Grandma Olga’s Hungarian Tomato Sauce and Meatballs

I’m always a fan of making a homemade tomato sauce. It’s the perfect time to sip some wine and open the doors to the recipes of our past. My boyfriend’s grandmother made an authentic tomato sauce filled with a mix of unique flavors and ingredients. We were hoping that with a little love and luck, we could re-create that reminiscent flavor of a different time.

Let’s begin, shall we 🙂

Cook Time: 2-3 Hours

Servings: A lot! This is the recipe you jar so you don’t have to buy store bought.

1 cup onion finely chopped

1 cup green pepper finely chopped

1 bunch of parsley finely chopped

1 large clove of garlic chopped

3 tablespoons fresh basil chopped or 1 teaspoon dry

6 pack of cambell’s small tomato juice cans 5.5 oz each

3 cans of tomato sauce 15 oz

1 small can tomato paste

3/4 cup of water

2-3 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon fennel seed

1 teaspoon celery seed

1/4 teaspoon chili powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon oregano

1 large bay leaf (remove when done)

Tablespoon of butter


In a LARGE sauce pan on med. heat add your butter. Once heated and bubbly add in your onion and green bell pepper. Saute in the butter. Next add in your dry seasonings, fennel seed, celery seed, chili powder, salt, oregano, and stir together. If using dried basil add here.

Let the onions and pepper cook down until they are translucent and golden. Throw in the garlic, chopped basil, parsley, and stir. Then you will add in the small can of tomato paste and 3/4 of water stirring and blending with all the other ingredients.

Next, you are ready to add in the remaining cans of tomato sauce and tomato juice stirring.

Add in the bay leaf and 2-3 tablespoons of sugar.

Bring to a boil on medium heat, then set down to low. Cover with a lid and simmer for 3 hours 🙂

Moving on to Olga’s Meatballs 🙂

These are fabulous and super easy to make!


1/2 lb Ground Meat

1/2 lb Ground Italian Sausage

Pinch of Salt

1 clove of garlic finely chopped

1 small onion finely chopped

1/2 cup of bread crumbs

1 tablespoon fresh basil finely chopped

1 tablespoon parsley finely chopped

1/4 teaspoon oregano

1/2 tablespoon parmesan cheese

1 egg

First, combine your meat together in a bowl. Then just toss in the remaining ingredients.

Now it’s time to get those hands dirty and dig in. You want to make sure all of the ingredients are fully combined.

Now for the fun part…grab a non-stick pan and roll into little bite size balls.

These are ready to go into a preheated oven on 350 degrees for 25 minutes.

When they are done they will look like this…

The tomato sauce recipe makes about a month’s worth so for tonight’s dinner you will just be using a portion of the sauce. Store the rest in your fridge or freezer.

Boil a half bag of spaghetti in a separate pot. Drain and put back into the same pot. Spoon in some of your homemade sauce. Add in all the meatballs. Stir together on low heat for 3-5 minutes than 😉

There is plenty of extra sauce to spoon on top…

So did we nail it or what?

The survey said Yes! It was the same smell and taste Tony remembered growing up. I guess we did good 😉

This was an absolutely delicious sauce with some unexpected stand out flavors of fennel and chili powder, yummy! I was craving a different kind of tomato sauce and I just love the sweet and savory side of this one 😉  If you are looking for a family favorite or perhaps some new ingredients to inspire your own homemade sauce, this is a great place to begin…

Thanks Grandma Olga!

God Bless,

~ amy


2 thoughts on “Grandma Olga’s Hungarian Tomato Sauce and Meatballs

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