One of the family favourites I make over and over is my slow cooker bolognese. It might vary slightly depending on what vegetables I have to use up in the fridge, but the basic elements are always the same and my recipe makes a tasty thick sauce that my family will polish off with ease.
Now there are cold winds and the evenings are much darker, I am valuing my slow cookers even more. Coming home to a hot meal is a massive plus point for me.
When my children come home from school or go to after school activities, I love the fact I don’t have to start cooking then as I have already prepared the food earlier in the day. Any extra family time without stress is great!
If you think the slow cooker can only produce thin watery sauces, think again.
My rich flavourful slow cooker bolognese recipe isn’t artificially thickened with cornflour at the end of cooking. No need for that!
If you just keep an eye on the amount of liquid you use and remember that you can’t reduce a sauce in the slow cooker, in fact you will gain liquid during cooking as the steam does not escape, you can have great results.
If I’m busy and going to be out all day, then I’ll pop this in my slow cooker in the morning and cook for 7-8 hours on low, or if I am busy in the morning I’ll start it going at lunch time and cook for 4-5 hours on high.
When you get home or finish work, cooking a pan of pasta only takes ten to fifteen minutes and you are all set for a great family meal. Of course spaghetti is traditional for bolognese sauce but we often use pasta shells or whatever I have in the store cupboard.
It’s best to cook your pasta separately rather than adding it in the slow cooker. You’d have to add plenty of water to ensure the pasta would cook, which could result in making your sauce watery.
Add some garlic bread and green vegetables and you’re done!
I also like to make a double batch of my slow cooker spaghetti bolognese and freeze a few portions for another day.
For the quantities please see the recipe card at the end of the post.
- red onion
- pepper – red or yellow
- cherry tomatoes
- beef mince (ground beef)
- tin of chopped tomatoes
- tomato puree
- beef stock cube or stock melt/pot
- dried oregano
- dried thyme
- salt and pepper, to season
- Heat a frying pan, mist with a little oil or cooking spray, and brown off the beef mince.
- Add chopped garlic for the last minute of cooking.
- Slice the onions, peppers, carrots and put them in the slow cooker pot with the cherry tomatoes.
- Add the browned minced beef and garlic into the slow cooker pot, then pour in the chopped tomatoes, tomato puree, stock cube/pot and herbs, then season well. Stir to combine.
- Cook on low for 7-8 hours or on high for 4-5 hours.
Vary the vegetables according to what you have to hand in the fridge.
Fresh herbs add flavour – add these on top just before serving.
Freezing – bolognese sauce freezes well and is perfect for batch cooking for the freezer. On busy days you can defrost a portion of sauce or as many portions as you need for a quick meal of spag bol along with some freshly boiled pasta.
Allow to cool after cooking and then transfer the sauce to Tupperware pots or freezer bags in the portions you will need.
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Slow Cooker Bolognese Sauce
- 2 medium red onions
- 1 yellow pepper
- 200 g carrot batons
- 200 g cherry tomatoes
- 500 g pack of lean beef steak mince
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 1 tin of chopped tomatoes
- 4 tbsp tomato purée
- 1 beef stock pot or your preferred stock cube
- 1 tsp oregano
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- Salt and pepper to season
- Brown the mince in a pan misted with cooking spray or oil.
- Add the garlic for the last minute.
- Place the onions, pepper, carrots and tomatoes in the slow cooker pot.
- Add the browned mince and garlic, then add the chopped tomatoes, tomato purée, stock pot, and herbs. Season well.
- Cook on low for 7-8 hours on or high for 4-5 hours.