Instant Pot Pasta Sauce for Cheaters

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Short and sweet, I’ve discovered a bullet proof recipe for pasta sauce. And by bullet proof I mean no matter what I do, the crowd goes wild, everyone cheers and the plates are as close to being licked clean as you can get. It’s bananas.

It’s also a little annoying because other times I put a lot of effort into a nice meal and for my troubles get a “meh, it’s ok”. You just can’t always know what works.

So what’s the secret to my success? My instant pot and my immersion blender. No joke, once I started blending the sauce it’s like the whole world flipped on it’s head. Seriously.


  • One 28 oz can of tomatoes
  • One can of tomato paste
  • One can of tomato sauce, whatever size you have
  • One or two onions
  • Italian seasoning or free blend of basil, oregano and bay leaves
  • Salt and pepper
  • One or two pounds of ground meat, Italian sausage without casing, chicken or turkey would probably work too.
  • Everything and anything in your fridge or freezer that can go in. Carrots, mushroom, peppers, zucchini, spinach, kale, tomatoes, leftover bits of pepperoni, salami, pesto, garlic. The more veggies the better

Here is what you do. Any of you frugal cooks are going to love this. Go to your fridge, pull out all of the vegetables that are in need of being used up. The sad, the wilted, the spinach on life support. You know what I mean. Also an onion.

Then, check your freezer. Freezer burn on that pack of hamburger? A bit of salami that you didn’t eat at Christmas and froze for pizzas that never got made. Forgotten pesto cubes, more spinach you froze to make smoothies, anything that could loosely pass for Italian and needs to go?

Toss the frozen meat in a chunk in the instant pot. Nobody will care. Throw in everything else than can go in as is, everything else, peel if necessary and chop. Toss it in. Lots of veggies to fill the pot up. Got a little bit of red wine on your counter because the bottle didn’t get finished? Dump it in.

Now, add a can each of tomatoes, tomato sauce and tomato paste. From your cupboard generously throw in some salt and pepper, garlic, oregano, basil, and bay leaves. Or, Italian seasoning. Give it all a bit of a stir, seal the instant pot and set it to manual for 60 minutes. Maybe less time would work but remember the frozen meat? It needs time.

Go do something else, an episode of NCIS, a walk, read a book, something just for you because your family will love this so much, they’ll think you slaved for hours. When the time is up, let it sit and cool on it’s own. No need to vent it early. At some point start cooking your pasta.

Eventually, open the instant pot, take your immersion blender and blend the whole chunky mess into a delightful red purée. It might need some more salt. Serve on top of pasta with a bit of Parmesan cheese and bask in their praises.

I’m not kidding. It’s that easy. Outside of the canned items it’s a new recipe every time. Easy, frugal, healthy and cleans up your fridge.

1 comments on “Instant Pot Pasta Sauce for Cheaters”

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