautee the shallot

Place a heavy-bottom pot or large saucepan over medium heat and add oil. I like to use a large saucepan as I find the sauce reduces and thickens better. 

Once oil is hot, add diced shallots and saute until softened and fragrant, about 2 minutes. 

Step 3: Brown the bison

Add ground bison and minced garlic. Cook until bison is browned, breaking it up into crumbles, about 4-5 minutes. It’s okay if the bison is sitll a little pink – it has hours left to finish cooking. 

Step 4: Add remaining ingredients and cook long and slow 

Browned bison in pan with diced tomatoes

Add remaining ingredients to pan and increase heat to medium-high. Bring to a boil. 

Adding tomato sauce, tomatoes, basil, italian seasoning, water, salt and sugar into saucepan

Once boiling, reduce heat to a low simmer and cook for at least 1 hour, but ideally 2-3 hours, until thickened. 

Saucepan of homemade meat sauce with wooden spoon and zoodles

Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. Use sauce immediately or store in the fridge for up to 5 days. 

This healthy homemade meat sauce is perfect for meal prep! 

Just like how lasagna usually tastes even better the second day, this sauce only gets better with a night spent in the fridge. 

Here are some healthier recipes to use it in:

Healthy homemade meat sauce over zucchini noodles

Let me know how you end up using this sauce by tagging @TheHealthyToast_RD on Instagram, and don’t forget to share this recipe on Pinterest!

Favorite Healthy Homemade Meat Sauce

From spaghetti to baked ziti and lasagna, this recipe is my go-to meat sauce. With lean bison and fresh tomatoes it’s also on the healthier side.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time1 hr 10 mins
Total Time1 hr 20 mins
Course: Sauce
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: Healthy meat sauce, Homemade pasta sauce
Servings: 8

Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 shallot minced
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 pound ground bison
  • 1 pound roma tomatoes about 12 whole tomatoes, roughly diced
  • 2 15- ounce cans tomato sauce
  • 1 ½ teaspoons dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons cane sugar
  • 1 cup water

Instructions

  • Place a heavy-bottom pot or large saucepan over medium heat and add oil. Once oil is hot, add shallot and saute until softened and fragrant, about 2 minutes.
  • Add ground bison and minced garlic. Cook until bison is browned, breaking it up into crumbles, about 4-5 minutes.
  • Add remaining ingredients to pan and increase heat to medium-high. Bring to a boil.
  • Once boiling, reduce heat to a low simmer and cook for at least 1 hour, but ideally 2-3 hours, until thickened.
  • Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. Use sauce immediately or store in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Healthy Meat Sauce pinterest image

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About Kelli McGrane Headshot

I’m Kelli MS, RD, and my mission is to prove that eating healthier doesn’t have to be complicated or restrictive. Follow along to learn more about food and cooking, with an emphasis on breakfast and sweet treats!

About Kelli McGrane Headshot

Welcome to The Healthy Toast!

Here you’ll find healthy breakfast recipes designed by a registered dietitian with your health goals in mind.

As a dietitian I understand that a healthy breakfast is essential for giving you the fuel you need to power through your day. Which is why on TheHealthyToast, you’ll find nutrition guides plus the best healthy breakfast recipes for every diet and lifestyle.

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