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This Gluten Free Ragu is the perfect pasta dish for the whole family, made in the slow cooker and with a mixture of beef mince and sausage meat.
It's meaty, rich and delicious and is perfect for throwing together in the morning ready to enjoy in the evening.
The flavours really benefit from the long, slow cook and I love serving it with gluten free spaghetti, pasta or even gnocchi.
Ragu is similar to a bolognese, but the sauce has less of a tomato base and plays on the richness of the beef stock.
But if you love my gluten free bolognese then you have to try this gluten free ragu next.
The two sauces are similar but my ragu uses sausage meat as well as beef mince, and has less tomato in the base.
Both are equally delicious with pasta but I find this ragu pasta sauce is a great budget option.
It cooks beautifully in the slow cooker (but I have instructions for the hob too) and you can portion it out and freeze it too.
Ingredients and Substitutions
There's a full printable recipe card below, but here's an idea of the main ingredients and any substitutions:
- Vegetable Base - The base of this ragu uses onion, celery and carrot with chopped garlic, lightly fried in olive oil. This makes what is known as a 'sofrito'. The word means 'slightly fried' which is exactly what creates such a rich base of flavour for this recipe. You can omit any of the veg if you like but I really recommend using all three - if you're not a fan of certain veg you can chop them up super small!
- Beef Mince - The meat in this dish comes from a mixture of beef mince and sausage meat. I like to use at least 10% fat as the lower fat ones have less flavour. Y
- Gluten Free Pork Sausages - Most supermarket sausages tend to be gluten free in the UK, but not all of them. Always double check to make sure the sausages you're using are safe.
I love Lincolnshire sausages in this recipe but just a plain ol' pork sausage will work great. The Sainsbury's Taste The Difference ones are my go-to but Tesco, Lidl, Asda, Aldi, Morrisons and brands like Heck all have plenty of gluten free sausages to choose from.
- Passata - Unlike a bolognese which also uses chopped tomatoes, this sauce uses a little passata for the sauce. This adds flavour and colour without too much tomato!
- Red Wine - I absolutely love using wine in cooking but if you prefer to omit this, you can use the same quantity of boiling water instead.
- Knorr Rich Beef Stock Pot - You can get a variety of gluten free stock pots and cubes but for me you can't beat the Knorr Rich Beef ones! They add such a big, beefy flavour to this and they're certified gluten free too.
- Herbs - I flavour this dish with dried thyme and rosemary, which I use in a lot of my cooking so you can definitely find recipes for the excess! I love the flavours of these herbs but basil or oregano would also work well if you prefer these.
Don't forget the full printable recipe is in the card below and you can use any kind of gluten free pasta you like for serving this dish.
The recipe is naturally dairy free too, so you don't need to make any substitutions there which is fab!
Which slow cooker do you use?
I use a Crockpot 3.7-litre slow cooker I was gifted from a family member - I think this is the newer model of mine.
I know a lot of people are worried about the cost of living and looking for cheaper alternative to turning on the gas or electric oven.
The good news is slow cookers are actually pretty efficient to run!
I've done a bit of research online and it looks like a slow cooker costs roughly 16p a day to run, compared to 87p a day for an electric cooker.
What if I don't have a slow cooker?
You can easily cook this gluten free beef ragu on the hob if you don't have a slow cooker.
Follow the initial steps of browning the vegetables and then the meat.
Instead of adding them to the slow cooker, simply pour in the extra sauce ingredients, bring to a boil and then place the lid on.
Simmer on a low heat for 45-50 minutes, stirring once or twice during this time, before serving up.
But ultimately this recipe is made for the slow cooker so I'd definitely recommend it as the best and most efficient way to make it!
How to make a slow cooker, gluten free ragu
Making this slow cooker ragu sauce is honestly the easiest thing - particularly as most of it involves just leaving it to do it's thing.
I firstly recommend browning the veg base, before browning the beef mince and sausage meat.
This can then all be added to the slow cooker with the other ingredients and left to meld into the most beautiful sauce.
Do I have to brown the veg and meat first?
I love a 'dump and go' slow cooker recipe as much as the next person, and usually this is the way I use my slow cooker.
However, with this gluten free ragu, it's imperative you brown the veg and meat first as it adds a really deep, rich flavour.
You'll also find if you don't brown the mince and meat it can go a bit 'mushy' and make the sauce very watery.
I much prefer the outcome when you brown it first. It's only 5-10 minutes' extra effort but it's a million-times worth it!
My gluten free ragu recipe
Here it is, my easy gluten free beef and pork ragu - a budget-friendly, gluten free recipe the whole family will love.
This makes enough for six portions, making it super cost-effective and great for batch cooking and freezing any leftovers.
It's so simple to make and with just a tiny bit of prep in the morning, you can leave it to slow cook all day and come back to the most amazing dinner.
And please do leave a review to let others know you loved it too! It would mean the world to me.
- 1 large onion
- 1 large carrot
- 1 celery stick
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 650g beef mince (at least 10% fat)
- 6 gluten free pork sausages
- 2 tsp chopped garlic
- 500ml passata
- 150ml red wine
- 1 Knorr rich beef stock pot
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 1 tsp dried rosemary
- Salt and Pepper
- Finely chop the onion, carrot and celery. Add to a large frying pan with the olive oil and place on a medium-low heat. Fry for 5-7 minutes until the veg has softened and starts to go a little brown. Be patient here - if you cook it fast you'll just burn it!
- Add the vegetables to the slow cooker. Add the beef mince to the same pan and fry for 4-5 minutes on a high heat until browned. Pour into the slow cooker.
- Remove the skins from the sausages and then add to the same frying pan. Fry on a high heat, 'mashing' the meat up into mince with a spatula, for 4-5 minutes until browned. Pour into the slow cooker.
- Add the rest of the ingredients to the slow cooker and mix well. Place the lid on and cook on high for 4 hours or low for 6-8 hours. Serve with gluten free pasta.
- This is a great recipe for batch cooking - portion it up and allow to cool completely before freezing for an easy meal another night.
- Don't be tempted to skip the frying! I love a 'dump and go' recipe as much as the rest of them, but you'll find the mince will go kind of mushy and have nowhere near as much flavour if you skip this part.
- No slow cooker? Check the blog post above for instructions on how to cook this on the hob.
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Need more slow cooker recipe inspiration?
Here are some more gluten free slow cooker recipes you can try out once you've made this slow cooked Gluten Free Ragu.
If you have any recipe suggestions, please let me know in the comments what you’d like to see next!
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