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You Won’t Believe it’s TOMATO-FREE Ragu Bolognese (AIP-Friendly)

Tomato-Free Ragu Bolognese

Tomato-Free Ragu Bolognese

If kids can learn how to make a simple Bolognese sauce, they will never go hungry. It’s pretty easy to cook pasta, but a good sauce is way more useful. (Emeril Lagasse)

Until just over a year ago, when I started on this Autoimmune Protocol caper, I’d been trying to teach the teenager how to make a good Bolognese sauce for quite some time. I reckon’ everybody should have a good Bolognese recipe in their repertoire…

The thing is, a good Bolognese takes time to cook properly. Hours. And, the teenager likes food that is more immediate…

And then, I started the protocol. And my lovely BEST EVER Ragu Bolognese became naught but a memory. Because, a good Bolognese is traditionally made with tomatoes.

Until now…

This week is all about Ragu Bolognese here at Casa TSL. And, my personal mission to create an AIP-friendly version of this winter staple. In other words, without tomatoes.

And, I’ve cracked it! In fact, LM says this even trumps the original tomato-based version. Bold words!

In addition to my beetroot and pumpkin-laden Tomato Passata Replacement, this number also has the added benefit of both bone broth and chicken livers. Not only does it taste great, but you can be sure you’re getting some good gut repairing bone broth and a big hit of vitamin A from the liver. It’s a great way to sneak some more liver into your diet if you’re a little funny about offal…

The thing about bolognese is that, while it does take a long time to come to its full flavour potential, because you’re making a large amount, you have enough for a big crowd. In fact, once you portion it up and pop it in your freezer, there’s easily enough for eight to ten in this recipe.

And, with Bolognese in your freezer, you have a seriously good meal only minutes away.

Spaghetti is love. (Mario Batali)

TSL Tomato Free Ragu Bolognese and Zoodles
Tomato Free Ragu Bolognese on Zoodles
aka green spaghetti!
(Image by LM for TSL)

We served ours over oodles of zoodles (zucchini noodles) this week. But it could just as easily have been placed into lettuce cups with some avocado and coriander (cilantro). Or, served over lightly steamed veggies.

TOMATO-FREE Ragu Bolognese
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: The Main Event
Serves: Serves 8-10
  • About 500g grass-fed Beef mince
  • About 500g happy pork or veal mince
  • Coconut oil (or fat of choice)
  • About 225g happy chicken livers
  • 2 medium onions (chopped)
  • 4 large cloves of garlic (minced)
  • About 150g happy speck (or pancetta), chopped
  • 800mls of my tomato-free passata
  • 500ml beef bone broth (preferably home-made!)
  • Fresh herbs of choice (basil, parsley or whatever you have to hand)
  • Salt & Pepper (omit pepper if in elimination stage of AIP)
  • Sea Vegetables (Optional, but so good for you! I use this one)
  1. Heat your oven to 140°C/275°F
  2. Heat your largest frying pan over a medium heat. Add a generous dollop of coconut oil. Gently fry the onion and garlic until softened – about ten minutes. Give it a stir every now and then.
  3. Add the chopped speck to the pan and cook for another 5 minutes. Transfer to a large casserole (my beloved le Creuset holds just over 4 litres).
  4. Add some more coconut oil to the pan and turn the heat up to high. Add the minced beef in batches to brown. I use a wooden fork to break it up in the pan. Add the cooked mince to the casserole. Repeat until all your beef is browned.
  5. Do the same with the pork mince. While the pork mince is cooking, rinse the chicken livers and pat them dry with a paper towel. Trim off any sinew and chop them into teeny-tiny pieces.
  6. Once the pork is browned and transferred to the casserole, heat a little more coconut oil and briefly brown the chicken livers. Add these to the casserole.
  7. Place the casserole over a direct medium heat and give everything a good stir. Add the tomato-free passata, bone broth and a generous seasoning of good salt and freshly ground pepper. Add the sea vegetables, if you are going to. Go on – dare you!. Stir again and allow to come to a simmer.
  8. Add the chopped leaves of about half a bunch of basil or parsley, stir and place the casserole in the oven (without a lid) for 3½ hours. I give it a stir every hour or so. You should end up with a thick, unctuous meaty sauce with only a teeny bit of liquid.
  9. Check for seasoning and add the remaining half bunch of your herbs.
  10. When the sauce has cooled, divide it up. I use my scales and measure out 250g portions which serves two.


E N J O Y !

This recipe features in the Phoenix Helix Recipe Roundtable 


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Comments (21)

I wasn’t convinced – no tomatoes?? but as per usual, it looks delicious xx

K – I know its hard to believe. But, LM honestly reckons this is better than my tomato based ragu… So, as a stand in, its a real winner.

Can’t tell you how happy I am to have these wee packets of ragu in my freezer…!

I wish those little packets were in my freezer. You might have to start a food line to package and post to me… Kx

Chicken livers and bone broth in the same recipe! Jackpot!!!

You got it, PI! 🙂

…just add fermented veg’!

Looks so tasty…I have a tough time finding organic chicken liver though…. I HAVE to give it a try though…..

Good luck on the chook livers!

As an Italian food lover, I cannot wait to give this a try. I’ve been really missing the nightshades! For all of the US people, is beef, pork, veal mince the same as ground meat??

Hey Christine – Yes! Mince is your ground meat (think ‘minced meat’). – And, I so get missing nightshades!

This recipe is a very hybridised version of Delia Smith’s Ragu Bolognese. So, it is not very ‘wet’. If you prefer a wetter sauce, just add a little more bone broth.

Do let me know how you go!

You have not yet tapped into all the gifts you have to share with the world! Have you ever thought of offering cooking classes? Or a cook book, at the very least – published, that is.
Seriously, you could cook for a living (yes, and get paid to do it).
Not one recipe from you has ever been a flop!
Deeply appreciate you’re graciousness in sharing your talents with those of us desperately seeking help with meal ideas.
Here, one assured of always finding something nutritious, and yummy! (My family still cannot believe they’re eating AIP! – SO GOOD!!!)
Thank you! 🙂

Marla – you gorgeous woman! You just made my day with your lovely comment. Thank you!

I’m so glad you are enjoying the recipes – they are what I cook 🙂

Joanna, question, you mention sea vegetables in your recipe, but there is no link. Will you share what you use? Thanks so much! And YUMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM!

This is one of my favourites! 🙂

As for sea vegetables, my favourite is wakame. It’s available online and through most healthfood stores here in Australia.

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