Instant Pot Bolognese

This hearty Instant Pot Bolognese is packed with veggies and  freezes amazingly — so eat half and freeze the leftovers for a busy night! 

Instant Pot Bolognese pasta and sauce in a bowl with cheese and parsley for garnish

Bolognese.

Bolo-nayze. Bolo-neez. Bolo-nyay-zay. Bolo-neezy-fo-sheezy. No matter which way you say it, someone will correct you — at least that’s been my experience. Personally, I prefer the Italian pronunciation, “bolo-nyay-zay” (and hello, it’s an Italian dish… why wouldn’t you say it that way?) but the hubs prefers the more Italian-American, “Bolo-nayze.”

Naturally, we both think the other person says it wrong so, after devouring our big bowls of bolo-nyay-zay and downing a couple glasses of wine last night, I did what all annoying spouses do during a heated dispute… I pulled out my iPhone and asked Siri. Of course, Siri had no friggin’ clue what I was talking about so I deferred to Google, but even Google couldn’t give me a straight answer.

Instant Pot Bolognese pasta and sauce in a bowl with cheese and parsley for garnish

So, what do you say we all agree to disagree? Bolo-nyay-zay, bolo-neez. Tomayto, tomahto, okay? Or, do like our toddler and just call it meat sauce. All that really matters is how insanely easy and delicious it is — and that your kids will devour it.

Believe it or not, this hearty meat sauce is also packed with veggies and freezes amazingly well, which is great because it makes a sh*tload. Like, unless you’re the Brady Bunch, you’re probably gonna have leftovers. We usually eat half and freeze half for another night when my mom game is off.

Instant Pot Bolognese pasta and sauce in a bowl with cheese and parsley for garnish

If you don’t yet have an Instant Pot (affiliate link!), you can absolutely still make this on the stovetop, or even in a slow cooker. It’ll just take longer and may require more pots and pans. The beauty of the Instant Pot Bolognese is that you can saute, pressure cook and simmer all in the same. damn. pan. This of course means less mess and a faster cook time which is EVERYTHING when you’ve got hangry kids hanging on your pant legs after a long day at work.

Put it over noodles, zoodles, or make lasagna with it. Heck you can even eat it with a spoon all by itself. Ask me how I know.

Instant Pot Bolognese sauce in a pot with cheese and parsley for garnish on the side
Print
Recipe

Instant Pot Bolognese

This hearty Instant Pot Bolognese is packed with veggies and freezes amazingly — so eat half and freeze the leftovers for a busy night!

  • Prep Time:
    20 min
  • Total Time:
    1 hour
  • Makes:
    12 cups 1x
  • Prep Time:
    20 min
  • Total Time:
    1 hour
  • Makes:
    12 cups 1x
  • Ingredients

    • 1 tablespoon olive oil
    • 2 cups diced yellow onion (about 1 large onion)
    • 3/4 cup diced carrots (about 3 large)
    • 3/4 cup diced celery (about 3 large stalks)
    • 3 cloves garlic, minced
    • 4 tablespoons tomato paste (½ small can)
    • 1 pound lean ground beef
    • 1 pound sweet Italian sausage, casings removed (certified GF if necessary)
    • Kosher salt + freshly-ground black pepper
    • 1/2 cup red wine (optional but recommended)
    • 3 (15-ounce) cans fire-roasted crushed tomatoes
    • 1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce
    • 22 ½ teaspoons dried Italian seasoning (or a mix of dried basil, oregano, thyme, rosemary etc.)
    • ⅓ cup heavy cream or half-and-half (omit for dairy-free)
    • Cooked pasta (tagliatelle, pappardelle, rigatoni, or your favorite pasta)
    • Grated Parmesan & fresh chopped parsley for topping

    Instructions

    1.  Sautè the onions, carrots, and celery, then add tomato paste & garlic. Set Instant Pot to SAUTE – NORMAL (MEDIUM). Add olive oil and, once hot, add onions, carrots, and celery, and cook until softened, about 8-10 minutes. Add tomato paste and garlic and cook until tomato paste is brownish in color, about 1-2 minutes.
    2. Brown the ground beef and sausage. Add ground beef and sausage and season with about ¾ teaspoon kosher salt and ½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper. Sauté for 5-6 minutes, breaking up meat with a fork or spoon, until most of the meat lightly-browned with just a little pink remaining.
    3. Deglaze with the red wine. Turn the Instant Pot to SAUTE – HIGH, add the red wine (if using) and scrape any brown bits from the bottom. Cook 2-3 minutes, or until most of the wine has evaporated.
    4. Add tomatoes, tomato sauce and seasoning. Stir in crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, and Italian seasoning (or dried herbs). Bring to a simmer.
    5. Cover and pressure cook on LOW. Put the lid on the Instant pot, seal, and set the unit to PRESSURE COOK – LOW for 10 minutes.
    6. Quick release the pressure and simmer. Switch the Instant Pot to SAUTE – LOW and simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes more, stirring frequently until the sauce has thickened to the desired consistency.
    7. Add half-and-half and serve. Stir in heavy cream or half-and-half, or omit for a dairy-free sauce. Serve over cooked pasta or zoodles with plenty of freshly-grated Parmesan cheese and a sprinkling of parsley, if desired.

    Notes

    Favorite Equipment

    Ingredient Notes

    • Fire-roasted tomatoes — Any fire-roasted tomatoes will do. Have diced or whole? Use an immersion blender to “crush” them before adding to the pot.
    • Leftover tomato paste — This recipe uses about ½ of a small can of tomato paste. Freeze the leftovers in an ice cube tray for another recipe!
    • Leftover parsley — Make this quick, nutritious and freezer-friendly Kale Parsley Pesto next!

    Ingredient Prep

    • Dice onion, carrots, celery & mince garlic; store in the fridge up to 5 days

    Little Helpers

    Involving little ones can decrease picky eating and increase appetite and willingness to try new foods. Here are a few ways they can help: 

    • Toddlers — Wash celery and carrots; remove sausage from casing; add ingredients to pot
    • Little Kids — Peel carrots; measure Italian seasoning, tomato paste etc.
    • Big Kids — Open cans; dice celery, carrots, and onion; chop parsley

    Nutrition

    • Serving Size: 1 cup (1/12th of recipe)
    • Calories: 229
    • Sugar: 6 g
    • Sodium: 807 mg
    • Fat: 9 g
    • Saturated Fat: 3 g
    • Carbohydrates: 10 g
    • Fiber: 1 g
    • Protein: 15 g
    • Cholesterol: 39 mg

    Did you make this recipe?
    We wanna see!

    Tag @modminimalism on Instagram and hashtag it #modernminimalism

    If you make this Instant Pot Bolognese recipe be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating! Ratings and comments help other busy parents and families discover this recipe, plus I love to hear from you and always do my best to respond to each and every comment.

    Oh and if you do make this recipe, don’t forget to share a photo and tag me on Instagram so I can share with our community!

    Pin this Recipe

    Author: Elle Penner M.P.H., R.D.

    I'm Elle, Registered Dietitian and minimalism-obsessed mama with a thing for simplifying, particularly when it comes to clutter, calendars, and family meals. Favorite things include carbs, cooking, kid-free workouts, and high-waisted yoga pants.

    Leave a Comment

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    • This recipe is DELICIOUS. So simple to make and plenty leftover to freeze for a busy night. My family scarfed it down. Thank you for a great recipe. It’s a new family favorite!