School Cafeteria Spaghetti & Meat Sauce

School Cafeteria Spaghetti & Meat Sauce Recipe – quick and easy homemade spaghetti sauce that is a childhood lunchroom favorite. Ground beef, onion, garlic, tomato paste, tomatoes, water, basil, oregano, marjoram, thyme, salt, pepper, and spaghetti. SO simple and super delicious. Ready to eat in 30 minutes. I am pretty sure my lunchroom never served something so yummy! Serve with a salad and some garlic bread for a meal the whole family will enjoy.

plate of spaghetti with rolls and salad

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School Lunch Spaghetti Sauce

Spaghetti night is one of our favorite nights at our house. I came across this Spaghetti and Meat Sauce recipe in my government school cafeteria cookbook and couldn’t resist giving it a try. Ground beef, onion, garlic, tomato paste, tomatoes, water, basil, oregano, marjoram, thyme, salt & pepper, and spaghetti. SO simple and tastes great. I am pretty sure my lunchroom never served something this delicious! This is definitely going into the dinner rotation.

skillet of meat sauce

How to Make School Lunch Cafeteria Spaghetti & Meat Sauce

This sauce is very easy to make with a few simple ingredients. Start with browning ground beef in a large skillet. Drain fat. Add dried minced onion, garlic powder, salt, pepper, canned tomatoes, tomato paste, water, basil, oregano, marjoram, and thyme. Bring the sauce to a boil and simmer for 30 to 45 minutes. Cook spaghetti according to package directions. Drain and toss with sauce.

  • Can substitute ground turkey or Italian sausage for ground beef.
  • You can use the sauce on any pasta that you have on hand.
  • If you don’t have marjoram on hand, you can substitute oregano.
  • I crush the whole tomatoes with my hands before adding them to the skillet. You can also break them up with a spoon or spatula.
  • This recipe uses 15 tablespoons of tomato paste. One 6-oz can has 10 tablespoons in it, so you will need 1 ½ cans of tomato paste. You can also weigh the tomato paste on a kitchen scale. You will need 9-oz for this recipe.
  • Is spaghetti sauce gluten-free? Yes. All of the ingredients in the sauce are gluten-free.
  • Can Lunchroom Spaghetti Sauce be made in the slow cooker? Yes. Brown the ground beef and place all of the ingredients in the crockpot. Cook on LOW for 6 to 8 hours.
  • Can Spaghetti Sauce be frozen? Yes! Cook the sauce and let it cool completely. Transfer the sauce to plastic containers or freezer bags and freeze.

Fresh or Dried Herbs

I used dried herbs in this spaghetti sauce, but you can use fresh if you prefer.

Dried herbs are more potent and concentrated than fresh herbs, therefore you need less. To convert fresh herbs to dry, use the ratio of one tablespoon of fresh herbs to one teaspoon of dried herbs.

plate of spaghetti with rolls and salad

What to Serve with Spaghetti

This spaghetti was surprisingly delicious. We’ve made this several times and really enjoy it! The flavor in the sauce is amazing! Just as good as any restaurant. I topped the spaghetti with some parmesan cheese and fresh basil before plating.

We like to serve this pasta with a salad and some rolls. It is also great with green beans and garlic bread. Here are a few of our favorite recipes from the blog that go great with this pasta:

Garlic Parmesan Skillet Bread

Garlic Parmesan Skillet Bread – refrigerated biscuits chopped and tossed in butter, garlic, italian seasoning and parmesan cheese. Baked in…

Creamy Italiano Salad

Creamy Italiano Salad – our favorite salad!!! Romaine, tomatoes, thinly sliced seedless cucumbers, sliced banana peppers, croutons, parmesan cheese, and…

Italian Green Bean Salad

Italian Green Bean Salad – quick and delicious side dish! Green beans, tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, prosciutto, and mozzarella tossed…

plate of spaghetti with rolls and salad

School Cafeteria Spaghetti & Meat Sauce

Yield: 8 people
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 40 mins
School Cafeteria Spaghetti & Meat Sauce Recipe – quick and easy homemade spaghetti sauce that is a childhood lunchroom favorite. Ground beef, onion, garlic, tomato paste, tomatoes, water, basil, oregano, marjoram, thyme, salt, pepper, and spaghetti. SO simple and super delicious. Ready to eat in 30 minutes. I am pretty sure my lunchroom never served something so yummy! Serve with a salad and some garlic bread for a meal the whole family will enjoy.

Ingredients:

  • lb lean ground beef
  • 2 Tbsp dried minced onions
  • tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 (28-oz) can whole tomatoes, undrained
  • (6-oz) cans tomato paste
  • 2 cups water
  • 4 tsp dried basil
  • 4 tsp dried oregano
  • tsp dried marjoram
  • tsp dried thyme
  • 1 lb spaghetti, cooked

Instructions:

  • In a large skillet, brown ground beef. Drain fat.
  • Add onion, garlic, black pepper, tomatoes, tomato paste, water, basil, oregano, marjoram, and thyme. Break up whole tomatoes with spoon.
  • Bring to a boil and simmer for 30 to 45 minutes.
  • Add cooked spaghetti to the skillet and toss to coat.

Notes:

  • Can substitute ground turkey or Italian sausage for ground beef.
  • You can use the sauce on any pasta that you have on hand.
  • If you don’t have marjoram on hand, you can substitute oregano.
  • I crush the whole tomatoes with my hands before adding them to the skillet. You can also break them up with a spoon or spatula.
  • I used dried herbs in this spaghetti sauce, but you can use fresh if you prefer. Dried herbs are more potent and concentrated than fresh herbs, therefore you need less. To convert fresh herbs to dry, use the ratio of one tablespoon of fresh herbs to one teaspoon of dried herbs.
  • This recipe uses 15 tablespoons of tomato paste. One 6-oz can has 10 tablespoons in it, so you will need 1 ½ cans of tomato paste. You can also weigh the tomato paste on a kitchen scale. You will need 9-oz for this recipe.
  • Is spaghetti sauce gluten-free? Yes. All of the ingredients in the sauce are gluten-free.
  • Can Lunchroom Spaghetti Sauce be made in the slow cooker? Yes. Brown the ground beef and place all of the ingredients in the crockpot. Cook on LOW for 6 to 8 hours.
  • Can Spaghetti Sauce be frozen? Yes! Cook the sauce and let it cool completely. Transfer the sauce to plastic containers or freezer bags and freeze.

Steph

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spaghetti & meat sauce in a skillet
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