top of page
  • Writer's pictureMara Shanahan

Bolognese Sauce (Whole30, Paleo)

As I type this post, a big pot of rich, tomatoey, meaty Bolognese Sauce is simmering on my stove top. It's a cold, wintry day (again!) and the garlicky and oniony smells are permeating my tiny house. It smells so good.

This twist on the classic sauce is Whole30 and Paleo compliant as written, but if you're not following those diets and you're OK with dairy, it can be easily swapped out to make this more akin to the traditional recipe.

My version also calls for 2 pounds of ground beef, but you could make it with any type of ground meat, or sub out one of the pounds of beef with ground Italian sausage, if you can find some that is Whole30 compliant (i.e. without sugar). I get my ground beef and my ground Italian sausage from Butcher Box, a subscription delivery service for delicious, sustainably sourced, meats. If you're interested in a subscription to Butcher Box, use my code for $30 off a box!

I serve this savory sauce over spaghetti squash or with zucchini noodles when I am on a round of Whole30, but I also like it over traditional or gluten-free spaghetti, or as the sauce for a lasagna. Mangia!


Course: Main course

Cuisine: Italian

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 2-3 Hours


  • 10 medium-sized Roma tomatoes

  • Drizzle of Extra Virgin Olive Oil

  • Sprinkle of Sea Salt

  • 1 Tbsp. Ghee (or use butter if not on Whole30)

  • 1 Tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil

  • 2 large carrots, minced

  • 2 large celery ribs, minced

  • 1 large red onion, minced

  • 6-8 cloves garlic

  • 2 lbs. Grass-fed ground beef (or any meat of your choice)

  • 6-8 slices pre-cooked bacon, chopped (make sure it's sugar-free)

  • 1 40 oz jar of marinara sauce (I like Rao's brand. Use any kind that you like. Be sure to check the ingredients if on Whole30)

  • Dash of Nutmeg

  • 2 Bay Leaves

  • Zest of 1 lemon

  • Juice of 1/2 lemon

  • 2/3 cup unsweetened, unflavored almond milk (or use whole milk if not Whole30)

  • Salt & Pepper to taste


1. Pre-heat oven to 425°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment. Slice Roma tomatoes in half and place skin-side down. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with sea salt, and roast for ~25 minutes, or until the bottoms are lightly browned, like so:

2. While the tomatoes are roasting, mince your onion, carrots, celery, and garlic.

3. In a big pot or dutch oven, melt the ghee. Add the olive oil. Add the chopped onion, carrots and celery and let cook for about 10 minutes, stirring every couple minutes.

4. Add the garlic, stir, and let cook for 2 minutes.

5. Add your ground meat, stirring and chopping until it's browned. Drain any excess fat.

6. Chop the cooked bacon and add to the pot.

7. Dice the roasted tomatoes (carefully! They're probably still hot and they'll be very juicy!) and add to the pot.

8. Add the remaining ingredients: jarred sauce, lemon zest and juice, nutmeg, 2 Bay leaves, milk, and salt & pepper. Give it all a good stir, turn down the burner to low and let simmer, covered, for 2-3 hours to really let the flavors meld.

9. Remove the 2 Bay leaves and serve as desired. This recipe makes a lot and is great for freezing in batches!

82 views1 comment

Recent Posts

See All
Post: Blog2_Post
bottom of page