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Quick and Easy Weeknight Pasta Sauce


We all need a Quick and Easy Weeknight Pasta Sauce in our lives. One that we can have on the table in under an hour, at best under 30 minutes. And one that you can easily freeze leftovers.

Quick and Easy Weeknight Pasta Sauce

The beauty of this one is that you can make it in your slow cooker or an Instant Pot. I make this sauce both ways and it’s a life saver during the week. Many times, I fly to a location for the day, return to LA and land around 6pm and just want to go home. Eating out just doesn’t sound appealing. I want to be in my jammy pants, sipping a glass of wine waiting for a quick meal to share with my husband. Another plus? It makes about 9 cups of sauce, about 3 quarts. I freeze the remaining amount for a rainy day.

The Inspo

This Quick and Easy Weeknight Pasta Sauce is inspired by the ever so lively Josie. Josie was my husband’s Grandfather’s very close friend. She said everyone should know how to make sauce. Now her sauce was a true gem. Cooked many hours carefully on the stove with fresh ripe tomatoes, basil from the garden… The real deal. This sauce doesn’t compare to hers, but it sure is inspired by her. At the time, I didn’t know how to make sauce, but I sure got on it like it was my life’s work. So here you go.. make it, enjoy it. Thanks Josie!

How To

I’m going to make this in the Instant Pot today. The beauty of the Instant Pot is that you get the all day cooked flavor in a fraction of the time. Directions for both Instant Pot and Slow Cooker will be on the recipe card. The Instant Pot I own is the 6 quart, it’s the IP-LUX. If you are new to the Instant Pot craze, it takes awhile to get used to using it. Once you “get it”., it’s a life saver during the week. I waited quite a while before I bought one..I resisted it. Now I fully understand the hype and most of all the convenience and help it offers us during the work week.

sauce ingredients

Once the sauce is cooked, you will notice it seems watery. Two things, once it cools, it sets. The consistency is great for adding meatballs or sausages. I’ve make it thicker at times by adding more meat, but I like this balance of tomatoes and ground beef. Not too much of either..just somewhere in the middle. Another thing to note is that when you freeze it and then defrost, it will be even thicker.

If you prefer a thicker sauce, you can add another can of tomato paste or drain the ground beef after its cooked.

Quick and Easy Weeknight Pasta Sauce
Quick and Easy Weeknight Pasta Sauce

Quick and Easy Weeknight Pasta Sauce

Ana P @ Claudia’s Table
February 24, 2020
Easy sauce for weeknight meals.
5 from 13 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Slow cooker 5 minutes
Total Time 6 hours
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Servings 8
Calories 350 kcal


  • Instant Pot
  • Slow cooker
  • Large sauce pan


  • 2 lbs ground beef lean, 85%
  • 1 large onion finely chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp olive oil extra virgin
  • 1 tsp oregano dried
  • 1 tsp basil dried
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning dried
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper optional
  • 1 can tomato paste 8oz
  • 2 cans crushed tomatoes 28oz
  • 1 tbsp sugar granulated
  • 2 tsp salt kosher
  • 1/2 tsp pepper black



  • Add olive oil to the sauce or saute pan.
  • Add ground beef and garlic, salt and pepper.
  • Saute until the meat is in small pieces. Add onion. Saute for a couple more minutes.
  • To slow cooker, add crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, oregano, basil, Italian seasoning, crushed red pepper, sugar. Then add ground beef mixture.
  • Stir all ingredients are combined.
  • Set slow cooker to LOW for 6-8 hours. Sauce will be done at 6 hours, but many have a warm setting. It can sit on warm for an additional 2 hours.


  • Start the pot on Saute.
  • Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil, ground beef, garlic, salt and pepper. Saute meat until browned and pieces the meat in small pieces. About 5 minutes.
  • Add onion, crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, oregano, basil, Italian seasoning, crushed red pepper and sugar. Combine all ingredients.
  • Set Instant pot for meat/stew. High, for 10 minutes with natural release.
  • Natural release should be about 10 minutes, check sauce for salt.


SALT: When using tomatoes, sodium content varies greatly from brand to brand. For example: Cento crushed tomatoes have 40 mg sodium per 1/2 cup serving. Hunts has 260 mg of sodium for 1/2 cup serving.   So depending on what you have available to purchase, you may need to adjust as needed.


Serving: 1cupCalories: 350kcal

Nutritional information is calculated online and should be used as a guide.

Keyword meat sauce, pasta sauce, spaghetti sauce

All content and photographs ©Claudia’s Table and claudiastable.com

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Looking for another Pasta recipe or Instant Pot? Try our Quick Weeknight Pasta Bake for a quick weeknight dinner.

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