Can the classic meat filled red sauce get a modern update and stick to the paleo or whole 30 approved labels? Damn right it can. And this recipe for Paleo Slow Cooker Bolognese Sauce is here to show you how it’s done.
Let’s just get all truthful about somethings real quick. You know I love keeping it real.
So, when it comes to winter… and food – I am pretty much in heaven. I haven’t fired the grills up in weeks (mainly because I’ve been traveling like a mofo – though I did get to play with a Bull Grill – swanky to the max – at the World Food Championships) and have been content to curl up in hoodies and be cozy. But, I am pied out post-Thanksgiving and craving some solid healthy eats. Just because it’s sweater season doesn’t mean it’s all Cheeto’s and cheese dips.
Actually, there’s something about my soups, chilis, and slow cooker recipes that tend to be …. don’t hold me to this…. healthy. No junk food, clean ingredients, and prolly pretty ‘whole 30 approved’ or dare I say it, paleo?
Without tossing out labels, take a dig through the archives. Poke about at some flavors and see what fits your needs. I am not about sticking to one type of diet (though, the more I find myself at the gym, the more I will admit to considering it just for experimentation sake). But this Paleo Slow Cooker Bolognese Sauce is pretty money, spooned over spaghetti squash for bonus healthy points or tossed with a fine al dente pasta or ladled atop polenta if that’s what you’re feeling.
What’s Bolognese sauce anyway?
Bolognese is pretty much the definitive Italian sauce for any carnivore’s dream. Meat-based slow simmered sauce – not heavy on the liquid, but rather, a more substantial hearty sauce. Essentially it’s a basic beefed up ragu. Loaded with a finely chopped mirepoix of veggies and a variety of ground beef and fat from a bit of pork tossed in this is meant to be a thick sauce. Not to be held to comparison for thinner smoother red tomato sauces; the tomato is almost a non-consideration in classic recipes. The key is the quantity of mince – veg and meat – and the slow simmer that allows the flavors to develop and come together for the perfect balance. Now, don’t hold this one against me. This recipe isn’t grandma’s secret slow simmer Sunday best, but rather a slow cooker alternative for those looking for an easy weeknight meal or sauce to ladle between sheets of lasagna pasta.
What’s the season have you craving? Football game day noshing or something totally different? Will you keep firing up the grills or is it time to bring it back to slow braising and long roasts?
Chime In! I’m feeling chatty.
This recipe was designed to be Whole30 Approved and Paleo. For an added boost of flavor, add a touch of red to the pan - break the rules. Be wild like that.
- 3 tbsp ghee or bacon fat
- 1 onion minced
- 2 carrots minced
- 2 celery stalks minced
- 4 garlic cloves minced
- salt and pepper
- 1/2 teas red pepper flakes omit if you don't like a bit of heat
- 1 teas fresh oregano finely chopped
- 1 teas fresh thyme finely chopped
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 1/4 teas freshly grated nutmeg
- 1 lbs ground beef, lean
- 4 oz whole 30 approved bacon or pancetta browned and chopped fine
- 1/2 -1 cup coconut milk start with 1/2 cup and adjust as needed
- 1 teas arrowroot powder if needed
- 2 28 oz cans fire roasted diced tomatoes strained, liquid reserved
- 1 bay leaf
Heat the ghee or bacon fat in a large skillet and saute the onion, carrots, and celery until tender, 5 to 7 minutes.
Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
Stir in the salt, pepper, red pepper, oregano, and thyme. Add the tomato paste and stir to coat, cooking 2 or 3 minutes. Stir in the nutmeg and add the mix to the slow cooker.
Brown the ground beef in the now empty skillet. Add to the slow cooker.
Add the cooked bacon or pancetta, coconut milk (with arrowroot powder stirred in if needed to thicken), strained fire roasted diced tomatoes, and the bay leaf to the slow cooker. Stir all to combine.
Cover and cook on low for to 7 hours. For the last half hour, remove the lid and allow the sauce to thicken.
Serve over oven-roasted spaghetti squash or (break those paleo rules) polenta, or thick pasta.