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A skillet of marinara sauce with ground beef, topped with fresh herbs.

Super Easy Marinara Sauce with Ground Beef {paleo + whole30}

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  • Author: Nyssa Tanner
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: about 6 servings 1x
  • Diet: Gluten Free


This easy marinara sauce with ground beef is a healthy, short cut version of a classic full flavored Italian meat sauce that is ready in 30 minutes flat! All the flavor with minimal effort for an easy protein rich addition to any meal. Makes 4 generous cups of sauce, which is the perfect amount for one pound of pasta. Gluten free, paleo, and whole30 compatible.


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil 
  • 1 medium onion, diced small
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 34 cloves of garlic, minced 
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano 
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil 
  • Pinch of chili flakes (optional)
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 25 oz jar marinara sauce
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Cook aromatics. Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Add diced onion with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes, until onions are soft and starting to caramelize. Add garlic and dried spices – oregano, basil, and dried chili if using, and cook for another minute or so, until spices are fragrant. 
  2. Add ground beef. Move onions to the side of the pan and add ground beef, pressing into a thin layer. Season with 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Cook, breaking up meat and stirring in onions and garlic, until meat is cooked through and the extra moisture has evaporated, about 5 minutes. 
  3. Add marinara sauce and finish the sauce. Add marinara sauce and red wine vinegar and stir to combine. Bring to a simmer and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until sauce is reduced slightly, and flavors have married.
  4. Serve and enjoy! Taste and season with salt and pepper if desired. Serve over your favorite pasta, lasagna, ravioli, roasted sweet potatoes, spaghetti squash, greens, or spiralized veggie noodles.


This recipe makes 4 generous cups of sauce, which is the perfect amount for 1 pound of pasta.

If you want to make a larger quantity for meal prep or to store some in the freezer, all you have to do is double or triple the recipe! There is a button on the recipe card above that allows you to easily 2x or 3x the ingredient quantities. If doubling or tripling the recipe I would suggest using a 5 or 6 quart dutch oven instead of a large skillet.

To reheat: This sauce can easily be re-heated in the microwave or over low heat on the stove top in a skillet.

To store in the refrigerator: Allow it to cool completely and transfer to an air tight container before moving to the fridge. It should keep for up to 4-5 days.

To freeze: Allow to cool completely and then transfer to an airtight container. Freeze for up to 4 months. To thaw, move to the refrigerator overnight before reheating.

  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Category: Sauce
  • Method: Stove top
  • Cuisine: Italian