This Greek meat sauce recipe is so flavorful. Filled with authentic spices that make this sauce authentic and delicious. 🍝
This Greek-style meat sauce recipe is more traditionally known as Makaronia Me Kima. This is a comforting sauce that I grew up with. It smells so good when it’s cooking, and it tastes even better over a bowl of spaghetti noodles. This meal is nostalgic, delicious, and hearty. It’s the perfect meal for any season, but especially when the weather starts to get cooler.
❤️ Why You’ll Love This Meat Sauce Recipe
- Quick: A good pasta sauce recipe doesn’t need to take forever, you can literally whip this one up in only 50 minutes
- Delicious: This flavorful meat sauce is so delicious. It is made with a ton of spices that pack a punch of flavor in every bite
- Comforting: Whether you grew up with a traditional Italian meat sauce, or a Greek sauce like this one, there’s nothing more nostalgic and comforting than a big bowl of spaghetti
Ground Beef – I used ground beef in this meat sauce, and it’s often the meat you’ll find in most meat sauces. Use lean or extra lean beef, so it’s less fatty. If you don’t eat red meat, you can swap the ground beef for something leaner like ground turkey or chicken, swap for lamb, or alternatively, you can swap it for Beyond Meat veggie ground if you want a vegetarian variation of this recipe
Kefalograviera Cheese – A Greek hard yellow cheese that’s a cross between Kefalotyri and Graviera. It has an intense flavor, is salty, and is made of sheep’s milk
👩🍳 How to Make Greek Meat Sauce
- Add olive oil to a large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion, carrot, and celery and cook until softened about 4-5 minutes. If you don’t have the veggies for mirepoix, you can swap them for other veggies like sweet peppers
- Stir in the ground beef, stirring occasionally to break up the meat, and cook for about 10-12 minutes until cooked through
- Pour in the red wine to deglaze the pan. Cook it for a few minutes until most of the wine has evaporated. Deglazing is a cooking technique that involves adding a liquid (like wine) to the pan to loosen the food particles at the bottom of the pan
- Stir in the garlic, spices (salt, pepper, cinnamon, cloves, dried basil, allspice) and bay leaves until incorporated. Next stir in the diced or whole tomatoes (if using whole tomatoes crush them up a bit when added to the pot), sugar, tomato paste, and water and bring to a boil. Once simmering, turn the heat to medium-low and let simmer with the lid on until the sauce has cooked down and most of the liquid has evaporated
- Near the end of the cooking time, cook the spaghetti noodles in salted water until al dente. Drain the noodles. Cooking in salt water flavors the noodles and also limits starch gelation
- Serve the spaghetti noodles in a bowl with a drizzle of olive oil and spoon the sauce overtop. Add grated parmesan or kefalograviera cheese and enjoy
🪄 Tips and Tricks
- Spices: The spices in this meat sauce are non-negotiables for an authentic Greek meat sauce, so don’t skip out on these
- Tomatoes: You can use fresh tomatoes or canned tomatoes in this recipe
- Cooking Time: Follow the recipe below, but there is no harm in cooking this meat sauce for longer. The longer usually the better. Feel free to cook longer on low to get this sauce even more flavorful
- Mirepoix: This is the mix of chopped onions, carrots, and celery that make a base for a lot of recipes. If you don’t have these three ingredients you can substitute (or add in) other veggies like sweet peppers
- Red Wine: If you don’t want to open a bottle of red wine, or don’t want to use alcohol (even though the alcohol contents burn off) you can use another liquid like beef broth instead
- Ground Beef: Swap for a leaner protein like ground chicken or turkey, or alternatively, use a plant-based ground meat substitute like Beyond Meat
- Pasta: Swap out the regular pasta noodles for gluten-free noodles to make this recipe gluten-free
🗒 Best served with
👝 How to Store Leftovers
Fridge: Store the leftover sauce and spaghetti noodles in an air-tight container in the fridge for 3-4 days.
Freeze: You can freeze leftover sauce (without noodles) in air-tight containers for up to 3 months.
🤔 Common Questions
Yes! You can totally freeze meat sauce safely. When you’re ready to eat it, take it out of the freezer into the fridge to thaw. Heat up on the stove over medium-low heat.
Italian guidelines recommend 60-100g of dried pasta per person. It’s easy to overcook pasta so even if it seems like too little, it probably isn’t.
Greek Meat Sauce Recipe (Makaronia Me Kima)
- 1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 white onions diced
- 1 carrot diced
- 2 celery stalks diced
- 800-900 g ground beef
- 3/4 cup red wine
- 4 garlic cloves minced
- 2 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp pepper
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp ground cloves
- 1 tbsp dried basil
- 3/4 tsp all spice
- 3 bay leaves
- 28 oz canned tomatoes diced or whole
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 cup water
- 1 package spaghetti noodles (454g package)
- olive oil
- grated parmesan or kefalograviera cheese
- Add olive oil to a large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion, carrot and celery and cook until softened, about 4-5 minutes.
- Stir in the ground beef, stirring occasionally to break up the meat and cook for about 10-12 minutes until cooked through.
- Pour in the red wine to deglaze the pan. Cook it for a few minutes until most of the wine has evaporated.
- Stir in the garlic, spices (salt, pepper, cinnamon, cloves, dried basil, all spice) and bay leaves until incorporated. Next stir in the diced or whole tomatoes (if using whole tomatoes crush them up a bit when added to the pot), sugar, tomato paste and water and bring to a boil. Once simmering, turn the heat to medium-low and let simmer with the lid on until the sauce has cooked down and most of the liquid has evaporated.
- Near the end of the cooking time, cook the spaghetti noodles in salted water until al dente. Drain the noodles.
- Serve the spaghetti noodles in bowl with a drizzle of olive oil and spoon the sauce overtop. Add grated parmesan or kefalograviera cheese and enjoy!
- Serve with Maroulosalata aka my Mama’s Salad for a delicious meal!
- If you don’t want to use red wine, you can try substituting with alcohol-free red wine or beef broth.