You are going to fall in love with this slow cooker bolognese. It’s easy, budget friendly and tastes absolutely incredible. It’s the ultimate comforting dinner.
This sauce makes enough to serve 8 people. We are a family of 4 so I also make enough to serve 8 and then freeze half for another day. However you could easily halve the recipe if you find it’s too much for your family.
To cut down on the meat content I have only used 500g of beef mince, and added a tin of lentils to bulk it out. I love lentils, but if you prefer not to use them simply omit the lentils and up the beef mince to 1kg.
Slow cooker recipes
There is nothing better than putting the slow cooker on in the morning, and coming home to and amazing smelling house with dinner ready to go. For more great slow cooker ideas try these recipes:
- Slow cooker beef and broccoli
- Slow cooker Mongolian beef
- How to make slow cooker caramel
- Slow cooker chicken wild rice soup
- Slow cooker carrot soup
Ingredients in slow cooker bolognese
The great thing about bolognese sauce is that you can mix up the ingredients to suit your taste. If you have any vegetable laying around that need to be used, throw them in too! These are the ingredients I use in my bolognese sauce:
- Olive oil – Use an extra virgin olive oil, or your preferred frying oil.
- Onion – A brown onion was used in this recipe, but any variety of onion could be used.
- Beef mince – The beef mince (ground beef) could be substituted with a combination of beef and pork mince.
- Garlic – Fresh garlic was used in this recipe, but minced jar garlic could also be used.
- Tinned lentils – Substitute with dried red lentils.
- Tomato passata (tomato puree)
- Tomato paste
- Carrot – There is no need to peel the carrot before chopping.
- Beef stock powder – Chicken or vegetable stock powder could also be used.
- Sugar – Use ordinary white (granulated) sugar.
- Bay leaves
- Dried oregano
- Dried parsley
- Dried basil
- Salt and pepper, to taste
How to make slow cooker bolognese
I first saute the onion and beef in my slow cooker, but if you slow cooker doesn’t have a saute function, brown your meat in a pan on the stovetop first, then add it to your slow cooker along with the other ingredients.
To begin, switch your slow cooker to the saute function. Drizzle in the olive oil, then add the diced onions, stirring until the begin to soften. Add the beef mince and cook, breaking up lumps, until browned. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute until fragrant.
Next, add to the slow cooker the drained and rinsed lentils, the tomato passata, tomato paste, diced carrot, diced celery, water, beef stock powder, sugar, bay leaves, dried oregano, dried parsley and dried basil. Slow cook on high for 4 hours or low for 8 hours.
Once the sauce has finished cooking, remove the bay leaves, season to taste with salt and pepper and serve over cooked pasta.
Can bolognese sauce be frozen?
Bolognese sauce freezes perfectly. Freeze for up to 3 months in an airtight container or zip lock bag.
To reheat the sauce, defrost in the fridge. Add the sauce to a saucepan and heat over the stovetop until hot. The sauce can be reheated in the microwave but I find it tastes better heated over the stove.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 Brown onion, diced
- 500g beef mince
- 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 700g jar tomato passata
- 1/2 cup tomato paste
- 1 large carrot, finely diced
- 2 celery sticks, finely diced
- 400g tin lentils, drained and rinsed
- 1/2 cup water
- 2 teaspoons beef stock powder
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
- 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Turn the slow cooker onto the saute function. Drizzle in the olive oil, then add the diced onion and cook, stirring, until starting to soften. Add the beef mince and cook, breaking up lumps, until browned. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute, until fragrant.
- Add to the slow cooker the tomato passata, tomato paste, diced carrot, diced celery, lentils, water, beef stock powder, bay leaves, sugar, dried oregano, dried parsley and dried basil. Stir to combine, then cook on high for 4 hours or low for 8 hours.
- Season with salt and pepper, remove the bay leaves and serve over cooked pasta.
- If your slow cooker doesn't have a saute function, follow step 1 using a pan on the stovetop, then transfer the mince mixture to the slow cooker.
- You can substitute the tinned lentil for and additional 500g of beef mince.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 228Total Fat: 13gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 56mgSodium: 124mgCarbohydrates: 10gFiber: 2gSugar: 6gProtein: 19g