Slow Cooker Bolognese Sauce - An easy to make Slow Cooker recipe for delicious and rich bolognese sauce with lean ground beef, vegetables and tomatoes. A perfect family meal.
Slow Cooker Spaghetti Bolognese
There is something comforting about a bowl of spaghetti bolognese don't you think? It's a meal my family never tires off. I could serve it every week and it would be like an amazing thing they have never eaten before every time.
Usually I make my bolognese on the stove top, but occasionally if I have a busy a day planned, I like to get it all prepared in the morning, add it to the slow cooker and it's all ready come dinner time and all that's left to do is cook the pasta.
Why do you not add the pasta to the slow cooker too?
Some slow cooker recipes for bolognese do include adding the pasta to the slow cooker. But my kids don't care for the texture when added it to the slow cooker, and really pasta take no time at all to cook on the stove.
Make the sauce like this on it's own, also means I can freeze just some of the sauce if we have leftovers. I will often double this recipe up just so I can freeze some.
Can Slow Cooker Bolognese Sauce be Frozen?
As above it certainly can. You can either freeze any leftovers all in one big tub or freeze in single portions in smaller tubs, which is how I prefer to freeze.
I just remove the container/s the night before and let it full defrost in the fridge and then heat up in a pan on the stove or in the microwave until heated all through, Either method is fine.
Difference between Crushed Tomatoes and Passata
You will notice I use crushed tomatoes in this recipe and may be wondering what that is, especially if you don't live in North America.
Crushed Tomatoes are kind of like passata, except passata is a slightly thinner version as it's sieved where as crushed tomatoes includes everything.
You can use either in this recipe, but I recommend added 1 or 2 additional tablespoons of tomato paste if you use passata.
Ever find the chopping and dicing of vegetables for things like bolognese a boring task? Sometimes when you are rushed for time I just dig out my Vegetable Chopper like this one on Amazon
(As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.)
It's so much fast and quicker and I can easily get equal pieces of vegetables, which just makes a dish look prettier if they are all the same size, don't you think?
Occasionally I will diced up things in advance and freeze in handy portions for when I want to make bolognese or soup etc, and all that I have to do is dump the bag contents in the bag and go. You can really do this with any vegetables, like onions, carrots, celery, mushrooms, leeks, garlic etc and herbs. Like these handy make ahead freezer vegetable bags.
Do I need to brown everything first?
You don't have to brown everything first if you want to save time, but generally the flavour will be much more developed if you brown the meat and vegetables first. It's the browning and caramelization of the meat that adds a richness of flavour to any dish, if you skip it, you are pretty much just boiling the meat. Plus the juices released from not browning the meat, can really water down you dish. You cook most of that liquid off if you brown on the stove first.
Some slow cookers even have a sear function now, or the inner pot can be removed and heated on the stove making it a whole lot easier.
Sides for Bolognese Meat Sauce
The obvious choice of a side is of course some pasta, either spaghetti or another shaped pasta, but what about if you are trying to be a little bit healthier?
Some other great options are:
- Spiralled Zucchini (Courgette), it literally only takes a couple of minutes in pan with a little spray oil, salt and black pepper
- Spaghetti Squash - a winter squash which flesh resembles spaghetti strand once cooked
- Baked Shoestring Celeriac and Butternut Squash - a tasty alternative to pasta
- Spiralized Seasoned Swede
or enjoy that regular pasta, but opt for a smaller serving and pair with a side mixed salad. I even took it that one step further and opted for rice pasta which is a slightly better choice than regular pasta. Finishing off with a few parmesan shavings as part of my Healthy Extra A choice.
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More Slow Cooker Recipes
Looking for some other slow cooker recipes? Check out these:
- SLOW COOKER CAJUN APPLE PORK TENDERLOIN
- RICH BEEF AND PRUNE STEW (INSTANT POT OR SLOW COOKER)
- SMOKED PAPRIKA CHICKEN CASSEROLE (INSTANT POT, SLOW COOKER OR STOVE TOP)
- OXTAIL STEW (INSTANT POT AND SLOW COOKER)
- SLOW COOKER CHICKEN MUSHROOM MEATLOAF
- BALSAMIC BRAISED BEEF (STOVE TOP, SLOW COOKER AND INSTANT POT)
- HEALTHIER SLOW COOKER CRACK CHICKEN
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- 500g (17.5oz) extra lean beef mince (ground beef)
- 1 tablespoon of olive oil
- 2 medium stalks of celery, chopped
- 2 medium sized carrots, chopped
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 4 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1.5 tablespoon of mixed herbs
- 1 teaspoon of onion powder
- ½ teaspoon of garlic powder
- 150g (5.5oz) mushrooms
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 1 organic bouillon beef stock cube
- 540ml (450g) of chopped tomatoes, canned
- 28 fl oz (796ml) of crushed tomatoes, canned or can use passata
- 1 tablespoon of tomato paste (add an additional 1-2 tablespoons if using passata)
- salt and black pepper
- fresh chopped parsley
- Add the ground beef (mince) to a frying pan over a medium high heat and cooked until browned
- Transfer to the slow cooker.
- Add the olive oil to the frying pan, along with the onions, carrots, celery, garlic and a little more spray oil. Fry until translucent and slightly softened. Add in a little bit of water to fully deglaze the pan of anything stuck to the bottom. (This also gets up all the flavour from the bottom of the pan).
- Add this to the slow cooker with the mushrooms, mixed herbs, garlic powder, onion power, bouillon stock cube, balsamic vinegar, chopped tomatoes, crushed tomatoes and tomato paste and give a good stir so all is combined.
- Cook in the slow cooker on low for 6 hours.
- Taste and season as needed with salt and black pepper and sprinkle with fresh chopped parsley.
- Serve over pasta of choice or other sides of your choosing, enjoy!!
This recipe is gluten free, dairy free, Slimming World and Weight Watchers friendly
- Slimming World - 1 syn per serving
- WW Green Smart Points - 5 per serving
- WW Blue Smart Points - 5 per serving
- WW Purple Smart Points - 5 per serving
- Gluten Free - use a gluten free stock cube
SUITABLE FOR FREEZING - sauce is suitable for freezing, fully defrost and heat gently until heated through before serving.
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Nutrition InformationYield 6 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 243Total Fat 8gSaturated Fat 3gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 4gCholesterol 74mgSodium 349mgCarbohydrates 15gFiber 3gSugar 4gProtein 28g