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15 Recipes with Meat Sauce (Use Up Leftover Meat Sauce)

Ah, meat sauce — the universal comfort food that, unbeknownst to many, is also a versatile canvas for a plethora of flavors and culinary possibilities. If you’re here, chances are you’re looking to innovate how you use up your leftover meat sauce. 

This comprehensive guide is your secret weapon, offering 15 delectable recipes with meat sauce that’ll transform your leftover homemade sauce into a masterpiece fit for any occasion. From breakfast to dinner, and even some unexpected treats in between, let’s dive into these kitchen adventures that’ll leave your taste buds dancing and your leftover meat sauce put to fantastic use.

Soups and Stews

Chili con Carne

Chili con carne, or just chili for short, is often made with beans that are stewed alongside the meat sauce. But for our case, we’ll be using up leftover meat sauce. We’ll be stewing the beans, diced tomatoes, and spices together with cumin, oregano, and smoky paprika, all the while reheating the meat sauce. Though, we’ll still cook it for a lengthy time to allow the flavors to meld well.

This is a hearty dish that’s perfect for lunch or dinner and can be served with your favorite toppings like cheese, sour cream, green onions, and a side of cornbread.

Have a peek at this Chili con Carne recipe

Beef Taco Tortilla Soup

Transform your meat sauce into a comforting soup by adding taco seasoning, tomatoes, corn, chiles, beans, cilantro, and chicken broth in a pot and simmer for 30 minutes to allow the flavors to incorporate well. The resulting dish is a hearty and nourishing bowl of goodness that’ll make you wish you had more leftover meat sauce for a bigger batch of soup.

Serve this taco tortilla soup with a bunch of fresh cilantro, tortilla chips (or nacho chips for added crunch), a dollop of sour cream, and grated cheese. You can also fully customize this by adding heat or vegetables.

Take a bash at this Beef Taco Tortilla Soup recipe

Pasta Dishes


Turn your leftover bolognese sauce into another Italian classic – lasagna. This recipe for extra meat sauce can be tweaked depending on the amount of your leftovers. Layer your bolognese sauce, lasagna sheets, and spinach leaves in a baking dish.

In a mixing bowl, combine cottage, ricotta, and shredded cheese. Season with cracked black pepper and a pinch of nutmeg, and combine thoroughly. Distribute the mixture over the lasagne sheets and sprinkle with the remaining grated cheese. If all goes swimmingly, you should be able to produce a delicious lasagna made with your leftover meat sauce.

Here’s that Lasagna with Bolognese sauce recipe you’ll be needing

Creamy Ground Beef Pasta

Got some bolognese stashed away in that freezer? It’s time to bring it out for this easy, creamy ground beef pasta recipe that’s just perfect at using up extra meat sauce.

Boil your pasta according to the package instructions and drain. Reheat your bolognese sauce, then stir in cream over low heat, season as needed, and toss together with the pasta. This is such an easy but delicious way of using up leftovers while having a completely new dish.

Try this Creamy Ground Beef Pasta recipe

Mac and Cheese with Bolognese topping

When looking for recipes to use up meat sauce, look no further than a basic mac and cheese recipe that you can serve with the leftover bolognese. This is a good mac and cheese recipe to start with, as it all comes together in one pan.

Simmer the milk and cook the macaroni. Once you’ve got the right firmness in your macaroni, turn off the heat. Add the butter, cheddar, and salt, and toss around until the cheese, butter, and hot milk turn into a thick sauce that coats the noodles. You can fold the meat sauce into the mac and cheese or serve on the side.

Check out this Mac and cheese with Bolognese topping here.


Stuffed Bell Peppers 

Stuffed bell peppers or chiles rellenos are another excellent recipe to use up your meat sauce with, as they become a tasty filling for the stuffed bell peppers. This traditional Mexican dish can be served with a side of Spanish rice, or if your meat sauce isn’t enough, stuff the rice in the bell peppers, too.

Roast the peppers, fill them with the meat sauce (and Spanish rice), and top with cheese. Bake until the peppers are tender, and the cheese is melted, creating a colorful and flavorful meal.

Check this Stuffed Bell Peppers recipe


Another great recipe to use up leftover bolognese sauce is in nachos. Whether serving it as a snack or appetizer, you can easily elevate your nacho game by drizzling leftover meat sauce over a mound of doritos or tortilla chips.

To create this dish, reheat your bolognese sauce and add some taco seasoning or cumin to give it better flavor. Top with shredded cheese, avo slices, black beans, olives, red peppers, or any other nacho favorites you desire like jalapeños, and sour cream. Pop it in the oven until the cheese is melted, and you’ve got a meaty, cheesy snack that’s perfect for sharing.

Why not try this Cheese and Leftover Bolognese Sauce recipe

‘Queso Fundido’

As far as meat sauce recipes go, they can even be used as the base of a traditional Mexican campfire food – queso fundido. We’re deviating a little bit from the authentic queso fundido, but trust me, it’ll rock your world.

In a skillet, reheat your meat sauce and season with chili powder, garlic powder, and cumin. In another pan, make a roux, then whisk in pepper jack and sharp cheddar cheese. In a deep dish, add the meat sauce and only a few scoops of the salsa (you can also just dice 2 tomatoes and add that instead) because the meat sauce is already tomatoey.

The key to making this recipe without turning it into a pink sauce is to place the meat sauce and tomatoes at the base, then pour the cheese sauce on top.

Try making this Queso Fundido recipe

Beefy-Tomato Poutine

Compared to the original Canadian dish of crisp potatoes doused in beefy gravy and cheese curds, Italian poutine is one of the better examples of how to use up meat sauce leftovers. It’s very easy to prepare too!

First, make sure you have some crispy golden fries, then add cheese curds. Pour reheated meat sauce over the cheese and fries and serve. It’s an absolutely divine dish that can go from an afternoon snack to party food in minutes.

You can use this Italian Poutine recipe

Beef, Tomato, and Rice Cabbage Roll ups with Tomato Soup

No picnic is complete without these amazing cabbage roll-ups! What’s even better is that you can upcycle leftover meat sauce by using it as filling for cabbage in this stuffed cabbage recipe.

Boil cabbages for 2 mins and drain, then separate the sauce from the meat in your leftover meat sauce. Mix cooked rice and the meatier part of the sauce, combine the liquid part with a can of diced tomatoes and simmer for 15-20 mins. Spoon them into a cabbage leaf and roll. Once done, place them in a slow cooker and pour over the liquid part of the sauce.

You can use this basic recipe for Cabbage Rolls

Meat Sauce-Loaded Baked Potatoes

Why not give baked potatoes a makeover by loading them up with meat sauce, cheese, and your favorite toppings. The result? A satisfying and filling dinner that’s easy to customize based on your preferences.

Bake the potatoes in an oven until tender. Once done, cut a cross on top to fill it with meat sauce. Top with cheese and pop it back in the oven. You can go the extra mile and add a dollop of sour cream, chives, and bacon bits for a restaurant-worthy dish.

This Baked Potatoes recipe will help

Breads, Sliders and Sandwiches

Bolognese Grilled Cheese Sandwich

When you’ve got a ton of leftover bolognese sauce from last night’s pasta dinner, why not use this recipe and give new life to its flavor while using it up at the same time.

The trick to this recipe is layering Parmigiano-Reggiano and mozzarella to achieve various flavors. Reggiano cheese lends that somewhat sharp but complex-tasting goodness – a mix of fruity and nuttiness to the cheese. Then, pick a good bread like rustic sourdough or pillowy potato bread, and butter up both sides of your bread to give it that extra dose of velvety luxury.

This is a delicious bolognese grilled cheese recipe if I must say so 

Sloppy Joe Sliders

You can give the classic Sloppy Joe a meat sauce twist simply by heating up your leftover meat sauce and adding a touch of ketchup, Worcestershire, and seasonings. Cut cheese slices into 4 and pile them onto soft mini hamburger buns, then top with cheese and heat on a griddle until the cheese is nice and melted. There you have it, an easy-peasy pile-it-on recipe for a quick, messy, delicious sandwich.

Give this Sloppy Joe Sliders recipe a try

Cheesy Beef Quesadilla

This easy lunch or dinner recipe is as quick as spreading leftover bolognese sauce over flour or corn tortillas, adding grated cheddar, mozzarella, Monterey jack cheese, or a combination of the three, folding them over (into a half moon), cooking them on a griddle,  then slicing into wedges for a satisfying meal.

Have a look at this Cheesy Beef Quesadillas recipe 

Bolognese Pizza

Take your homemade pizza to the next level by using meat sauce as the base. Spread it over the surface of your pizza dough in lieu of tomato sauce, sprinkle on your favorite toppings, and finish with a generous layer of cheese. Bake until the crust is golden and the cheese is bubbly, creating a pizza masterpiece that will satisfy your cravings while using up any meat sauce leftovers.

Give this Bolognese Pizza recipe a once over

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