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This bison bolognese is a delicious meat sauce recipe made using ground bison, tomatoes, and Italian spices. It is savory, delicious and the perfect comfort food meal.

Bison bolognese mixed into spaghetti on a plate.

I would have to say that this bison bolognese recipe is one of my all time favorites. It is flavorful, protein packed, satisfying, and easy to make. I like using bison here because bison has less fat than beef, and tastes lighter, but it is incredibly rich and tasty.

This recipe is based off of my mother’s meat sauce recipe that I have tweaked over the years. And it is also inspired by bolognese recipes that I have tasted in Rome and Tuscany where the focus really was on the meat.

I highly recommend serving this bolognese on top of pasta and with a side arugula salad. Oh and don’t forget the tiramisu for dessert.

What makes this recipe great

  • You only need a handful of healthy real food ingredients to make it.
  • Bison is a great meat to cook with. It has less fat but better flavor than beef.
  • This recipe is high in protein. Each serving has 25 grams of protein.
  • It is versatile. You can add this sauce to pasta. You can use it to make lasagna or stuffed peppers.

Recipe ingredients

  • Ground bison– you’ll need 1.5 pounds of ground bison to make this sauce.
  • Onion– yellow onion or shallot both work well here. I prefer shallots.
  • Garlic– this gives the sauce nice flavor.
  • Carrot– this adds a sweetness that works well in the sauce.
  • Dried oregano and dried basil– these season the meat first and then the sauce.
  • Tomato paste– this adds nice tomato flavor to the sauce.
  • Strained and crushed tomatoes– I like using a mixture of strained and crushed tomatoes because it affects the taste and texture of the sauce.
  • Salt and pepper– this balances the acidity of the sauce nicely.

See recipe card below for a full list of ingredients and measurements.

Additions/ Substitutions

  • Instead of bison, you can use ground beef.
  • Instead of strained and crushed tomatoes, you can use a marinara or jarred tomato basil sauce.

Step by step instructions

Minced carrot, onion, and garlic in a pan.
Step 1

Step 1: Sautee the minced carrot, garlic and shallot in a large pan.

Bison and Italian seasoning on top of minced carrots, onions and garlic.
Step 2

Step 2: Add the bison, oregano, and basil to the pan.

Using a meat masher to mash the meat.
Step 3

Step 3: Cook the bison while cutting it into smaller pieces. I like to use a meat masher for this.

Browned bison in a pan.
Step 4

Step 4: Cook until the bison is browned.

Tomato paste mixed into the bison.
Step 5

Step 5: Add tomato paste to the browned bison.

Tomato sauce added to the bison.
Step 6

Step 6: Add crushed tomatoes, strained tomatoes, and water to the bison and simmer.

Finished bison bolognese in a laddle.
Step 7

Step 7: Simmer for 20-30 minutes, then serve.

Expert tips

  • To mince the garlic, onion and carrots at the same time, put them in a food processor. This saves a lot of time.
  • To cut the bison into smaller pieces so it can brown more easily, use a meat masher. It saves so much time.
  • If you don’t want to use crushed tomatoes and strained tomatoes, use 4 cups of your favorite marinara.

Recipe FAQs

How to you store extra bolognese?

Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.

How can you use use this bolognese?

You can put it on top of pasta, ravioli, a baked potato, or veggies.

You can also use this sauce to make lasagna or stuff peppers.

Does ground bison cook like ground beef?

It cooks very similarly and the two can be substituted for the other easily.

Bison just tastes a bit sweeter and lighter than beef.

Bison meat sauce on top of spaghetti.

Other meat recipes you’ll love

Did you try this recipe? Please leave me a ⭐ review below!

5 from 3 votes

Bison Bolognese

Servings: 6
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 35 minutes
Total: 45 minutes
Bison bolognese mixed into spaghetti on a plate.
A rich, flavorful, and super satisfying Italian meat sauce made with ground bison, which has less fat than beef. 


  • 1/2 cup minced onion, (1/2 an onion or 2 small shallots)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large carrot, minced
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1.5 lbs ground bison
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil, , divided
  • 3 Tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 cups strained tomatoes
  • 2 cups chopped or crushed tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup water
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  • Add the minced onion, minced garlic, and carrots to a large pan with 1 Tbs of olive oil and mix.  Cook over medium heat, while mixing every so often for 3-4 minutes.
  • Add the ground bison to the pan, along with the salt, black pepper, dried oregano, and dried basil. Mix, breaking up the bison into smaller pieces. I like to use a meat masher for this. Cook until the meat is browned, about 5-7 minutes.
  • Lower the heat to low medium. Then add the tomato paste to the pan and cook for another minute or so.
  • Add the strained tomatoes, crushed tomatoes, and water to the pan and mix. Let mixture simmer for 20- 30 minutes.


  • Instead of bison, you can use ground beef.
  • Instead of strained and crushed tomatoes, you can use a marinara or jarred tomato basil sauce.


Calories: 345kcalCarbohydrates: 16gProtein: 25gFat: 21gSaturated Fat: 8gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 79mgSodium: 745mgPotassium: 970mgFiber: 4gSugar: 9gVitamin A: 2175IUVitamin C: 18mgCalcium: 94mgIron: 6mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
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  1. The hubby and I recently started crossfit and as a result have started to eat a more Paleo-ish diet. Loving this recipe especially considering spaghetti bolognese is one of his favorite meals. I’m not sure if I can convince him to go the zoodles route (it’s hard for him to resist the temptation of whole wheat noodles). . .but I definitely will go for zoodles or a little spaghetti squash action in lieu of noodles.

    1. Zoodles for you, whole wheat pasta for him 🙂 Any bit of clean eating helps… Not going to lie, when I make this sauce, I eat it with zoodles one day, with pasta another. 🙂 🙂

  2. Really good. And really good food to have as a leftover for about six different meal options. What restaurant have you had your favorite Bolognese?5 stars