Spaghetti & Meat Sauce – 30 Minutes or Less

Jun 3, 2019 | meat, Pasta, Recipes

Last night I made spaghetti and meat sauce with garlic bread and Caesar salad. I did it in under 30 minutes however, it was very difficult. And, in all honesty, it wasn’t the best pasta sauce I have ever made (as my wife was quick to point out). It was good, but it could have been better.

For the tomato portion of the sauce, I used one can of crushed tomatoes and one can of diced tomatoes. The diced tomatoes were pretty watery. Because of the limited time, I wasn’t able to cook off enough of the tomato liquid. I would suggest using two cans of crushed tomatoes rather than diced ones.

Putting the garlic bread together was pretty easy and took very little time. The Caesar salad, on the other hand, did kind of get in the way. Within the half-hour cook time, I not only made the sauce from scratch, cooked the pasta, made garlic butter and garlic bread, but I also made everything for the salad from scratch. It’s not impossible, obviously, but again, it was difficult. I would suggest having the salad mostly ready to go. You can do this the day before, just don’t dress it.

Finally, while the bacon and the beef were cooking I stirred them every chance I got. It was too frequent and probably unnecessary to give exact times.

Okay, with all that in mind, let’s take a look at how I made…

Spaghetti & Meat Sauce in 30 Minutes or Less

7:10 pm – Getting Started

The first thing I did was get the heat on for everything. I turned on the pot for the sauce, the pan for the bacon bits, the oven for the garlic bread 425°F, and I filled a large pot with hot water, turned it on high and put a lid on it for the pasta.

This all sounds like a lot but it only took about one minute.

7:11 pm – Nice to meat you!

With all the heat on it was time to get cooking. I diced about a 1/2 lb of bacon and put it in a slightly warm cast iron pan on medium low heat.

Once the bacon was in the pan I added about 1 tbsp of canola oil to my saucepot and added 1 lb of medium ground beef.

This all took about 3-4 minutes during which I also washed my knife and cutting board.

7:15 pm – A roll of the dice.

With the meat cooking, it was time to get going on the vegetables. I diced an onion, a red pepper, four cloves of garlic, and a couple of cremini mushrooms.

I separated the garlic into three and put 1/3 in a small ramekin which I used later to make garlic butter. I put 1/3 in a bowl for Caesar dressing. And, I left 1/3 on the cutting board for the sauce.

7:21 pm – What’s the beef?

By 7:21 all the vegetables were cut and I added them to the now browned beef.

I cooked all of this together for about three minutes and then added 1 tsp chili flakes, 2 tbsp, dried oregano, and salt & pepper.

7:25 pm – The can-can

At 7:25 it was time to open up the cans of tomato purée and diced tomatoes. I added them into the pot. (Again if you want to do this in 30 minutes I would suggest using two cans to tomato purée and leaving out the diced tomatoes.)

I brought the sauce to a boil and then reduced the heat to let it simmer.

7:28 pm – Pasta in the pool

I used gluten-free pasta which takes about two minutes longer to cook than regular pasta. I added mine to the boiling water at 7:28 but, if you are using regular dried pasta probably wait another minute or two. Though, in all honesty, it doesn’t really matter that much as long as you drain it before it overcooks.

Right around this time, I drained the bacon which by now was nice and crispy. I cooked it on medium-low heat to draw the fat out. This is an old French technique that yields the crispiest bacon ever.

7:29 – Butter that bread

It was time to get going on the garlic bread. I took that little ramekin of garlic that I set aside earlier added about 1 1/2 tbsp of butter to it. I mixed this up really well. I then sliced a gluten-free baguette (you can use non-gluten-free) down the middle lengthwise, spread the garlic butter on the and popped it in the oven right on the rack.

7:30 pm – Dress it up.

It took me about a minute to assemble the garlic bread and get it in the oven. The next step was to make the Caesar salad dressing.

Generally, Caesar salad is made with raw egg yolk. As my wife is pregnant and definitely cannot have raw egg yolk I made mine with mayonnaise as the base.

I took the bowl with the final 1/3 of garlic in it and added about 1/4 cup mayo to it. To this, I added 1 tbsp red wine vinegar, a few drops of fish sauce (you can use Worcestershire sauce), the juice of 1/4 of a lemon, 2 tbsp grated parmesan, and a bit of salt and pepper.

I mixed all of this together and the dressing was done.

7:33 pm – The old cut n’ wash

With the dressing made and set aside I got straight to cutting the romain lettuce.

I used 1 romain heart for this as it was just my wife and I eating, but two should feed a family of four.

I pulled off any brown leaves, sliced the head lengthwise through the middle, but not through the root. I rolled the lettuce 1/4 turn and the sliced again. Essentially I was making a plus sign ( +) cut down the center of the romaine head while keeping the root attached to hold the head together. I then cut across the head making bite-sized pieces of lettuce. These went into the salad spinner, got rinsed with cold water, drained, and spun.

If this all sounds confusing then just watch the quick video below to see what I’m talking about.

7:35 pm – Putting it all together.

At this point, I was still waiting on my pasta to cook (I stirred it every couple of minutes to prevent clumping) but, everything was ready for my salad. I already had the Romain in a big metal bowl and so I added my dressing, bacon bits, and a bunch of parmesan right in on top of it.

I left the salad in the bowl and went about finishing everything else.

7:37 pm – Spaghetti and Meat Sauce

Okay, at 7:37 the spaghetti was cooked so I drained it. After it was very well-drained I put some in a big bowl. I tasted the sauce and adjusted the seasoning with salt and pepper. Once the sauce was seasoned I took a big ladle full and poured it over my pasta. I topped the pasta with pepper and parmesan cheese.

Once the pasta was plated I took the garlic bread out of the oven. I sliced the two halves into three pieces. I put two pieces with my pasta, saved two pieces for my wife, and the other two I cut into croutons and tossed with the salad to finish.

I tossed the salad quickly and served it into bowls with a slice of lemon. Just like that dinner was done. The time was 7:39 pm.

Conclusion –

Once more I want to say that this would be better using two cans of tomato purée rather than one purée and one dice. Other than that this spaghetti and meat sauce was delicious. The salad was spot on and the garlic bread was delicious.

I hope that you enjoyed this post. The full, printable recipe is right below and remember to subscribe to the blog to never miss a post.

Spaghetti and Meat Sauce with Caesar Salad and Garlic Bread

This is a delicious meal that I was able to make in under 30 minutes.
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: 30 minute meals, Caesar Salad, Garlic Bread, Spaghetti and Meat Sauce,
Servings: 4 people
Author: Chef Ben Kelly


Pasta Sauce

  • 1 lb medium ground beef
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 sm red bell pepper, diced
  • 3 lg cremini mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 tbsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried chili flakes
  • 2 cans tomato purée
  • 1 tbsp canola oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • pasta

Caesar Salad Dressing

  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 2-3 drops fish sauce or Worcestershire Sauce
  • 2 tbsp grated parmesan cheese
  • pepper to taste

Garlic Bread

  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 ea baguette (I used gluten-free)

Caesar Salad

  • 1 head Romaine lettuce heart, cut/washed/and dried
  • 1 batch Caesar dressing
  • 1/3 ea toasted garlic baguette, cut into croutons
  • 2 tbsp grated parmesan
  • 2 ea lemon wedges
  • 1/2 lb bacon


Pasta sauce

  • Heat a large pot over medium high heat.
  • Add the canola oil and beef. Cook until browned.
  • Add the vegetables and spices and cook for three to four minutes.
  • Open the cans of tomato purée and pour them into the pot.
  • Stir well and season with salt and pepper.
  • Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes.
  • Check seasoning and adjust.
  • Serve over cooked pasta with parmesan cheese.

Caesar Salad

  • Dice the bacon.
  • Put the bacon in a warm skillet and cook over medium low heat until crispy stirring every few minutes.
  • Drain bacon on paper towel.
  • Combine dressing ingredients and mix well.
  • Toss the lettuce with the dressing, croutons, bacon bits, and parmesan.
  • Garnish with a lemon wedge.

Garlic Bread

  • Mix the butter and garlic together.
  • Slice a baguette lengthwise.
  • Spread the butter on the baguette and put in a 425°F oven for 10 minutes.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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