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tongs in a pasta bolognese pan

Beef Bolognese Sauce Recipe

Hearty and meaty, this delicious Bolognese sauce recipe is a comforting and aromatic dish that’s packed with flavor, made with lean ground beef and veggies, and cooked to perfection.
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 25 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 35 minutes
Servings 8 servings
Calories 448kcal
Author Rena


  • 2 large carrots roughly chopped
  • 2 stalks celery roughly chopped
  • 1 large yellow onion roughly chopped
  • 3-4 garlic cloves
  • 2 tbsp olive oil or any other oil
  • Kosher salt & ground black pepper to taste
  • 1.5 lb lean ground beef
  • 6 oz tomato paste one can
  • 28 oz crushed tomatoes one can
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth beef or vegetable broth will work
  • 3-4 sprigs fresh rosemary chopped
  • 10-12 sprigs fresh thyme leaves picked
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 parmesan rind
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan
  • 16 oz pasta of choice whole-grain, gluten-free if needed, or lentil pasta


  • Place the carrots, celery, onion and garlic to a food processor and pulse to chop. If you don’t have a food processor with a chopping option then you can finely dice them by hand.
  • Heat oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add the chopped veggies and sauté for 3-4 minutes, or until softens.
  • Bring veggies to the sides of the pan and add in the middle add the ground meat. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Allow the meat to cook undisturbed for 3-4 minutes, until it develops a golden crust.
  • Using a wooden spatula start to stir into the meat, mincing it at the same time. Stir to combine the meat with the sautéed veggies, and continue to cook for 8-10 minutes.
  • Add the tomato paste, crushed tomatoes and broth. Mix well to combine.
  • Stir in the herbs and parmesan rind.
  • Reduce the heat to low and partially cover the pan. Simmer the bolognese sauce, stirring occasionally, for 60 minutes.
  • Just before the sauce is ready, cook the pasta in salted water according to package instructions. Reserve 2/3 cup of the pasta water, then drain.
  • Remove and discard the bay leaves from the sauce.
  • While the sauce is still on the heat, add cooked pasta, starchy water and grated parmesan. Toss well to combine and coat.
  • Turn the heat off and divide the bolognese pasta to serving bowls.
  • Garnish with extra parmesan if desired and ground black pepper and serve immediately.



  • Use the leanest ground beef available. 
  • Any oil will work
  • Broth: we used chicken broth. but you may sub with beef or vegetable broth
  • Pasta: any pasta will work, use your favorite. For a low carb option, you may serve your beef bolognese with zoodles.
  • Don’t be tempted to skip any of the vegetables. The three of them play off each other: the carrots add sweetness, the onions add sharpness, and the celery adds a savory component. 
  • Don’t skip the parmesan rind. While it’s too tough and hard to eat, it adds a ton of flavor to the dish when simmered. Be sure to fish out the parmesan rind at the end.
  • A good substitute for parmesan rind would be Pecorino Romano and Gruyère
  • Don’t have fresh garlic? Use one tablespoon of garlic powder.
  • Allow the amount of time to simmer down for the best flavors. 


Calories: 448kcal | Carbohydrates: 59g | Protein: 33g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 58mg | Sodium: 487mg | Potassium: 1078mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 3658IU | Vitamin C: 19mg | Calcium: 161mg | Iron: 6mg