Dairy-free | Soy-free | Nut-free | Gluten-free option | Clean eating option
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
- 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.
- 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.
- In a blender or food processor, puree the remaining onions with the red pepper. Pour the mixture into the pot and stir to incorporate.
- Add tomato paste, salt, pepper, oregano, basil, and thyme, and cook 1 minute, stirring to combine.
- Add diced and crushed tomatoes, mushrooms if using, broth, and sugar (and honey), stir to incorporate, and then add bay leaves.
- Bring to a boil. Reduce to low and simmer, uncovered, 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
- 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.)
- Serve over whole-wheat or gluten-free pasta, with Parmesan cheese if desired.
- 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.