how to make a healthy bolognese sauce | Family Cuisine

This is a simple recipe that you can make in your own kitchen. It's easy to follow, and the end result will be yummy!

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How to make a healthy bolognese sauce

Hearty and meaty, this delicious beef Bolognese sauce recipe is comfort in a bowl. An aromatic dish that’s packed with flavor, you’re going to want to make this weekly. Easy to make and the perfect weeknight dinner recipe the whole family will love.

Bolognese with pasta in a pan.

Let’s get back to basics with this classic spaghetti bolognese sauce recipe. We love how rich and thick this beef bolognese is and how when combined with pasta, it warms you up, inside out! Don’t be intimidated by the cooking time for this recipe, it’s not super difficult to make, it just requires a long simmer time. The longer your meat sauce simmers on the stovetop, the deeper the flavor. Other than stirring occasionally, you’re not doing much for the hour.

Reading: how to make a healthy bolognese sauce

Why You will Love this Bolognese sauce recipe

  • It’s straightforward. There’s nothing complicated about this bolognese recipe. You sauté your ingredients and then simmer for an hour. Most of the work is done after you’ve sautéed your vegetables and browned your meat.
  • It’s freezer friendly. Since this recipe takes a while to simmer, we like making a double batch so we can freeze half of it for later. You’re already putting in the time so you might as well double your bounty!
  • It’s super tasty. There’s nothing better than a warm delicious beef bolognese sauce over some pasta. It’s the perfect cozy meal during the colder seasons.
top view of bolognese sauce in a pan

Ingredients You’ll Need to Make Bolognese sauce

  • Carrots — peeled and roughly chopped to around the same size
  • Celery — roughly chopped to around the same size
  • Onion — roughly chopped to around the same size
  • Garlic
  • Olive oil
  • Kosher salt & ground black pepper
  • Lean ground beef
  • Tomato paste
  • Crushed tomatoes
  • Low-sodium chicken broth
  • Herbs: rosemary, thyme, bay leaves
  • Parmesan rind
  • Grated parmesan
  • Pasta — use whatever pasta you like.
Ingredients for bolognese.

How to Make this Homemade Bolognese Sauce

  • Chop your vegetables: place the carrots, celery, onion, and garlic in a food processor and pulse to chop. If you don’t have a food processor with a chopping option then you can finely dice them by hand.
Vegetables chopped in a food processor.
  • Next, heat oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add the chopped veggies and sauté for 3-4 minutes, or until softened.
  • Brown your meat: bring veggies to the sides of the pan and add in the middle add the ground meat. Season with salt and pepper. Allow the meat to cook undisturbed for 3-4 minutes until it develops a golden crust. Using a wooden spatula start to stir into the meat, mincing it at the same time. Stir to combine the meat with the sautéed veggies, and continue to cook for 8-10 minutes.
  • Next, add the tomato paste, crushed tomatoes, and broth. Mix well to combine. Then stir in the herbs and parmesan rind.
Adding herbs and parmesan to bolognese.
  • Simmer: reduce the heat to low and partially cover the pan. Simmer the bolognese sauce, stirring occasionally, for 60 minutes.
  • Make the pasta: just before the sauce is ready, cook the pasta in salted water according to package instructions. Reserve 2/3 cup of the pasta water, then drain.
  • Remove and discard the bay leaves from the sauce.
Bolognese sauce inside of a pan.
  • Combine the bolognese with the pasta: While the sauce is still on the heat, add cooked pasta, starchy water, and grated parmesan. Toss well to combine and coat.
  • Turn the heat off and divide the bolognese pasta into serving bowls. Garnish with extra parmesan if desired and ground black pepper and serve immediately.

Recipe Notes and Tips

  • Use the leanest ground beef available.
  • Any oil will work
  • Broth: we used chicken broth. but you may sub with beef or vegetable broth.
  • Pasta: any pasta will work, use your favorite. For a low carb option, you may serve your beef bolognese with zoodles.
  • Don’t be tempted to skip any of the vegetables. The three of them play off each other: the carrots add sweetness, the onions add sharpness, and the celery adds a savory component.
  • Don’t skip the parmesan rind. While it’s too tough and hard to eat, it adds a ton of flavor to the dish when simmered. Be sure to fish out the parmesan rind at the end.
  • A good substitute for parmesan rind would be Pecorino Romano and Gruyère.
  • Don’t have fresh garlic? Use one tablespoon of garlic powder.
  • Allow the amount of time to simmer down for the best flavors.
  • Store leftovers in a container and store in the fridge for up to 4 days.
  • To freeze a batch of this bolognese sauce, once it’s cooled, add to a ziplock bag, seal, and freeze for up to 3-5 months.
  • To make this bolognese sauce recipe gluten-free, use gluten-free pasta or zoodles.
close up view of bolognese with spaghetti


tongs in a pasta bolognese pan

How to make this bolognese sauce in an instant pot

  • First, turn on the Instant pot into “sauté” mode. Add the oil into the pot.
  • Next, add the chopped veggies and sauté for 3-4 minutes, or until softened.
  • Add the ground meat. Season with salt and pepper. Allow the meat to cook undisturbed for 3-4 minutes until it develops a golden crust.
  • Then, add the tomato paste, crushed tomatoes, broth, and remaining ingredients along with herbs, except for the parmesan rind. Mix well to combine.
  • Switch the Instant pot from sautee mode to manual. Seal, and pressure cook for 20 minutes.
  • Once done, do a quick release and allow it to vent. Remove the lid and mix.
  • Switch the setting back to sautee mode. Add the parmesan rind, sautee for 5-10 minutes. Adjust seasoning if needed.
  • Discard bay leaf and the remaining parmesan rind and serve with pasta.

Other dinner recipes to try

  • Mushroom Stuffed Chicken Breast
  • Baked Lemon Garlic Salmon
  • Instant Pot Beef Stew
  • Baked Teriyaki Salmon
  • Creamy Chicken Enchilada Soup

Read more: how to make vegan bechamel sauce | Family Cuisine

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Read more: how to make a simple butter sauce for pasta | Family Cuisine

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