Weeknight Bolognese -Dairy-Free

Bolognese simmering in a pot on the stove

This is hands down my GO-TO bolognese!  It’s seriously the perfect and tastiest bolognese for those busy weeknights, as it takes under 45 minutes start to finish, but the sauce tastes like a sauce that’s been cooking on your stove top all day, not for just 30 minutes.

This is a great pasta to serve up if you’re entertaining friends because it feeds a crowd, especially if you pair the pasta with some crispy garlic bread and or a caesar salad, kale salad or arugula salad.

The original recipe called for heavy cream and parmesan, but since I’m dairy-free, I’ve been making this sauce without the heavy cream and the additional added parmesan, and it’s the bomb!  The kids haven’t even noticed the difference, and honestly, I think it tastes way better.

I love making this sauce ahead of time and bringing it up to Tahoe. All I have to do after skiing is come home, heat up the sauce, cook up the pasta and blend the two together. I’ll pair it with a salad tossed in my favorite lemon vinaigrette or some roasted broccoli. This is such an easy and satisfying post-skiing meal.

Bolognese in a pot on the counter with pasta

weeknight bolognese – dairy-free:

recipe adapted from Barefoot’s Barefoot Contessa, How Easy Is That?: Fabulous Recipes & Easy Tipsir?t=marmamcoo 20&l=as2&o=1&a=0307238768
serves 6-8

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound grass fed beef – I typically use 85% lean, as we like the flavor that a little fat brings to the sauce 
  • 4 teaspoons minced garlic (roughly 5 cloves)
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 1/4 cups dry red wine, divided – Make sure to use a robust and rich wine for this recipe, such as a cabernet, as the wine really brings out the flavors in the sauce
  • 1 (28-ounce) BPA free can crushed tomatoes, preferably San Marzano, or a 24-ounce box of San Marzano tomatoes – the 24-ounce box is the same as using the 28-ounce can  
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons (coarse or fine) sea salt, divided, plus more to taste
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 box of favorite traditional pasta, such as bowtie or orecchiette, brown rice pasta or spaghetti squash
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves, lightly packed

Let’s prep the ingredients.  Mince the garlic cloves, measure out 1 cup of wine, 2 tablespoon tomato paste, spices and salt.

Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large (12-inch) skillet over medium heat. Add the ground beef, teaspoon salt, and cook, crumbling the meat with a wooden spoon, until the meat browns, about 5-7 minutes.

Stir in the minced garlic, red pepper flakes and the dried oregano, making sure to rub the oregano between your fingers to release the oils, cook for 1-2 minutes until fragrant.

Pour 1 cup of the wine into the skillet and stir to scrape up any browned bits.

Add the can or box of tomatoes, 2 tablespoons tomato paste, and 1 1/2 teaspoons pepper, stirring until combined.

Bring the sauce to a boil. Once the sauce comes to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer for 10 minutes.

While the sauce simmers, rinse and chop the basil, measure out 1/4 cup of red wine.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of pasta to a boil, add the pasta and cook according to the directions on the box.

 Let’s finish off the sauce.

Add the 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, 1/4 cup chopped basil, and the remaining 1/4 cup wine to the sauce and simmer for 10 more minutes, stirring occasionally until thickened.

Be sure to taste the sauce and add more salt and a bit of wine to taste. I always add about 1/2 teaspoon more salt to the sauce, but this is all to individual taste.

Bolognese in a pot with wooden spoon on the side

When the pasta is finished cooking, drain it and pour it into either a large serving bowl, or the same pan that you cooked the pasta in.

  Add the sauce to the pasta and toss well to coat.

Serve the pasta up into individual bowls and top each with some fresh parmesan and basil.

Got leftovers: You can re-heat the pasta in a heavy-duty pan.  Just add a splash or two of water, give the pasta a stir, set the heat to med-low, cover and let the pasta warm up.  The water will evaporate, but will create moisture/steam for the pasta so it doesn’t dry out while re-heating.  Make sure to give the pasta a stir every so often, so that it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan.  

Since I’ve been staying away from gluten, I’ve been serving this sauce up over spaghetti squash for Steve and I and regular pasta for the kiddos. I just keep the sauce in the pan, and then everyone tops it over their carb of choice.

Bolognese with spaghetti squash.

We love serving this pasta with my crispy garlic bread.

Garlic Bread slices on a cutting board

It also pairs perfectly with my kid friendly caesar salad.

Kid friendly caesar salad

Make it simple and pair it with some roasted broccoli or a simple salad paired with my favorite lemon vinaigrette. 

The best lemon vinaigrette

With love Jackie

Weeknight Bolognese -Dairy-Free

0 from 0 votes
Recipe by Jackie
Servings

6-8

servings
Prep time

10

minutes
Cook time

30

minutes
Total time

40

minutes

    Ingredients

    • 2 tablespoons olive oil

    • 1 pound grass fed beef - I typically use 80% to 85% lean, as we like the flavor that a little fat brings to the sauce

    • 4 teaspoons minced garlic (roughly 5 cloves)

    • 1 tablespoon dried oregano

    • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

    • 1¼ cups dry red wine, divided - Make sure to use a robust and rich wine for this recipe, such as a cabernet, as the wine really brings out the flavors in the sauce

    • 1 (28-ounce) BPA free can crushed tomatoes, preferably San Marzano, or a 24-ounce box of San Marzano tomatoes - the 24-ounce box is the same as using a 28-ounce can

    • 2 tablespoons tomato paste

    • 1 to 1½ teaspoons (coarse or fine) sea salt, divided, plus more to taste

    • 1½ teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

    • 1 box of favorite traditional pasta, such as bowtie or orecchiette, brown rice pasta or spaghetti squash

    • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg

    • ¼ cup chopped fresh basil leaves, lightly packed

    Directions

    • Let's prep the ingredients. Mince the garlic cloves, measure out 1 cup of wine, 2 tablespoon tomato paste, spices and salt.

    • Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large (12-inch) skillet over medium heat. Add the ground beef, teaspoon salt, and cook, crumbling the meat with a wooden spoon, until the meat browns, about 5-7 minutes.

    • Stir in the minced garlic, red pepper flakes and the dried oregano, making sure to rub the oregano between your fingers to release the oils, cook for 1-2 minutes until fragrant.

    • Pour 1 cup of the wine into the skillet and stir to scrape up any browned bits.

    • Add the can or box of tomatoes, 2 tablespoons tomato paste, and 1½ teaspoons pepper, stirring until combined.

    • Bring the sauce to a boil. Once the sauce comes to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer for 10 minutes.

    • While the sauce simmers, rinse and chop the basil, measure out ¼ cup of red wine.

    • Meanwhile, bring a large pot of pasta to a boil, add the pasta and cook according to the directions on the box.

    • Let's finish off the sauce. Add the ¼ teaspoon nutmeg, ¼ cup chopped basil, and the remaining ¼ cup wine to the sauce and simmer for 10 more minutes, stirring occasionally until thickened.

    • Be sure to taste the sauce and add more salt and a bit of wine to taste. I always add about ½ teaspoon more salt to the sauce, but this is all to individual taste.

    • When the pasta is finished cooking, drain it and pour it into either a large serving bowl, or the same pan that you cooked the pasta in.

    • Add the sauce to the pasta and toss well to coat.

    • Serve the pasta up into individual bowls and top each with some fresh parmesan and basil.

      Got leftovers: You can re-heat the pasta in a heavy-duty pan. Just add a splash or two of water, give the pasta a stir, set the heat to med-low, cover and let the pasta warm up. The water will evaporate, but will create moisture/steam for the pasta so it doesn't dry out while re-heating. Make sure to give the pasta a stir every so often, so that it doesn't stick to the bottom of the pan.

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      17 thoughts on “Weeknight Bolognese -Dairy-Free”

        1. Whoo hooo Baker mama! It’s a pretty basic pantry sauce, I should add that to the post. I hope that Jason and the girls approve 🙂

      1. This looks really delicious. I think I’d try it with ground turkey or buffalo since I don’t’ cook with meat. Hopefully I can make this next week or this weekend! Also, nice pick of wine for the pictures. Van der Kamp is pretty close to my parents house, and I went to school with one of their son’s.

        1. Hey Kelli! The buffalo was great. I think it just didn’t have as much flavor because I used a lighter wine that I had on hand rather than the a chianti or cabernet. I know you and David will love this bolognese and it will last you two at least a week 😉 So cute that you noticed the wine label. It’s from Spell Winery and my girlfriend is a rep for them. Paradise Foods is selling the wine now! 🙂 xoxo, Jackie

      2. I love a good bolognese, this with some warm garlic bread sounds so comforting and delicious. I find I prefer most pastas as leftovers, the flavors really get a chance to come out. The only problem is my husband is not a leftover lover, so I end up having to eat the majority myself!

        1. Hi Jaclyn! What??? You’re hubby is not into leftovers? You have to train him girl, because letovers rock. I used to not be into leftovers either, but I soon realized that I didn’t like to waste food and also the leftovers we’re pretty darn good. My kids are trained now that we finish what’s in the fridge before we move onto something else. They don’t complain though. I found that when re-heating pastas they taste so much better when re-heated on the stove. The microwave makes everything taste overcoked. Try reheating some leftovers for your hubby via the stove top and see if that changes his tune! xoxox, Jackie

      3. I love Ina Garten, and bolognese! This looks delicious. The orechiette is such a great choice for pasta to hold all that yummy goodness! I love this weeknight version, comes together much quicker than a recipe I have that takes about 3-4 hours from start to finish. Guess what? Today is my dad’s birthday and I’m thinking of that near cake fail last year I had for his birthday, do you remember that story? As I’m lining my cake pans with parchment paper this year, I’m totally thinking of you, my cake savior. 😉

        1. Hi Sharon my friend! Happy birthday to your dad! Yes, I totally remember your cake fiasco last year, and I actually think that’s when we started becoming blogging buddies. I’m SO happy that we did! I’m sure you’re busy in the kitchen today whipping up a fabulous dinner to celebrate wiht your dad! Give him a big hug from me 🙂 xoxo, Jackie

      4. This was a big hit! The kids liked it and the adults thought it was delicious. I used a merlot and that worked well. Next time I will try a cab!

      5. I made this sauce tonight to go with chef fabio’s easy homemade fettuccini! AMAZING! The only changes to the sauce I made, were that I only had beaujolais wine, and I added a tsp of brown sugar to cut the acidity a bit, and used 2 whole heads of roasted garlic (we LOVE garlic) This sauce, paired with fresh homemade pasta? PERFECTION!

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