Easy Weeknight Bolognese
Wasn’t it Monday a hot second ago? It feels like we’re in a time warp, with homework, sports and activities reaching a fever pitch. You (and I) need easy and nutritious dinners more than ever. Enter weeknight bolognese to save the day!
Consider this a one-and-done dinner since it’s packed full of vegetables. But if you’re an over-achiever, serve the sauce over wilted spinach or zucchini noodles. A side salad would take it one step further, and no one in your family will realize just how many vegetables they’ve consumed. If they only knew!
Whole30 Adaptable, Paleo and Gluten-Free
Make this Whole30 compliant by omitting the Parmesan rind and serving the hearty sauce over mashed cauliflower rice or mashed Whole 30 potatoes. Or dust off your Instant Pot and make a batch of baked potatoes filled with bolognese. You can thank me later.
Give this a try as soon as possible, I promise it will become a new favorite in your house. The food processor is key, it breaks up the vegetables and incorporates them into the sauce. And although I’m calling this a “weeknight” dinner, it’s delicious enough to serve to dinner guests.
My all-time favorite bolognese recipe will always be Marcella Hazan’s, but “mom life” dictates shortcuts from time to time. And shortcuts that are this healthy and delicious deserve a parade. Happy (almost) weekend, friends. Hang tough! Friday is almost here.
Easy Weeknight Bolognese
- 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
- ½ yellow onion chopped
- 1 carrot chopped
- 1 celery stalk chopped
- 1 yellow squash chopped
- 1 zucchini chopped
- 1 red pepper chopped
- 1 28- ounce can of organic crushed tomatoes
- 2 pounds ground beef preferably grassfed
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1- inch piece of Parmesan rind
- In a large high-sided sauté pan over medium heat, warm 2 tablespoons olive oil. Sauté the vegetables for 5-10 minutes until softened. Add the can of crushed tomatoes and let simmer until warm.
- Transfer the vegetable mixture to a food processor and purée until smooth. Set aside.
- In the same pan you use to sauté the vegetables, pour a drizzle of olive oil and allow it to heat up. Add the beef to the pan, breaking up with a wooden spoon, and sprinkle generously with salt.
- After the beef loses it’s raw red color, add the vegetable mixture to the pan. Stir to combine, adding the Parmesan rind to the pan. If the beef needs to be broken up into smaller pieces, use a pastry blender or a potato masher to break it up in the pan.
- Taste for seasoning. Cover and simmer on low until ready to serve. Before serving, discard the Parmesan rind.
If you make too much of the veggie mixture, can I freeze it and for how long would you recommend?
Yes! Go ahead and puree the vegetable mixture with the tomatoes, and then store in a freezer bag or glass container for 3-4 months. If you want to make another batch of this bolognese down the road, just put the frozen veggie mixture in the fridge the night before you want to use it.
My family (very picky boys) loves this and the fact that it is loaded with veggies is still a HUGE secret. I’ve made it with summer squash, but I didn’t like the way it looked at the =market the last time, so I used butternut squash. That turned out great, so this time I’m using eggplant because my garden is going gang busters. This is in my weeknight meal rotation!
I love hearing this so much! And also love the idea of making this with butternut squash instead of summer squash this time of year…yum! Thank you for the idea…