The other night I was craving a hearty meal I could make with the pound of ground beef I had defrosted. My go-to with ground beef is classic tomato, but I wasn’t feeling it this time, and I realized I wanted something seasonal and nourishing. And lo and behold, this Pumpkin Bolognese was born!
Table of Contents
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
This sauce is SO smooth and delicious, and perfectly hearty for a weeknight meal. You cook the beef and the veggies/sauce all in the same pot, which I love, and the warming flavors of cinnamon and sage are perfect for fall.
The coconut milk lends creaminess to this soup, and once it’s all poured over a gluten-free pasta, you’ll be savoring every bite.
And it’s Whole30-friendly!
To make this Pumpkin Bolognese you’ll need the following:
- veggies: onion, carrots, celery
- liquids: chicken broth (or veg broth), apple cider vinegar, coconut milk, olive oil
- herbs/spices: sage, cinnamon, salt, pepper
- protein: ground beef
- pasta (your choice; see below*)
*I served this over red lentil pasta, or we’ve used the Cappello brand gnocchi as well. Both choices make this meal gluten-free; Cappello brand is almond-based, and the red lentil pasta is nut-free and adds even more protein. I’ve found this brand to be our family favorite.
How to Make Pumpkin Bolognese with Gluten-Free Pasta
The first step to making this bolognese is to dice your veggies, and then cook the beef. Add a tablespoon of olive oil to a large sauce pan or deep skillet over medium heat. Add the beef and saute for about 8-10 minutes, breaking it up with a spatula into small bits. The goal is to have it no longer be pink, but take care not to brown it too much. Transfer the meat to a small bowl.
In the same pot, add another tablespoon of olive oil and add the onions, carrots, celery, salt, and pepper, and saute for about another 10 minutes, or until the vegetables are soft and fragrant. Add the beef back into the pan along with the chicken broth and apple cider vinegar, and simmer until the liquid is reduced to a small amount (about 10 minutes).
Add the pumpkin and coconut milk to the pot, along with the cinnamon, sage, and a bit more salt and pepper, stir, then adjust the heat to low and cover. Simmer until the flavors are all well combined, about 30-45 minutes. Check on it after about 25 minutes to be sure it’s not drying out; if so, add about 1/4 cup of water. Taste, and adjust seasonings if needed.
About 20 minutes before the sauce is done simmering, bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook the pasta according to the instructions on the package. Strain, then add to a large bowl and toss with the Pumpkin Bolognese sauce. Top with fresh sage leaves and (optional) grated Parmesan cheese or Pecorino Romano (my personal favorite), and enjoy.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I use something other than coconut milk?
Yes, you can use unsweetened cashew milk. If you don’t need it to be dairy-free, you can use whole milk.
How do I store leftovers?
You can store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-5 days. Reheat by placing it in a pot over medium heat until heated through (you can add 1/4-1/2 cup of water, since the sauce will have thickened).
You can also freeze any leftover sauce (without the pasta) in an airtight container for up to 3 months.
If you love gluten-free pasta recipes, try my Sweet Potato Gnocchi or my Butternut Squash Ravioli. And if you made this recipe, I’d love it if you could rate it, and leave a comment letting me know how you liked it!