Spaghetti dish full of flavor without onion and garlic

Can you make a quick spaghetti sauce worth eating without using onion or garlic? For years I've been telling desperate cooks all over the country to grab a jar of spaghetti sauce and pump up the flavor with chopped onion, a good dose of garlic and a pound of extra lean ground beef. Even a budget brand is elevated by these additions.

A friend who can't eat lots of onions and garlic challenged me to make a meat sauce that would be high on flavor but low on stomach upset, given her dietary restrictions.

I started with a jar of vodka sauce because the garlic and onion are background flavors. Then I added both sweet Italian sausage and ground beef. For vegetable texture I added sliced carrots. Sweet basil adds the freshness I thought I'd miss without garlic.

The sauce is delicious. Even this onion-and-garlic-loving girl wanted seconds.

It'll be tempting to not add onions and garlic - even when I'm not cooking for my friend. Of course, I'll remember how much I loved the unique flavor of this Carrot-Basil Spaghetti Meat Sauce and just enjoy!

Suggested menu:

Carrot-Basil Spaghetti Meat Sauce

Torn romaine with tomatoes, oil and vinegar

Italian rolls

• You can email Alicia Ross at


Carrot-Basil Spaghetti Meat Sauce

How can you beef up a jar of spaghetti sauce? Add chopped onion, a good dose of garlic and a pound of extra lean ground beef. Can't handle onions or garlic? Try chopped carrot and fresh basil. Even a budget brand is elevated by the additions. Courtesy of Alicia Ross
Article Comments
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the "flag" link in the lower-right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.