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A deep, flavorful bolognese, aka red sauce with meat, that has slow cooked for eight hours allowing the flavors to blend into the perfect spaghetti topping. Filled with bright tomatoes and spicy Italian sausage, this is the best sauce you’ll ever make–AND with the least amount of effort. And, this makes a ton and freezes beautifully–so you can enjoy it more than once with effort only once.
If I had an Italian grandma I would picture her slowly stirring a pot full of red sauce all day long. Unfortunately, I don’t have an Italian grandma, and I don’t have time myself to sit and stir a pot all day long while flavors meld to make the perfect sauce. But, that doesn’t mean I’ve given up my dream of having the quintessential sauce. Thankfully, I have a slow cooker/crock pot that does the work for me!
I love making this recipe on week days, because there’s no browning, or pre-cooking. I simply add the ingredients to my slow cooker, put the lid on and walk away for eight hours. When I’m ready to eat, I only have to boil my gluten-free noodles, and add some fresh basil as a garnish. Easy and flavorful!
Plus, there’s no crazy ingredients. I found all of these ingredients at Wal-Mart. Be sure to get the Basil, Garlic and Oregano Hunt’s diced tomatoes for even extra flavor. For those not familiar with buying fresh herbs, I found mine in the produce section, along the back wall.
Long before Hunt’s sponsored this post, I used them as a trusted canned ingredient. I’ve noticed that many generic brands have the warning “May contain…” and then go on to list lots of potential cross contamination. I like the simplicity of Hunt’s ingredients and have used them forever. I try to cook from scratch as much as possible, but feel that canned tomatoes are something that are totally worth using!
You’ll notice that I use coconut cream to make this dairy-free. Don’t worry–I’m not a fan of coconut flavor, and you can’t taste it at all. It simply helps it be creamy, and helps cut the acidity of the tomatoes.
This recipe makes quite a bit–which I was more than OK with. What is it with Italian food and getting better with time? I relished the leftovers for two days, and I swear it got better each time. So, have company over, enjoy the leftovers, or this freezes beautifully! Frozen bolognese sauce has definitely saved me when I’ve been sick, or too busy to cook and the boys still need dinner.
Lastly, I want to share a money-saving kitchen hack. I don’t know about you, but I’ve never encountered a recipe that uses more than a few tablespoons of tomato paste. Even though the tomato paste cans are small, I still feel bad tossing the rest of the can. So, what I do, is measure 1 tablespoon at a time and place it in an ice cube tray. Since it’s such small portions, it only takes a few hours to freeze. I then move the perfectly portioned tomato paste into a freezer-safe bag and keep it in the freezer. That way, the next time I make bolognese, sloppy joes…or anything else with tomato paste, I have it ready to go and don’t have to buy a whole can again!
Eventually I’ll be a grandma, I won’t be Italian, but perhaps I’ll fool my grandchildren because I’m sure I’ll be making this recipe for generations to come! I hope you enjoy this recipe too, because there’s nothing as satisfying as a big bowl of pasta with a super, savory sauce.
If you’re looking for other time saving recipes using canned goods, you can check out:
Yes You Can Recipes.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 large carrot, finely diced
- 1 yellow onion, finely diced
- Kosher salt and cracked black pepper
- 3 tablespoons Hunt's Basil, Garlic and Oregano tomato paste
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- ⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ½ cup dry red wine
- ⅔ cup full fat coconut cream
- Two 28-ounce cans Hunt's Basil, Garlic and Oregano crushed tomatoes
- 1 pound Italian sausage
- Gluten-free pasta, for serving
- Fresh basil for garnish
- Pour all of the ingredients in a slow cooker, except for the pasta and fresh basil. Using a potato masher, break apart the meat and incorporate all of the ingredients. Place a lid on the slow cooker, set to low and allow to cook 6-8 hours.
- When you're ready to eat, boil your favorite gluten-free pasta according to the directions. Top the pasta with generous amounts of sauce and garnish with fresh basil. Enjoy!
Adapted from Kelsey Nixon.