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.
Vegetarian | Clean eating | Dairy-free option | Soy-free | Gluten-free option
Meet my husband’s favorite meal:
Ok, so it’s really hard to make enchiladas look sexy, but trust me, they’re awesome. The key is the homemade enchilada sauce. I love restaurant enchiladas, but never loved how they tasted when I made them at home using the canned sauce. The homemade stuff a total game-changer. I make a double batch so that I can freeze half of it for another time. For our family, I can get away with stretching the filling to two 9×9 pans–one for now, and one to either give away or freeze for later (the Hefty foil pans are ideal for either use). So when I double the sauce, I get enough for four dinners’ worth of deliciousness!
Keep this one clean with whole-grain tortillas and less-processed chicken broth in the sauce. Make it truly vegetarian with “no-chicken” broth. Make it dairy-free with vegan cheese: we use Daiya cheddar shreds and it tastes similar enough that my husband and kids don’t pitch a fit. Make it gluten-free with the right tortillas.
Black Bean and Corn Enchiladas
Enchiladas: adapted slightly from here.
- tortillas of choice
- 2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 cup frozen corn, defrosted
- 6 oz (1 1/2 cups) shredded Mexican blend cheese or Daiya shreds, divided
- heaping 1/2 tsp cumin
- heaping 1/2 tsp paprika
- 2 cups enchilada sauce (below)
- 1/4 cup onions strained from sauce (see below)
- Preheat oven to 375 and spray a baking dish (one 9×13 or two 8x8s).
- In a large bowl, combine the beans, corn, 4 oz (1 cup) of the cheese, spices, and strained onions. Use a fork to mash some of the beans so that mixture is chunky and incorporated, keeping some of the beans whole.
- Lay a tortilla flat and spoon about 2 heaping Tbsp (or more, if you like a larger filling-to-tortilla ratio) into the center. Roll it up and place seam-side down in the prepared baking dish, then repeat until dish is filled.
- Pour sauce over enchiladas (if preparing 2 pans, pour 1 cup over each pan), then top with remaining shredded cheese. (If freezing, wrap well with foil and plastic wrap and freeze at this stage. Then thaw 24 hours before baking.) Bake, uncovered, 25-30 minutes or until bubbly and cheese is melted.
Enchilada sauce: adapted from here. Tip: Double it!
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 small onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1-3 Tbsp chili powder, to taste
- 1 Tbsp cumin
- 1 tsp salt
- 15-oz. can tomato sauce
- 1 cup chicken (or no-chicken) broth
- Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion and saute for a few minutes, until just beginning to brown around the edges. Add the garlic, spices, and salt; toast until fragrant, about a minute.
- Stir in the tomato sauce and chicken broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer 10 minutes.
- Remove sauce from heat and pour through a strainer set over a bowl. Use a rubber spatula to press the onions into the mesh and force out more of the sauce. Save about 1/2 cup of the onions to mix into the filling.
- This makes about 2 cups sauce. It keeps in the fridge for up to a week, or the freezer for up to 3 months!