Easy Bison Bolognese

It’s time to get back to basics – with bison! This classic Bolognese sauce swaps out traditional beef for ground bison making it a leaner, healthier alternative to a weeknight staple. Whole San Marzano tomatoes are crushed with onions and garlic to make a savory sauce perfect for topping everything from linguine to gnocchi.

Easy Bison Bolognese

Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Keyword ground bison
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 4 hours
Total Time 4 hours 30 minutes
Servings 8 Servings


  • 32 oz Great Range Premium Ground Bison
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup onion - minced
  • 1/2 cup carrot - minced
  • 1/2 cup celery - minced
  • 4 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons garlic - minced
  • 3 tablespoons parsley + more for topping - finely chopped
  • 4 tablespoons basil - finely chopped
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese + more for topping
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 28 oz San Marzano tomatoes in sauce (can sub whole tomatoes in sauce)
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon salt + more to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper + more to taste
  • 1 cup reserved pasta water
  • cooked pasta - for serving


  1. Melt two tablespoons of butter in a sauce pot over medium-high heat. Add the ground bison to the pot and stir to break up the meat and begin browning.

  2. When about half of the bison is cooked through, move the meat to the sides of the pan to leave the middle exposed. Then add in the onion, carrots, and celery. Stir to combine.

  3. After about 5-10 minutes, the onions should have softened. Add in the tomato paste. Stir well to distribute the tomato paste. Cook for 5-10 more minutes.

  4. Next stir in the garlic, parsley, and basil. Stir to combine then pour in the milk. Stir in the grated parmesan. Simmer for 20-30 minutes until the liquid of the milk has cooked off, stirring often. You should be able to pull the spoon through the meat and have little to no liquid in the pan. 

  5. When the milk has cooked off, deglaze the pot with the red wine. Simmer until most of the liquid has evaporated again, another 15-20 minutes.

  6. Add the San Marzano tomatoes to the pot. Use a spoon to break up the tomatoes into the sauce. Stir in the Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper to taste.

  7. Cover and simmer for 3-4 hours on a low simmer, stirring occasionally. The Bolognese should thicken and darken slightly as it cooks.

  8. When the sauce has simmered for at least 3 hours, uncover and reduce the heat to low. Keep simmering and uncovered while preparing the pasta according to the instructions on the box. When the pasta has finished cooking, reserve 1 cup of pasta water.

  9. Stir in the remaining two tablespoons of butter into the sauce along with the reserved pasta water. Simmer for 10-15 minutes, until thickened.

  10. Serve topped with fresh parsley and shredded Parmesan cheese with garlic bread and salad on the side. Enjoy!

Recipe Notes

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