Red Pepper-Tomato Spaghetti Sauce

Guys I think I've truly been converted to spaghetti sauce after trying this recipe. I have a favorite red pepper alfredo sauce on this blog so I knew I needed to try a tomato version. Red pepper just gives sauces so much flavor. It's one of my favorite "secret" ingredients!
The best part is you blend the red pepper so you barely even know it's there. I love the addition of balsamic vinegar as well. It just gives it that little extra something.
If you need a quick and easy, but delicious meal for summer, than this is it! Add some homemade garlic bread on the side and you've got yourself a perfect meal.

Red Pepper-Tomato Spaghetti Sauce
Adapted from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe
1/2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 cup onion, chopped and divided
2 1/2 tsp. garlic, finely minced
1 lb. lean ground beef or lean ground turkey
1 red bell pepper, seeded, cored and coarsely chopped
6 oz. tomato paste
1/2 tsp. coarse kosher salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1 1/2 tsp. dried basil
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1 (1/4 oz.) can diced tomatoes
1 (28 oz.) can crushed tomatoes
4 oz. mushrooms, chopped (optional)
3/4 cup beef broth
1 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar

1. In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add 1/2 cup of the chopped onions. Sauté until translucent and slightly browned, 3-4 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring constantly for a minute or so.
2. Add beef or turkey and cook, breaking into small pieces, until it is no longer pink, 6-7 minutes. Drain excess grease, if needed.
3. In a blender or food processor, blend remaining 1/2 cup onion and the red pepper until smooth. Pour the mixture into the pot with the beef and onions.
4. Add the tomato paste, salt, pepper, oregano, basil and thyme and cook for 1 minute, stirring until combined.
5. Add diced tomatoes, crushed tomatoes, mushrooms (if using), beef broth and sugar. Stir until combined.
6. Bring the sauce to a boil and then reduce to low and simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Stir in the balsamic vinegar and let the sauce rest for 10-15 minutes before serving for the flavors to absorb.

*If freezing, let the sauce cool completely and then pour into quart-sized freezer bags. Lay bags flat on a cookie sheet in an even layer and freeze completely before stacking them in the freezer.


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