What can I use instead of Bolognese sauce? Ragu is the best substitute for Bolognese if you want a similar meat-based sauce and flavor. However, you can use tomato-based sauces like Marinara, Pomodoro, and Arrabbiata to replace Bolognese sauce. Then, consider using Carbonara sauce instead of the tomato flavors for a creamy taste.
Ragu Alla Bolognese is the essence of Italian comfort food. It’s a long-simmering, hearty meat sauce with an aromatic base of vegetables like onion, carrot, and celery. Then, the body consists of ground meat (beef and pancetta) and a braising liquid of white wine, stock, and tomato puree. However, Italian cuisine offers a wide variety of rich and delicious sauces that you can use to substitute Bolognese sauce.
The Best Bolognese Sauce Substitutes
Ragu is an iconic meat-based Italian sauce made from meat, vegetables, broth, pureed tomatoes, heavy cream, red wine, herbs, and spices.
Ragu and Bolognese sauce bear many similarities, except for wine variety, heavy cream, and consistency. So, you can use ragu and Bolognese sauce interchangeably in most recipes.
Ragu has a slightly thicker consistency than Bolognese sauce. However, you can use it to replace Bolognese with lasagna, tagliatelle, spaghetti, and any other pasta variety.
Ragu will perfectly sit on the pasta dish without creating a messy puddle.
Bolognese sauce and ragu both take 4 to 6 hours to prepare. You can substitute Bolognese sauce for ragu using equal amounts.
Marinara Sauce (Red Sauce)
Marinara sauce is another hallmark of Italian cuisine. Marinara sauce packed with tomatoes as the base ingredient and seasoned with garlic, onion, olive oil, red wine, Italian herbs, and tomato paste.
While marinara is a meatless sauce, you can use it to substitute Bolognese sauce.
You can serve marinara as an acidic tomato sauce or add ground beef to replicate Bolognese sauce closer. Marinara is delicious in lasagna, zucchini lasagna, pizza, pasta bake, and baked ziti with meatballs.
Marinara takes around 30 minutes to cook compared to 4 to 6 hours of Bolognese sauce. You can substitute Bolognese sauce for marinara using equal amounts.
Pomodoro sauce is a straightforward Italian sauce made using olive oil, onions, garlic, peeled tomatoes, basil, sugar, and kosher salt.
Pomodoro and Bolognese sauce share many ingredients. However, Bolognese includes ground beef, and Pomodoro doesn’t.
You can serve Pomodoro sauce atop various types of pasta. Alternatively, add meatballs, ground beef, or minced meat to your pasta and sauce for a meatier taste, like Bolognese sauce.
Pomodoro takes around 30 minutes to cook compared to 4 to 6 hours of Bolognese sauce. You can substitute Bolognese sauce for Pomodoro using equal amounts.
Arrabbiata is a spicy Italian sauce from tomatoes, garlic, and dried red chili cooked in olive oil.
You can use the arrabbiata sauce as an Italian alternative to Bolognese sauce for an extra punch to your pasta dish.
You can use the arrabbiata sauce for any pasta, from baked pasta, lasagna, spaghetti, and vegetable noodles.
Arrabbiata takes around 30 minutes to cook compared to 4 to 6 hours of Bolognese sauce. You can substitute Bolognese sauce for Arrabbiata using equal amounts.
Carbonara sauce is worlds apart from Bolognese sauce, but you can use it as a creamy substitute if you don’t like the acidity of the tomatoes in Bolognese sauce.
Carbonara is rich, creamy, and comforting. It is made with egg, guanciale (or pancetta and bacon), and cheese.
You can add carbonara sauce atop long pasta noodles like traditional spaghetti, linguine, and tagliatelle.
Carbonara takes around 30 minutes to cook compared to 4 to 6 hours of Bolognese sauce. You can substitute Bolognese sauce for carbonara using equal amounts.