Easy Bolognese Sauce with no wine added and packed with vegetables, the best meat sauce to have with any kind of pasta, rice, couscous, jacket potatoes or gnocchi. It's a family-friendly recipe that can be easily cooked in a big batch and frozen until needed.
If there was one dish that my kids would gladly eat at any time of the day or night, this has to be spaghetti bolognese. It just screams comfort food to everyone, and that's what it does best - soothes and comforts you like no other food. For me, this is the mother of all dishes.
Bolognese sauce has to be one of the best recipes one can ever make at home. If you go for the ready-made version that the stores have to offer, then be prepared to be disappointed.
So, why not make it at home with a few simple ingredients? It's really cheap too, and with less than £6 you get to feed the whole family.
While some traditional bolognese recipes might not use any vegetables in it, I think they are a fantastic addition, especially if you cook it for kids. It makes the sauce even more nutritious and delicious.
If you leave the salt out, this meat sauce can make an excellent baby-led recipe, as it's packed with so much goodness. I am a firm believer that the sooner kids are introduced to proper food, the better eaters they will become.
For a meat-free sauce, how about my roasted red pepper pasta sauce? It's as easy to make, and so good too!
- ground beef / minced beef - I usually go for the lean mince with a lower fat content
- chopped tomatoes - or plum tomatoes, either work
- carrot - either a large one, for 2 small ones
- large onion - regular or white, or even shallots
- celery sticks - they add a nice texture to the sauce
- tomato puree - adds a deeper colour and sweetness
- pepper - I used yellow, but any colour would do
- vegetable oil - for frying the onion
- salt & black pepper - you can leave the salt out if you cook for young children
- Italian herbs - or just oregano and rosemary if yo don't have the herbs
- chopped parsley - for garnishing
- beef stock - I used Knorr beef stock - but you can use bouillon if you have
- cloves of garlic
Step-by-step photos and instructions
The traditional bolognese sauce uses red wine, and no veggies, but I adapted this recipe for my kids, and I can say it's the best bolognese sauce you can get.
- Start by sauteeing the onion. Once it's soft, add the garlic, carrots and celery, and let them sweat for about one minute or so
- Add the minced beef, and keep stirring until the meat until brown
- Once the chopped tomatoes are added, leave it to cook until it thickens into a nice sauce
- Add the tomato paste and herbs, and season to taste
- Garnish with fresh parsley
And that's my bolognese done!
I find that the sauce has a deeper flavour if you brown the ground beef well, as opposed to just cooking it until no longer pink.
Once the mince is cooked, keep stirring it until it turns into a nice light brown colour and it's really dry. Do keep stirring it, as it could stick to the pan.
There is no need to add water or any other liquid to the sauce, the chopped tomatoes have enough liquid to them - cook the sauce until the tomatoes are really mushy and the sauce comes together nicely.
Absolutely! I actually always cook a double batch, just so I can freeze some. It helps if you freeze it in smaller plastic containers, so that you can only defrost the amount needed for one meal.
You can either use a microwave, or add the frozen sauce to a pan with a quarter of a cup of water, and leave it to simmer on a medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is piping hot.
Some people like adding red wine to the sauce, I personally don't cook with wine, even if it evaporates, I still don't like the idea of adding it when I cook for kids.
Now, I absolutely love the wine-free version of the bolognese sauce, but if you want to add wine to the sauce, add it after the onion has softened and let it cook until it evaporated, before adding the remaining ingredients.
More bolognese recipes
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Easy Bolognese Sauce (No Wine)
- 500 g ground beef / minced beef ( 1.1 lb)
- 2 tins chopped tomatoes (2 x 400 g, 13oz)
- 1 carrot
- 1 large onion
- 1 celery stick
- ½ yellow pepper
- 2 tablespoon vegetable oil
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ⅛ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 tablespoon Italian herbs
- 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
- 1 cube beef stock
- 3 cloves of garlic
- Heat up the oil in a large pan, then peel and chop the onion and add it to it, leaving it to cook on a medium heat until golden.
- Add the ground beef, and stir continuosly, until the beef is browned all over.
- Chop the carrot, pepper, garlic and celery stick, and add them to the pan together with the beef stock.
- Add the chopped tomatoes and leave to cook until the sauce is reduced and thickened.
- Season with salt, pepper, add the Italian herbs, and parsley, and remove from the heat.
- If you'd like to see the ingredients listed in cups and ounces, please check the US Customary Link.
- Also, the amount of ingredients changes depending on the servings, so click on the number listed to change it to the number you prefer.
- I find that the sauce has a deeper flavour if you brown the ground beef well, as opposed to just cooking it until no longer pink.
- Once the mince is cooked, keep stirring it until it turns into a nice light brown colour and it's really dry. Do keep stirring it, as it could stick to the pan.
- There is no need to add water or any other liquid to the sauce, the chopped tomatoes have enough liquid to them - cook the sauce until the tomatoes are really mushy and the sauce comes together nicely.