Amazing Bolognese Sauce

Many years ago I was perusing the Pioneer Woman’s recipes online. Her recipes almost always look mouth-watering, though she isn’t stingy with the oil, cheese, heavy cream, etc. All things I’ve avoided in large quantities with my cooking over the years.

I am ever on the hunt to make delicious meals in a way that is less caloric or high fat, if at all possible. I’m not fat phobic, but I figure if something tastes completely wonderful and is lower in calories, why not have it that way?

This recipe is based on Pioneer Woman’s Ryan’s Bolognese Sauce, a recipe in which you saute some veggies in…get this…one half CUP of olive oil! What the heck??

Why in the world would you need to cook a few grated carrots and some onions in that much oil? No way, baby. So, I use around 1.5 to 2 TBSP of oil. I also cut the ground beef to 1 pound instead of 2. I don’t use whole milk either.

Other than those changes, I more or less follow the recipe directions. I’m not sure if the method really makes a big difference, but I’m not going to change a good thing. I’ve made this sauce for literally YEARS and I never tire of it.

It makes a huge quantity for a family of two, and we usually manage 6 or more meals out of it. I freeze in meal-size portions and use for traditional spaghetti as well as stuffed shells.


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Amazing Bolognese Sauce

Completely and unbelievable delicious (and healthy) meat sauce. My all-time favorite! This is adapted from The Pioneer Woman's recipe (Pastor Ryan's Bolognese Sauce).
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 10


  • Good knife or food processor
  • Large sauce pot or Dutch oven
  • grater


  • 2 TBSP olive oil
  • 1 lb lean ground beef or other lean ground meat
  • 1 cup carrot, chopped fine or shredded
  • 1 large red onion, chopped fine
  • 1 sm can tomato paste
  • 5-6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1.5 cups red wine
  • 2 TBSP Worschestershire sauce
  • 2 28 oz cans tomato puree
  • 1 cup 1% milk
  • 1 TBSP each dried oregano, Italian seasoning, & basil
  • salt and pepper to taste


  • Heat oil in a large Dutch oven or sauce pot over medium heat. Add grated carrots and onions and cook for a few minutes. Make a well in the center of the mixture, and then add in the ground beef. Cook for a few minutes until brown, gradually stirring it into the carrot mixture.

  • Add oregano, Italian seasoning, and basil. When the meat is browned and combined with other ingredients, make another well. Add tomato paste and let it heat. Add garlic and stir to combine.

  • Make a well in the center of the mixture and add red wine. Stir together. Add Worcestershire and stir, then add 2 cans tomato puree.

  • Finally, pour in milk, stir, and let simmer for one to 2 hours—or longer.

I serve it over spaghetti noodles, OR, something new I have tried is bean pasta. I was somewhat skeptical at first, but bought a small box of Barilla brand chickpea rotini. It is a single ingredient food…just chickpea flour. It’s not particularly light on calories (about the same as noodles), but it’s high in fiber and has 11 grams of protein per 2 oz serving.

I found it surprisingly delicious with the sauce over it, and I’m pretty picky.

Give it a try and let me know what you think in the comments!

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