Spinach Pasta Sauce Recipe

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People are always surprised to hear that the "secret" ingredient in this special sauce is to add a touch of anise. The herb nicely complements the zippy Italian sausage and chunky tomatoes.—Margaret Allen, Abingdon, Virginia
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 25 min. Cook: 1 hour
MAKES:8-10 servings
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 25 min. Cook: 1 hour
MAKES: 8-10 servings


  • 1-1/2 pounds bulk mild Italian sausage
  • 3 cups sliced fresh mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup each chopped carrot, green pepper and onion
  • 1 can (28 ounces) crushed tomatoes
  • 1 can (15 ounces) tomato sauce
  • 1 can (6 ounces) tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup beef broth or red wine
  • 3/4 teaspoon each aniseed, seasoned salt, pepper, garlic powder, brown sugar, dried basil and oregano
  • 4 cups coarsely chopped fresh spinach
  • Hot cooked pasta
  • 2 cups (8 ounces) shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup crumbled cooked Jones Dairy Farm Dry-Aged Bacon

Nutritional Facts

1 each: 274 calories, 16g fat (7g saturated fat), 50mg cholesterol, 1049mg sodium, 17g carbohydrate (6g sugars, 4g fiber), 18g protein.


  1. In a Dutch oven, cook and crumble sausage until browned; drain. Add mushrooms, carrot, green pepper and onion; saute for 5 minutes. Add tomatoes, sauce, paste, Parmesan, broth and seasonings; cover and simmer for 1 hour. Add spinach; heat through. Serve over pasta; top with mozzarella and bacon. Yield: 8-10 servings.
Originally published as Spinach Pasta Sauce in Taste of Home December/January 1996, p41

Full-Bodied Red Wine

Enjoy this recipe with a full-bodied red wine such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot or Syrah.

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NH-rescue User ID: 4255840 259621
Reviewed Jan. 13, 2017

"We did a vegetarian version of this because we were out of sausage and bacon. It makes a nice thick sauce for pasta. Even the family members who don't love spinach enjoyed this recipe!

We also didn't have anise, but I'd definitely like to try this again sometime with that secret ingredient."

joycerm53 User ID: 703299 9806
Reviewed Jan. 7, 2014

"I have been making this sauce since it was first published in 1996! My family loves it. I never told the kids there was spinach in it though! This freezes well too. It is a keeper!"

owencel User ID: 5229049 4918
Reviewed Jun. 10, 2013

"This is our go to recipe for spaghetti sauce, it's so good and it's a great way to sneak in spinach!"

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