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Spaghetti bolognese in a white plate.

Slow Cooker Bolognese Sauce

An easy to make and healthy slow cooker Bolognese sauce. This recipe makes a large batch. Great to feed a small crowd or freeze for convenience.
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Prep Time : 30 mins
Cook Time : 6 hrs 10 mins
Total Time : 6 hrs 40 mins
Course : Mains
Servings : 16 x ½ cup servings
Calories : 153 : kcal
Author : Harriet

EQUIPMENT

  • 6 litre slow cooker

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 x 800 grams canned whole tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves crushed (or 1 tablespoon garlic paste)
  • 450 grams onions diced (2 large onions)
  • 100 grams stalks of celery finely chopped (2 stalks)
  • 240 grams carrot finely diced (1 medium carrot)
  • 900 grams lean ground beef
  • 4 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 cup of full cream milk
  • 1 cup red wine or chicken stock or beef stock
  • 3 beef stock cubes crushed (or 3 teaspoons beef stock powder)
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire Sauce
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 3 teaspoons dried basil leaves
  • 1 dried bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • teaspoon nutmeg
  • 2 large red chillies or 2 teaspoons red pepper flakes optional
  • 1 teaspoon salt + extra for seasoning after cooking
  • ½ teaspoon pepper

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Open the cans of tomatoes and a pour into a sieve that has been placed over a large bowl and drain away most of the juice. Keep the drained juices for later.
  • Place the drained tomatoes into the slow cooker, and mash them until they break into tiny pieces.
  • Next, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large frypan over medium heat. Add onion, celery and carrot. Fry and stir constantly for about 5 minutes or until all the vegetables have softened. Add the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds. Transfer to the slow cooker.
  • Heat the remaining oil in the same fry pan over a high heat. Add the ground beef and cook until brown, use a wooden spoon or spatula to break it into smaller pieces as it cooks. Add the tomato paste and cook for 1 minute more.
  • Add the milk, bring to a boil and cook over a medium/high heat until the milk has reduced and there is very little liquid left. This will take about 10 minutes.
  • Add the wine, bring back to the boil and cook until most of the wine has evaporated, this will take about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and transfer to the slow cooker.
  • Add the stock cubes, Worcestershire sauce, oregano, basil, bay leaves, sugar, nutmeg, red chilli (if using), salt and pepper into the slow cooker. Stir well. The mixture should not look dry, it should look like a thick with just a little bit of liquid.
    If it looks dry add some of the reserved tomato juice. If the sauce looks soupy don’t worry, it can be fixed toward the end of cooking.
    Note: Keep the remaining tomato juice until after you have finished cooking the bolognese sauce, you may need it.
  • Put the lid on and cook on low for 6- 7 hours or high for 3 – 4 hours. In the last 1 hour of cooking, check the sauce. If it looks soupy, continue to cook with the lid off to allow the excess liquid to evaporate. If the sauce looks too dry add some more of the reserved tomato juice and cook for the remaining time.
    The finished sauce should be thick and slightly moist. Taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary. Serve with pasta,

Notes

This recipe makes about 2 kg of bolognese sauce. Any left over bolognese sauce can be frozen, or used to make lasagna. 
Nutrition Facts
Slow Cooker Bolognese Sauce
Serving Size
 
1 x ½ cup serving
Amount per Serving
Calories
153
% Daily Value*
Fat
 
5
g
8
%
Saturated Fat
 
2
g
13
%
Cholesterol
 
36
mg
12
%
Sodium
 
499
mg
22
%
Potassium
 
514
mg
15
%
Carbohydrates
 
10
g
3
%
Fiber
 
2
g
8
%
Sugar
 
5
g
6
%
Protein
 
14
g
28
%
Vitamin A
 
2738
IU
55
%
Vitamin C
 
17
mg
21
%
Calcium
 
66
mg
7
%
Iron
 
3
mg
17
%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Nutrition Disclosure