My favorite bolognese sauce.

Dairy-free | Soy-free | Nut-free | Gluten-free option | Clean eating option

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Okay, so it’s not the most beautifully lit or composed photo, but I just couldn’t wait another day for good enough light to share this. I love this sauce. I love how fresh and light, yet hearty it is. I love that I can literally get SIX MEALS out of one recipe for my family, thanks to the miracles of freezers and 25-oz Tupperware. And I really just love how it tastes!

One of my very first recipes when I started this blog was a bolognese sauce I loved at the time, but even then I could tell it was missing something. One thing it had that I didn’t want was milk added for richness. This sauce leaves the dairy out and tastes even richer for it. This is our new, current, and hopefully forevermore, favorite. I hope it becomes the same for your family.

Homemade Bolognese Sauce

Original recipe here

  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced and divided
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 lbs. lean (93-95% lean) ground beef or turkey, or a combination
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and coarsely chopped
  • 1 can (12 oz) tomato paste
  • 1 tsp. coarse Kosher salt
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp. dried oregano
  • 1 Tbsp. dried basil
  • 1 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
  • 2 cans (14 oz each) diced tomatoes
  • 2 cans (28 oz each) crushed tomatoes
  • optional: 8 oz. button or baby Bella mushrooms, chopped (I omit this)
  • 1 1/2 cups beef broth
  • 2 Tbsp. brown sugar or coconut sugar
  • optional, if using coconut sugar: 1/2 Tbsp. honey
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 Tbsp. good quality Balsamic vinegar
  1. In a very large pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add half of the diced onions and saute until translucent and beginning to brown, 3-4 minutes. Add garlic and continue sauteing, stirring constantly, about 1 minute or until fragrant.
  2. Move the onion mixture to the sides of the pot and add beef and/or turkey. Brown the meat, breaking into small pieces – you may need to increase the heat slightly – and gradually stirring the onion mixture in as the meat browns. Drain excess grease.
  3. In a blender or food processor, puree the remaining onions with the red pepper. Pour the mixture into the pot and stir to incorporate.
  4. Add tomato paste, salt, pepper, oregano, basil, and thyme, and cook 1 minute, stirring to combine.
  5. Add diced and crushed tomatoes, mushrooms if using, broth, and sugar (and honey), stir to incorporate, and then add bay leaves.
  6. Bring to a boil. Reduce to low and simmer, uncovered, 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
  7. Remove from heat, stir in Balsamic vinegar, and let rest 10-15 minutes before serving. (I usually do this while I’m waiting for my pasta to cook.)
  8. Serve over whole-wheat or gluten-free pasta, with Parmesan cheese if desired.
  9. Freeze excess in portioned containers, then pull one out and thaw for an easy weeknight meal! The sauce gets better and better the longer it rests.
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