Somali Spaghetti Sauce Recipe

Experience the taste of East Africa with this savory Somali Spaghetti Sauce recipe. Infused with rich spices and hearty vegetables, this sauce is the perfect blend of traditional Somali cooking and comfort food. It's not just a plateful of spaghetti; it's a cultural experience that brings the warmth of Somalia right to your dinner table.

Somali Spaghetti Sauce Recipe

Photos of Somali Spaghetti Sauce Recipe

The primary ingredients that may not be commonly found in most households are cumin seeds and Himalayan pink salt. These are crucial for the authentic Somali flavor. Cumin seeds are a popular spice in many cuisines around the world and have a strong, spicy-sweet flavor. Meanwhile, Himalayan pink salt is a pure, hand-mined salt that is derived from ancient sea salt deposits. If you don't have these ingredients at home, they can easily be found in the spice aisle of your local supermarket or in specialty spice shops.

Essential Ingredients for the Somali Spaghetti Sauce

Fresh cilantro: This herb introduces a fresh, citrusy flavor that complements the robustness of the other spices.

Garlic: A staple in many cuisines, garlic adds a spicy flavor that infuses into the sauce.

Cumin seeds: These add an earthy and warming flavor to the sauce.

Himalayan pink salt: It enhances the overall taste of the sauce by adding a subtle complexity to its flavor profile.

Turmeric: This spice lends a warm, bitter taste and a vibrant golden color to the sauce.

Paprika: It gives a sweet-peppery flavor and adds a rich, red color to the dish.

Italian seasoning: A mix of dried herbs that commonly includes basil, oregano, rosemary, and thyme to add depth of flavor.

Salt-free seasoning blend: It adds additional layers of flavor without increasing the sodium content.

Ground black pepper: Adds a spicy kick to balance the overall flavor.

Olive oil: Used for sautéing, it imparts a distinct, fruity flavor to the sauce.

Ground beef: Adds a rich, meaty flavor that makes this sauce hearty and filling.

Onion: It contributes a sweet and savory depth to the sauce.

Potato: Adds texture and starchiness, helping to thicken the sauce.

Carrots: They sweeten the sauce while also adding a bit of crunch for texture.

Tomatoes: They create the base of the sauce with their tangy and sweet flavor.

Water: Used to thin the sauce to your desired consistency.

Angel hair pasta: A thin, delicate pasta that pairs well with the robust sauce.

One reader, Freida Ashcraft says:

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This Somali spaghetti sauce recipe is a game-changer! The blend of spices creates an explosion of flavors, and the addition of potatoes and carrots adds a unique twist. It's a delightful fusion of Somali and Italian cuisine. I highly recommend trying it for a delicious and satisfying meal.

Freida Ashcraft

Techniques Required for Making Somali Spaghetti Sauce

Pulse the cilantro and garlic in a food processor: This step involves using a food processor to finely chop the cilantro and garlic to incorporate them into the sauce.

Toast and grind the cumin seeds: This step requires toasting the cumin seeds in a pot until fragrant, allowing them to cool, and then grinding them into a powder to enhance their flavor in the sauce.

Make the seasoning mix: Combine the ground cumin with Himalayan pink salt, turmeric, paprika, Italian seasoning, seasoning blend, and black pepper to create a flavorful seasoning mix for the sauce.

Cook and stir the ground beef: This involves browning the ground beef in a pot and incorporating half of the seasoning mix to flavor the meat.

Simmer the sauce: After adding the tomatoes and cilantro-garlic mixture to the pot, the sauce should be simmered for 30 to 40 minutes to allow the flavors to meld together.

Cook the angel hair pasta: Boil the pasta in lightly salted water for 4 to 5 minutes until it is tender yet firm to the bite. Drain and serve with the sauce.

How To Make Somali Spaghetti Sauce

Ground beef, tomatoes, potatoes, and carrots are combined for a tangy, rich in spices, and loaded Somali-style spaghetti sauce!

Preparation: 30 minutes
Cooking: 59 minutes
Total: 1 hour 29 minutes



  • 2tbspfresh cilantro,chopped
  • 4garlic cloves
  • 1tspcumin seeds
  • 1tspHimalayan pink salt
  • 1tspground turmeric
  • 1tsppaprika
  • 1tspItalian seasoning
  • 1tspsalt free seasoning blend,such as Mrs. Dash®
  • ½tspground black pepper
  • ¼cupolive oil
  • 1lblean ground beef
  • 1onion,diced
  • 1large potato,peeled, cubed
  • 2carrots,diced
  • 14oztomatoes,(2 cans), diced
  • 2tbspwater,or to taste
  • 16ozangel hair pasta,(1 package)


  1. Place the cilantro and garlic in a food processor, then pulse until finely chopped.

  2. Toast the cumin seeds in a small pot over low heat for 2 to 3 minutes until fragrant.

  3. Allow to cool for 5 minutes, then grind into a powder.

  4. Transfer the ground cumin to a small bowl. Add the Himalayan pink salt, turmeric, paprika, Italian seasoning, seasoning blend, and black pepper to make the seasoning mix.

  5. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the ground beef, then cook and stir for about 5 minutes until browned. Stir in ½ of the seasoning mix. Add the onion, then cook and stir for about 5 minutes until softened.

  6. Add the potato and carrots. Cook, covered, stirring occasionally for about 5 minutes until slightly softened.

  7. Stir the tomatoes into the pot and bring sauce to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low, stir in cilantro-garlic mixture and the remaining seasoning mix.

  8. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for 30 to 40 minutes until flavors combine. Thin the sauce with water if it seems too thick.

  9. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook the angel hair in boiling water, stirring occasionally for 4 to 5 minutes until tender yet firm to the bite. Drain.

  10. Serve sauce over pasta and enjoy.


  • Calories: 636.70kcal
  • Fat: 25.71g
  • Saturated Fat: 7.27g
  • Trans Fat: 0.89g
  • Monounsaturated Fat: 13.48g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat: 1.93g
  • Carbohydrates: 75.42g
  • Fiber: 5.96g
  • Sugar: 6.18g
  • Protein: 25.44g
  • Cholesterol: 53.68mg
  • Sodium: 465.92mg
  • Calcium: 70.77mg
  • Potassium: 924.81mg
  • Iron: 4.21mg
  • Vitamin A: 212.08µg
  • Vitamin C: 24.78mg

Technique Tip for Perfecting Somali Spaghetti Sauce

When toasting your cumin seeds, it's important to keep a close eye on them. They can go from toasted to burnt very quickly. The moment you start smelling a warm, nutty aroma, they're done. This will enhance the flavor of the seeds and give your Somali spaghetti sauce a deeper, more complex taste.

Time-Saving Tips for Preparing Somali Spaghetti Sauce

Prep ahead: Chop and measure all ingredients in advance to streamline the cooking process.

One-pot wonder: Opt for recipes that allow you to cook everything in a single pot or pan to minimize cleanup.

Time-saving tools: Utilize kitchen gadgets like food processors and mandolines to speed up prep work.

Batch cooking: Make a larger quantity of the sauce and freeze the extra portions for future quick and easy meals.

Efficient organization: Arrange your workspace with all necessary ingredients and tools within reach to avoid unnecessary back-and-forth.

Substitute Ingredients For Somali Spaghetti Sauce Recipe

  • fresh cilantro - Substitute with fresh parsley: Parsley has a similar fresh and slightly peppery flavor to cilantro, making it a good substitute in this recipe.

  • cumin seeds - Substitute with ground cumin: Ground cumin can be used as a substitute for cumin seeds, providing the same earthy and nutty flavor to the dish.

  • himalayan pink salt - Substitute with sea salt: Sea salt can be used as a substitute for Himalayan pink salt, providing a similar level of saltiness to the dish.

  • ground turmeric - Substitute with ground ginger: Ground ginger can be used as a substitute for turmeric, providing a warm and slightly spicy flavor to the dish.

  • paprika - Substitute with smoked paprika: Smoked paprika can be used as a substitute for regular paprika, adding a smoky flavor to the dish.

  • italian seasoning - Substitute with dried oregano: Dried oregano can be used as a substitute for Italian seasoning, providing a similar herbaceous flavor to the dish.

  • salt free seasoning blend - Substitute with garlic powder and onion powder: A blend of garlic powder and onion powder can be used as a substitute for salt-free seasoning blend, adding savory flavors to the dish without the salt.

  • olive oil - Substitute with avocado oil: Avocado oil can be used as a substitute for olive oil, providing a mild and buttery flavor to the dish.

  • lean ground beef - Substitute with ground turkey: Ground turkey can be used as a lean alternative to ground beef in this recipe.

  • onion - Substitute with shallots: Shallots can be used as a substitute for onions, providing a milder and sweeter flavor to the dish.

  • potato - Substitute with sweet potato: Sweet potatoes can be used as a substitute for regular potatoes, adding a slightly sweet and earthy flavor to the dish.

  • carrots - Substitute with bell peppers: Bell peppers can be used as a substitute for carrots, adding a crunchy texture and sweet flavor to the dish.

  • tomatoes - Substitute with canned diced tomatoes: Canned diced tomatoes can be used as a substitute for fresh tomatoes, providing a similar tomato flavor and texture to the dish.

  • angel hair pasta - Substitute with spaghetti: Spaghetti can be used as a substitute for angel hair pasta, providing a similar long and thin pasta shape.

Presenting Somali Spaghetti Sauce

  1. Elevate the plating: As a Top Chef contestant, it's crucial to focus on the presentation of the dish. Use fresh cilantro and garlic cloves to garnish the plate, adding a pop of color and freshness to the dish.

  2. Incorporate artistic drizzling: Drizzle a small amount of olive oil around the edge of the plate to add a touch of elegance and enhance the visual appeal of the dish.

  3. Focus on precision: Carefully place the angel hair pasta on the plate, ensuring it is neatly arranged and not overcrowded, creating a visually appealing base for the sauce.

  4. Highlight the sauce: Spoon the Somali spaghetti sauce over the pasta with precision, ensuring it is evenly distributed and showcases the vibrant colors and textures of the ingredients.

  5. Emphasize balance: Consider the balance of colors and textures on the plate, ensuring that each element, from the sauce to the garnishes, contributes to a visually stunning and harmonious presentation.

Essential Tools for Making Somali Spaghetti Sauce

  • Food processor: A food processor is a versatile kitchen appliance used for chopping, slicing, shredding, and pureeing ingredients. It can be used to finely chop cilantro and garlic for the Somali spaghetti sauce recipe.
  • Small pot: A small pot is used for toasting cumin seeds over low heat until fragrant and grinding them into a powder for the seasoning mix.
  • Large pot: A large pot is essential for cooking the spaghetti sauce and boiling the pasta.
  • Mixing bowl: A mixing bowl is used to combine the various spices and seasonings to create the seasoning mix for the spaghetti sauce.
  • Skillet or frying pan: A skillet or frying pan is used to brown the ground beef and cook the onions for the spaghetti sauce.
  • Wooden spoon: A wooden spoon is ideal for stirring the spaghetti sauce while it simmers, ensuring that the flavors are well combined.
  • Colander: A colander is used to drain the cooked pasta before serving.
  • Grinder or mortar and pestle: A grinder or mortar and pestle can be used to grind the toasted cumin seeds into a powder for the seasoning mix if a food processor is not available.

Storing and Freezing Somali Spaghetti Sauce

  • To store leftover Somali spaghetti sauce, allow it to cool completely to room temperature. Transfer the sauce to an airtight container or jar with a tight-fitting lid. Label the container with the date and refrigerate for up to 4-5 days.

  • For longer storage, you can freeze the sauce. Portion the cooled sauce into freezer-safe containers or resealable bags, leaving some headspace for expansion. Label the containers with the date and amount, then place them in the freezer. The sauce can be frozen for up to 3 months.

  • To thaw frozen Somali spaghetti sauce, transfer the container from the freezer to the refrigerator and let it thaw overnight. Alternatively, you can place the frozen sauce in a bowl of cold water, changing the water every 30 minutes until the sauce is thawed.

  • Once thawed, reheat the sauce in a saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until it reaches the desired temperature. If the sauce appears too thick after thawing, you can add a little water or tomato sauce to adjust the consistency.

  • It's important to note that the texture of the vegetables in the sauce, such as the potatoes and carrots, may change slightly after freezing and thawing. They may become softer, but the overall flavor of the sauce will still be delicious.

How To Reheat Leftover Somali Spaghetti Sauce

  • Reheat the Somali spaghetti sauce in a saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until it reaches the desired temperature. This method ensures even heating and prevents the sauce from burning or sticking to the bottom of the pan.

  • If the sauce seems too thick after refrigeration, add a splash of water or tomato sauce to help thin it out while reheating. Stir well to incorporate the added liquid and achieve a smooth consistency.

  • For a quick and easy reheating option, transfer the desired portion of Somali spaghetti sauce to a microwave-safe bowl. Cover the bowl with a damp paper towel to prevent splatters and help retain moisture. Microwave on high for 1-2 minutes, stirring halfway through, until the sauce is heated through.

  • If you have leftover spaghetti along with the sauce, you can reheat them together. Place the pasta and sauce in a baking dish, cover with foil, and bake in a preheated 350°F (175°C) oven for 15-20 minutes, or until the pasta and sauce are heated through.

  • For a crispy twist, reheat the Somali spaghetti sauce in a saucepan until warm, then serve it over freshly cooked pasta or rice. Top with grated Parmesan cheese and a sprinkle of fresh cilantro for added flavor and texture.

Random Fact about Somali Spaghetti Sauce

The Somali spaghetti sauce recipe is a fusion of Italian and Somali flavors, combining the richness of ground beef with aromatic spices and fresh vegetables. This dish showcases the influence of Somali cuisine, which often features bold flavors and hearty ingredients. The use of cumin and turmeric in the seasoning mix adds depth and warmth to the sauce, creating a unique and flavorful experience.

Is Making Somali Spaghetti Sauce at Home Economical?

The Somali spaghetti sauce recipe is quite cost-effective for a household. The key ingredients like ground beef, potatoes, and carrots are affordable and readily available. The use of simple spices and herbs like cumin, paprika, and garlic adds flavor without breaking the bank. The overall verdict for this recipe would be an 8 out of 10 for its affordability and delicious taste. The approximate cost for a household of 4 people would be around $15-$20, making it a budget-friendly and satisfying meal option.

Is Somali Spaghetti Sauce Healthy or Unhealthy?

The Somali spaghetti sauce recipe has both healthy and unhealthy aspects. On the positive side, it includes a variety of nutritious ingredients such as fresh cilantro, garlic, onion, potato, carrots, and tomatoes. These vegetables provide essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber. The recipe also uses lean ground beef, which is a good source of protein and lower in fat compared to regular ground beef. Additionally, the use of various spices like cumin, turmeric, paprika, and Italian seasoning adds flavor without relying on excessive salt or sugar.

However, there are some areas where the recipe could be improved to make it healthier:

  • Reduce the amount of olive oil used or replace it with a healthier cooking oil like avocado oil or coconut oil
  • Use whole wheat pasta instead of regular angel hair pasta to increase the fiber content and provide more complex carbohydrates
  • Include more vegetables in the sauce, such as bell peppers, zucchini, or mushrooms, to boost the nutrient density
  • Opt for low-sodium tomatoes and omit the added salt to reduce the overall sodium content
  • Consider using a leaner protein source like ground turkey or chicken instead of beef to further reduce the fat content

By incorporating these changes, the Somali spaghetti sauce recipe can be transformed into a more balanced and nutritious meal that still retains its delicious flavors. Experimenting with different vegetable combinations and using whole grain pasta can make this dish even more satisfying and health-conscious.

Editor's Thoughts on This Somali Sauce Recipe

This Somali spaghetti sauce recipe is a delightful fusion of flavors and spices. The use of cumin, turmeric, and paprika adds depth and warmth to the dish, while the combination of ground beef, potatoes, and carrots creates a hearty and satisfying texture. The addition of cilantro and garlic provides a fresh and aromatic element, elevating the overall taste profile. The use of angel hair pasta complements the rich sauce perfectly. Overall, this recipe offers a unique and delicious twist on traditional spaghetti sauce, making it a delightful addition to any culinary repertoire.

Enhance Your Somali Spaghetti Sauce Recipe with These Unique Side Dishes:

Garlic Bread: Create a delicious garlic bread by mixing minced garlic, butter, and parsley, then spreading it on a baguette and baking until golden brown.
Caprese Salad: Assemble a refreshing caprese salad with ripe tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, basil leaves, and a drizzle of balsamic glaze for a burst of flavor.
Grilled Vegetables: Prepare a colorful medley of grilled vegetables such as zucchini, bell peppers, and eggplant, seasoned with olive oil, salt, and pepper for a healthy and flavorful side dish.

Alternative Recipes Similar to Somali Spaghetti Sauce

Creamy Chicken Alfredo: This creamy chicken alfredo recipe is a classic Italian dish that combines tender chicken, al dente pasta, and a rich, cheesy sauce. It's the perfect comfort food for any occasion.
Mango Salsa Chicken: This mango salsa chicken recipe is a delicious and refreshing dish that combines juicy chicken breasts with a sweet and tangy mango salsa. It's a perfect summer meal that's bursting with flavor.
Roasted Vegetable Quinoa Salad: This roasted vegetable quinoa salad recipe is a healthy and satisfying dish that combines nutty quinoa with a colorful array of roasted vegetables. It's a great option for a light lunch or dinner.

Appetizers and Desserts to Complement Somali Spaghetti Sauce

Stuffed Mushrooms: For a delicious and elegant appetizer, try creating stuffed mushrooms. Fill each mushroom cap with a savory mixture of cream cheese, garlic, and herbs, then bake until golden and bubbly. These bite-sized treats are sure to impress your guests at any gathering.
Bruschetta: Bruschetta is a classic Italian appetizer that never fails to please. Top slices of toasted baguette with a flavorful mixture of tomatoes, garlic, basil, and olive oil for a fresh and vibrant starter. The combination of crunchy bread and juicy tomatoes makes for a perfect bite every time.
Chocolate Mousse: Indulge in a rich and creamy chocolate mousse, topped with a dollop of whipped cream and a sprinkle of cocoa powder. The smooth texture and decadent flavor will satisfy any sweet tooth.
Strawberry Cheesecake: Delight in a luscious strawberry cheesecake, featuring a buttery graham cracker crust and a velvety smooth cream cheese filling. Topped with fresh strawberries, this dessert is a perfect balance of tangy and sweet flavors.

Why trust this Somali Spaghetti Sauce Recipe:

This recipe offers a fusion of flavors using cumin seeds, paprika, and Italian seasoning to create a tantalizing Somali spaghetti sauce. The use of fresh cilantro and garlic adds aromatic depth, while the inclusion of lean ground beef ensures a hearty and satisfying dish. With the addition of potatoes and carrots, this recipe provides a wholesome and balanced meal. The careful combination of spices and fresh ingredients guarantees an authentic and delicious dining experience.

Share your thoughts on this delicious Somali Spaghetti Sauce recipe in the World Cuisines forum and let us know if you have any tips or variations to enhance the flavors even more!
What is the best way to store leftover Somali spaghetti sauce?
The best way to store leftover Somali spaghetti sauce is to let it cool completely before transferring it to an airtight container. It can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. If you want to store it for a longer period, you can freeze it for up to 3 months. Just make sure to thaw it in the refrigerator before reheating.
Can I substitute the ground beef with another type of protein?
Absolutely! You can substitute the ground beef with ground turkey, chicken, or even plant-based alternatives like lentils or mushrooms for a vegetarian option. Just adjust the cooking time accordingly based on the protein you choose.
Can I make the Somali spaghetti sauce ahead of time?
Yes, you can definitely make the Somali spaghetti sauce ahead of time. In fact, the flavors tend to develop even more if you make it a day in advance. Just store it in the refrigerator and reheat it gently on the stovetop before serving.
Is there a way to make this dish gluten-free?
Yes, you can easily make this dish gluten-free by using gluten-free pasta instead of the angel hair pasta. Additionally, ensure that the seasoning blends and other ingredients used are certified gluten-free.
Can I adjust the level of spiciness in the Somali spaghetti sauce?
Absolutely! You can adjust the spiciness of the Somali spaghetti sauce by increasing or decreasing the amount of paprika and black pepper used in the seasoning mix. Feel free to customize it to your preferred level of heat.

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