Spinach and Sausage Spaghetti Sauce (Stovetop or Slow Cooker)

This Spinach and Sausage Spaghetti Sauce is the perfect easy homemade sauce for pasta night! It's ready in 40 minutes and couldn't be more flavorful. Just add your favorite pasta for an easy weeknight dinner.

202 CALORIES22g CARBS2g FAT22g PROTEIN
4 Comments

My grandmother made the world's best spaghetti sauce. We were lucky enough to almost always have some waiting in the freezer packed to the brim with homemade meatballs, sausage, or whatever meat she was trying to use up that week.

Every time I make my own spaghetti sauce, I wished I had learned her recipe because I have never had a sauce that tasted quite as good.

Lately, I have been thinking about her and dreaming about her famous spaghetti sauce. Although today's recipe isn't one she would have made (she wouldn't have included spinach in spaghetti sauce) it was definitely inspired by her.

In terms of this sauce, it is quickly becoming one of our favorites to have in the freezer for a quick dinner. 

Packed with fire-roasted tomatoes, sausage, garlic, onion, carrots for sweetness, and herbs - this sauce has tons of flavor.  If you can't find crushed fire-roasted tomatoes, you could use diced tomatoes or San Marzano tomatoes.  Just crush them up using your hand when you add them to the sauce.

One more note, because I love my pasta or spaghetti squash with lots of sauce, the serving is pretty large.  You could easily just use half a cup. 

Key Ingredients and Swaps

  • Sausage: This sauce gets a lot of its flavor from the sausage, so make sure to choose something with lots of flavor. Ground Italian turkey sausage is the protein I use most often, but any sausage will work including sweet Italian sausage, spicy Italian sausage, or another flavor. The ground sausage adds more flavor than links in my opinion. For a lighter sauce, swap in some lean ground turkey, just use extra seasoning.
  • Carrots: Carrots add a touch of sweetness to the sauce and some extra nutrients. They are optional but traditionally used in bolognese. 
  • Onion and garlic: Thes two aromatics are essential to a flavorful sauce. Use as much garlic as you like. Also, use fresh if you can for the best flavor.
  • Balsamic vinegar: Adding vinegar to the sauce adds richness and depth of flavor. You could swap in a few glugs of red wine. Just make sure to cook it down.
  • Fire-roasted crushed tomatoes: Almost any canned tomato works for the sauce.  Fire-roasted or San Marzano tomatoes will give the most flavor. 
  • Parsley: Adding fresh herbs boosts the flavor of the sauce. Parsley or basil would work and you could swap use dried herbs if that's all you have.
  • Spices: This sauce uses basil, oregano, and bay leaves. Italian seasoning would also work well if you wanted to use it instead.
  • Spinach: To add greens. nutrients, and flavor to this sauce, I like to add lots of fresh spinach. Frozen, defrosted spinach also works. Just make sure to squeeze out all the excess moisture so the sauce doesn't get watery. 

Ways to Use Spinach Sausage Spaghetti Sauce

Although pasta is the obvious way to use this sauce, there are so many other ways to use this delicious sauce.

  • Pasta: This sauce works with all types of pasta including alternative pastas made with chickpeas, lentils, or rice. It can also be used in baked pasta dishes. 
  • Vegetable pasta: Serve this with spaghetti squash or zucchini noodles for a lower carb, veggie packed meal.
  • Pizza: Use this as pizza sauce to make homemade pizza.
  • Eggs: Make an Italian version of shakshuka with this tomato sauce as the base. 
  • Grain bowls: Start with a bowl with quinoa or farro. Add lots of roasted vegetables, fresh mozzarella cheese, and a dollop of this tasty spaghetti sauce.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some of the most common questions about making this sausage and spinach spaghetti sauce.

This sauce freezes very well. Make sure to let it fully cool and then store it in an airtight container in the freezer for 3-4 months. Defrost overnight in the fridge or over low heat in a sauce pan.

For a lighter sauce, swap in lean ground turkey for the turkey sausage. To make sure the sauce is nice and flavorful, use this homemade Italian seasoning to season the ground turkey.

This sauce works great with frozen spinach. Make sure to fully defrost it first and squeeze out any excess moisture.

The Recipe
Spinach sausage spaghetti sauce with ground sausage, tomatoes, and spinach in a pot.

Spinach and Sausage Spaghetti Sauce (Stovetop or Slow Cooker)

PREP TIME: 5 Min
COOK TIME: 35 Min
TOTAL TIME: 40 Min
4 Comments
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Ingredients

USMETRICS
  • 1.5 lbs. lean turkey sausage (links or ground, raw)
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 8 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 56 oz. canned fire roasted crushed tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup parsley, chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2.5 tsp. dried basil
  • 2.5 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 lb. spinach

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Instructions

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1

Add the sausage, carrot, onion, and garlic to a hot sauce pan. Cook for 8-10 minutes until sausage is browned and onions are tender and beginning to brown.

2

Add the vinegar and scrape any bits off the bottom of the pan. Add the tomatoes, parsley, bay leaves, basil, and oregano. Season well with salt and pepper. Simmer for 30 minutes on low. Stir in spinach and cook for 4-5 minutes until fully wilted.

3

If cooking in a slow cooker, add the browned sausage and vegetables to the slow cooker along with the tomatoes, parsley, bay leaves, basil, oregano, salt, and pepper. Cook on low for 4 hours. Stir in spinach and let cook for 5-10 more minutes until wilted.

Nutritional Facts
Serving Size: 1 cup
Amount Per Serving
Calories 202
Calories from Fat 18
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 2g
3%
Saturated Fat 0g
2%
Monounsaturated Fat 0g
0%
Polyunsaturated Fat 0g
0%
Cholesterol 47mg
16%
Sodium 421mg
18%
Total Carbohydrate 22g
7%
Dietary Fiber 5g
21%
Sugars 11g
Protein 22g

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

The Nutritional Values provided are estimates only and may vary based on the preparation method.

Notes

If you substitute 99% lean ground turkey for the ground turkey sausage, make sure to use extra seasoning and spices.
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About the authorMeet Kristen McCaffrey
Hi, I’m the cookbook author, recipe developer, and food enthusiast behind Slender Kitchen. I am obsessed with making healthy food that is easy to prepare and absolutely delicious. Meal planning is my secret weapon and I hope I can make meal time easier for you with our tried and tested recipes and foolproof meal plans. Learn More
4 Comments
On Spinach and Sausage Spaghetti Sauce (Stovetop or Slow Cooker)
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Robyn
February 26, 2020 - 15:52
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5
This was fantastic!!
I added some spicy homemade salsa and madenit with ground beef. The balsamic vinegar gives it a great zing!
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Taffee Johnston
February 4, 2019 - 23:39
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5
This recipe sounds great... I was wondering if you could use frozen spinach, if you didnt have fresh?
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February 5, 2019 - 06:57
Frozen spinach would work great!
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Jody Goldman
March 11, 2017 - 06:58
Add a Rating:
5
So excited to have discovered this site. The recipes are so delicious...and healthy! This is one of our favorites. We eat it over spaghetti squash or pasta. It is easy and makes a large quantity.
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