Our family is a big fan of lasagna. Just the mention of it and they are anxious for dinner! But what makes this amazingly good dish even better? You guessed it, homemade lasagna sauce. I get it that sometimes life is too busy to whip together homemade sauce. I don't judge and I won't tell your secret if you cheat from time to time. But I will tell you that if you take the time to make sauce rather then buying it, you will be amazed at how simple it really is.
It does take a little bit more time to make then opening a jar of sauce, but lasagna isn't a quick dish to make and it deserves a great sauce. I make my lasagna in the casserole crockpot and never boil the noodles so mine is pretty quick to assemble - I use regular noodles too, not the no boil ones. Here is my slow cooker lasagna recipe, I am sure you will love it! The casserole crockpot will probably become one of your favorite gadgets, I love mine! I use it for many things and lasagna takes about 3 hours on high without boiling the pasta first 🙂
As a note:
Please note that the homemade lasagna sauce here is best used with a crockpot recipe. If using it with a regular lasagna recipe, please do not use all of the sauce as it will make your lasagna very saucy. It is a little thinner then jarred sauce, tho it would be delicious as a spaghetti sauce as well. It needs to be thinner because it will be soaking into the noodles while it cooks them in the slow cooker. Remember I said I use regular noodles? Yes and they get an amazing flavor!
It also could use more sausage if you are using it as a regular sauce (not crockpot.) It will make approximately 52 ounces of sauce (not including sausage.) You can scale this down a bit as well to make less for a pasta sauce, but this is the amount you will use in the lasagna if using the crockpot.
Making the homemade lasagna sauce
This is really easy to make, just takes a little bit of time to simmer and get your flavor. There is two ways to do this. I prefer to cook the sausage separately and add it but you can also cook the sausage in the same pan. We cook the sausage in a separate pan because of the grease. The olive oil adds a great flavor to your sauce and I don't like the extra grease of the sausage in this.
Cooking the sausage in separate pan (recommended)
Add your olive oil and onion to a large pot. I use stainless steel, but it is your preference for cooking pans. Saute until the onions just start to become translucent. Add in your garlic and saute for about a minute. Cook your sausage in a separate pan while you are getting the sauce ready. Drain once cooked and add to your sauce at any point.
Pour your chicken broth, tomato puree and diced tomatoes. Add in your spices and if you haven't already, add in your sausage. Bring this all to a simmer and cook on low - medium low for about 1 and a half to 2 hours, stirring occasionally. You want it to be just at a low simmer. Your homemade lasagna sauce will be ready at this point - enjoy! Be sure to take out your bay leaf before using it in your lasagna or before serving if you are using it as a spaghetti sauce.
Cooking the sausage in the same pot
I would still use the olive oil because it adds a little bit of flavor, but it is optional since the sausage will add enough grease to cook along with the onions. In a large pot saute your sausage and when cooked drain well. Stir in the olive oil and onions. Cook until the onions start to become translucent. Add in garlic and cook for another minute.
The rest is the same as above. Add in the puree, tomatoes and chicken broth. You then add in the spices and simmer for about an hour and a half to 2 hours.
As a heads up, your kitchen will smell incredibly delicious for a couple hours and you may get hungry!
Homemade Lasagna Sauce
- 1 lb ground sausage
- 1 yellow onion large onion
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 2 Tbsp olive oil extra virgin
- 29 ounces tomato puree
- 14.5 ounces diced tomatoes with garlic, basil and oregano
- 1 cup chicken broth low sodium
- 1 Tbsp Italian seasoning
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp black pepper
- ½ tsp sugar
- ¼ tsp red pepper flakes
- 1 bay leaf
- We cook the sausage in a separate pan but you can do it in the same pan, just cook the sausage most of the way first and then drain. Follow the instructions from there. If cooking it separately, add the sausage to the sauce as soon as the sausage is cooked - preferably after the sauteing of the onions and garlic.
- Add the olive oil into the large pot. Allow to heat on medium for a minute. Add in the onions and cook for a few minutes, until they just start to become translucent.Stir in the garlic and cook for a minute.
- If you need to deglaze your pot, do so with a little of the chicken broth. Then add in the rest of the broth, tomato puree and diced tomatoes. Stir in the spices and bay leaf. Bring to a simmer on medium and drop the heat to low - medium low. Temperature depends on your stove. You want it to simmer gently. Simmer for 1½ - 2 hours. Remove bay leaf and your sauce will be ready for your lasagna.