Dairy Farmers of Canada

Veggie-Packed Spaghetti Meat Sauce

Our dietitians' favourite

Making your own spaghetti sauce allows you to squeeze in extra vegetables and the goodness of milk. Just as in a traditional Bolognese sauce, the milk is simmered into the beef, adding extra moisture. This recipe also provides the four food groups in a family-favourite meal.

  • Prep: 15 min
  • Cooking: 25 min - 30 min
Yields 4 servings
veggie packed spaghetti meat sauce


  • 12 oz (375 g) extra-lean ground beef
  • 2 carrots chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 small onion chopped
  • 1 small zucchini chopped
  • 2 tbsp (30 mL) dried Italian herb seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp (2 mL) pepper
  • 2 cups (500 mL) milk
  • 3/4 cup (175 mL) unsweetened canned pumpkin purée
  • 2 cups (500 mL) canned crushed tomatoes
  • 1 Pack (340 g) whole wheat spaghetti
  • 1/3 cup (75 mL) grated Canadian Parmesan cheese divided
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In a large pot over high heat, cook ground beef, breaking up beef with a spoon, for about 5 min or until beef is browned. Spoon off any fat. Add carrots, garlic, onion, zucchini, herb seasoning and pepper to pot and sauté for about 8 min or until onion is softened.

Gradually stir in milk; bring to a boil, stirring often. Boil, stirring often, for about 5 min or until about half of the milk is absorbed. Stir in pumpkin purée until blended, then tomatoes; reduce heat and boil gently, stirring often, for 5 to 10 min or until sauce is thick and flavourful.

Meanwhile, in a large pot of boiling water, cook spaghetti for about 10 min or until tender (or according to package directions). Drain well.

Stir half of the Canadian Parmesan cheese into sauce. Divide spaghetti among serving bowls and spoon sauce over top. Serve sprinkled with remaining cheese.


If you have picky eaters in your family and prefer smaller pieces of vegetables that blend into the sauce, use the coarse side of a box cheese grater to grate the carrots, onion and zucchini, or use a food processor for an even faster preparation.

Pumpkin purée helps thicken the sauce and adds extra nutrients. Be sure to buy the unsweetened purée and not the sweetened, spiced pie filling. You can also cook and mash fresh pumpkin when it’s in season. Be sure to use the small, sweet “pie pumpkins” or “cooking pumpkins” rather than the large ones sold for Jack o’ lanterns. Extra purée can be used in muffins, quick breads or frozen for later use.

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Nutritional information

Per serving
Energy: 596 Calories
Protein: 44 g
Carbohydrate: 90 g
Fat: 10 g
Fibre: 12.6 g
Sodium: 441 mg

Top 5 Nutrients

(% DV*)
Calcium: 35 % / 386 mg
Magnesium: 85 %
Vitamin A: 75 %
Vitamin B12: 143 %
Zinc: 93 %