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This venison meat sauce is our go-to red sauce for pasta night! Ground venison, crushed tomatoes, and flavorful herbs combine in a simple sauce that’s perfect for pasta. As a bonus, it’s a great filling for things like lasagna or a simple pasta bake!
We’re always looking for recipes that use ground venison in our house. This homemade spaghetti sauce is one of those recipes! Simple ingredients combine to create a supremely flavorful sauce that’s as good on top of pasta as it is as vehicle for garlic bread.
Ingredients for this recipe
- Ground Venison – of course you can use ground beef if that’s all you have or you’re not a fan of venison.
- Garlic – feel free to use more than the recipe calls for. Really “Godfather” it up!
- Crushed Tomatoes
- Tomato Paste – this adds such a rich flavor!
- Kosher Salt – always kosher salt. Always to taste.
- Sugar – to cut the acid in the tomatoes.
- Italian Seasoning
- Dried Oregano
- Ground Cinnamon – just trust me!
- Fresh Basil – dried works too.
- Butter – for some much-needed fat and richness in the sauce.
This sauce is very similar to the filling of my momma’s lasagna recipe, so you’ll notice a lot of familiar flavors and techniques. The main difference is that the ground venison is really the star of the show here and we aren’t going to mix is with anything like ground pork or Italian sausage. This is all about showcasing the flavors of fresh deer venison!
How to make ground venison spaghetti sauce
- Sauté the onion and garlic. In a bit of olive oil.
- Add the ground venison. And cook until browned. Since venison is such a lean meat, you won’t have to drain the fat after this step!
- Add the tomatoes. Two large cans of crushed tomatoes and the tomato paste.
- Add the spices and seasoning. Classic Italian seasoning, ground cinnamon, and dried oregano. Plus sugar to cut the acid. Stir it all together, now.
- Stir in the butter. And enjoy that melty goodness.
- Sprinkle with fresh basil. If using dried, feel free to add it in with the other dried seasoning.
- This homemade spaghetti sauce recipe can totally be made with beef, if that’s what you have. Just note, you’ll have to drain the fat after browning it!
- Add extra veggies like carrots or bell peppers in with the onions, if desired.
- My mom always adds fresh mushrooms to her meat sauce, and you can too! Brown them in a separate pan and stir in with the fresh basil at the end of cooking.
- If you have homemade or regular tomato sauce you can use it in place of the crushed tomatoes to excellent results!
Freezing homemade pasta sauce
Leftover meat sauce can be kept in the fridge for up to four days, or frozen for longer. Put the leftover sauce in a freezer-safe, zip-top bag, write the date on it, and lay flat in the freezer for up to six months.
Other great ground venison recipes
- Ground Venison Stroganoff
- Venison Meatballs (and Meatball Sliders!)
- Korean-Inspired Venison
- Cheesy Venison Enchiladas
Watch the recipe video!
Venison Meat Sauce
- Large Dutch Oven
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 large white onion diced
- Kosher salt to taste
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 2 pounds ground venison
- 56 ounces crushed tomatoes from 2-28 ounce cans
- 6 ounces tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 tsp. Italian seasoning
- ½ tsp. dried oregano
- ¼ tsp. ground cinnamon
- ½ cup salted butter
- ½ cup fresh basil leaves torn
- Place a large Dutch oven over medium heat and drizzle in the olive oil. Add the onions and sprinkle with kosher salt, stirring to coat. Cook the onions until they begin to become soft and translucent, about 4 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute more.
- Add the ground venison and more kosher salt, to taste. Cook the venison until well browned.
- Add the crushed tomatoes and tomato paste to the pot. Then stir in the sugar, Italian seasoning, dried oregano, and cinnamon. Finally, stir in the butter and cook until it is completely melted.
- Taste the sauce and season with additional kosher salt, if necessary. Stir in fresh basil leaves.
- Serve sauce with your favorite pasta and big slices of garlic bread.
- Leftover sauce can be kept in the refrigerator for up to four days or frozen for up to six months.