Summer Countertop Slow Cooker Bolognese

Most gardeners know the struggle this time of year to get those fresh veggies off the countertop and into meals before the fruit flies (and this year, ants) find them and carry them off. This variation on bolognese makes use of whatever you have on your countertop along with a pound or two of ground beef and some tomato paste. Traditionally bolognese is prepared for many hours on the stovetop but these hot days and a lack of time to tend a pot makes this slow cooker variation the way to go. If you have the time and would like to sauté your onions and brown your beef before adding to the crockpot you can. But the simplicity of this recipe lets you simply dump all the raw ingredients into the slow cooker in the morning, mix and cook on low all day and enjoy the dish at the end of a long workday.  Adding nutmeg makes the sauce taste less like a marinara and more like a dish that will get your tastebuds ready for the warming flavors of fall. Serve over pasta or gluten-free pasta with a healthy topping of Parmesan cheese and sprinkled with fresh herbs like basil, oregano and thyme.



There is really no need to measure any ingredients since the point of this sauce is to use what you have available.  Just throw it all in!

I used:

Grass-fed ground beef, one package

several cloves of garlic

about 5 small red onions

one or two carrots

Chanterelle mushrooms

about four large tomatoes and a handful of smaller, sweeter cherry tomatoes

one 6 ounce can of tomato paste

nutmeg, salt, pepper, basil, oregano, thyme


Mince the garlic, chop the onion, shred the carrots, slice the chanterelles and dice the tomatoes. Add to the crock pot along with the uncooked ground beef. Add about 1 teaspoon nutmeg, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Toss in any herbs, saving some for garnish.  Mix thoroughly with your hands or a spoon.  Set your slow cooker on low and cook for 6 hours or longer. About 30 minutes before serving (when you are getting ready to prepare your pasta) stir in the can of tomato paste if you’d like.  This will thicken the sauce nicely. Taste and season with more salt or pepper before you pile it high on top of your pasta. Top with Parmesan and a garnish of herbs and enjoy the flavor of a long cooked sauce from the ease of the slow cooker. I didn’t get a good picture of this prepared dish because we gobbled it up before I remembered!