This pasta sauce is one of my mom’s favorite go-to recipes for a quick dinner that will have leftovers for meals later in the week. It’s a simple way to transform jarred marinara sauce into a delicious meal that tastes entirely homemade. She has been making this sauce for as long as I can remember, and we never seem to get tired of it.
Topping some pasta with this sauce creates a well balanced meal that can be conveniently served in one bowl. Using whole wheat pasta as the base is an easy way to incorporate whole grains into your diet. The jarred sauce itself is full of all kinds of vitamins, including C, E, K, and B6. The ground turkey is low in fat and very high in protein, meaning you’ll stay full for longer. Plus, the addition of the zucchini provides both Vitamin C and fiber.
Emily and I have played with this recipe by adding some fresh basil and red pepper flakes to make it even more flavorful. Once the sauce has simmered on the stove top for a few minutes, all the flavors combine to create a healthy, hearty, and slightly spicy meal. I hope you enjoy it!
Mom’s Pasta Sauce
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 pound ground turkey
- 2-3 medium zucchini squash, sliced
- 1/2 onion, any variety, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
- 1 – 2 jars of your favorite pasta sauce (the amount depends on how thick you want the sauce–I used one in the photo)
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon granulated garlic
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (can use more or less depending on desired spiciness)
- About 15 fresh basil leaves, chopped
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Cooked whole wheat pasta
Preheat about 2 tablespoons olive oil a large skillet over medium heat. Add the ground turkey and cook through, using a wooden spoon to break it up. In the meantime, preheat about 1 tablespoon olive oil in another large skillet over medium heat. Add the zucchini, garlic, and onions, cooking until just tender. Add the cooked ground turkey and tomato sauce to the vegetables. Season with dried oregano, granulated garlic, dried basil, and red pepper flakes and stir to combine. Allow the sauce to simmer on low for as long as possible ( longer is better to maximize flavor development). Add the fresh basil during the last 5 minutes or so of cooking. Serve hot over a bowl of pasta.