Shredded Beef Ragu Recipe

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Shredded Beef Ragu Recipe with Pappardelle with a fork on plate with basil and parmesan on the table. It's so easy to make and has a thick meaty texture and a super rich delicious flavor.

This is my easy, made-for-busy-moms Shredded Beef Ragu Recipe!  It has a thick meaty texture and a super rich delicious flavor.  It’s made with beef chuck, so it’s affordable and easy to work with.  It’s made without wine, but instead gets that acidic backdrop from Balsamic Vinegar.  And it’s easy for busy moms because it’s made in a slow cooker!  Just toss all ingredients in, set for 6-8 hours, shred the beef, and that’s it!

Shredded Beef Ragu Recipe with Pappardelle on plate with parsley, basil, parmesan, and bread on the table. It's so easy to make and has a thick meaty texture and a super rich delicious flavor.

EASY DINNER TO FREEZE FOR LATER!

This recipe makes a ton of sauce that freezes and then cooks up again deliciously!  That means it’s perfect for getting multiple meals out of.  Simply cool and then freeze the portion you want to save.  It will keep in your freezer for up to 4-6 months.  Click here to get more freezer dinners: Five 5-Ingredient Freezable Dinners – with Grocery List!

Here are some other recipes that are great for freezing:

Shredded Beef Ragu Recipe with Pappardelle with a fork on plate with parsley, basil, parmesan, and bread on the table. It's so easy to make and has a thick meaty texture and a super rich delicious flavor.

Quick note!  This post contains affiliate links, which means I earn a commission (at no extra cost to you) if you purchase from them.  This commission is what helps me keep this blog afloat :).  But, I also share these links because I have used the products, genuinely love them, and want you to know exactly what I used. 

EQUIPMENT NEEDED

I made this recipe in a slow cooker. However, you could also make it in the oven in a dutch oven or any or any good quality enameled cast iron 5-6 quart dutch oven or small roasting pan with a lid. For the oven, you will want to cook it for 2-3 hours at 400 F degrees until the meat is fall apart tender.

PREP-AHEAD STEPS FOR YOUR BEEF RAGU RECIPE

We are all extremely busy and making dinner during the week can be overwhelming. Here are the steps you can prepare in the day(s) ahead. (Full recipe is below)

The prep for this recipe is to dice the onions and carrots, as well as to mince the garlic.  The rest of the ingredients are simply measured out and then added to the slow cooker insert.

Can I substitute red wine for the Balsamic Vinegar?

Yes, you can add red wine to this recipe and then will want to eliminate the balsamic so the ragu is not too acidic.  If you want to add wine, you can reduce the 2 cups of broth to 1.5 cups and then replace the reduced amount of 1/2 cup with wine.  Or add 1 cup of broth and 1 cup of wine for even more wine flavor.  I would use a good dry red wine that you enjoy drinking.

Are there any other cuts of beef that can be used?

The beauty of this dish is that you can use a less expensive tough cut of meat used for stew and it gets really tender and delicious.  If you want to make this even more decadent, you could use boneless short ribs in this instead.  Just cut them into cubes so they cook evenly and get as tender as possible.  

COOK YOUR BEEF RAGU RECIPE 

This is the easiest part!  Just put all of the ingredients into the slow cooker, mix to combine, and then set the slow cooker to 6 or 8 hours, depending on your schedule.

Raw beef cubes in pot for Shredded Beef Ragu Recipe with Pappardelle. It's so easy to make and has a thick meaty texture and a super rich delicious flavor.

Raw beef cubes, diced onion, and diced carrots in pot for Shredded Beef Ragu Recipe with Pappardelle. It's so easy to make and has a thick meaty texture and a super rich delicious flavor.

Pouring pureed tomatoes over raw beef, diced onion, carrots, and other ingredients in pot for Shredded Beef Ragu Recipe with Pappardelle. It's so easy to make and has a thick meaty texture and a super rich delicious flavor.

2 bay leaves on top of ingredients in pot for Shredded Beef Ragu Recipe with Pappardelle. It's so easy to make and has a thick meaty texture and a super rich delicious flavor.

When the beef is done cooking and is fall apart tender, scoop all of the cubes out of the sauce and shred them. Leave your Slow Cooker on the warm setting. Once shredded, add it back to the sauce in the slow cooker.

2 forks shredding cooked beef for Shredded Beef Ragu Recipe with Pappardelle. It's so easy to make and has a thick meaty texture and a super rich delicious flavor.

2 forks shredding cooked beef for Shredded Beef Ragu Recipe with Pappardelle. It's so easy to make and has a thick meaty texture and a super rich delicious flavor.

Adding cooked shredded beef to sauce in pot for Shredded Beef Ragu Recipe with Pappardelle. It's so easy to make and has a thick meaty texture and a super rich delicious flavor.Cook your pappardelle pasta in a large pot of water with a large pinch of salt. Follow package instructions. Cook to al dente and then strain the pasta.

While the pasta is cooking, you can give the fresh parsley a rough chop and either tear the basil into pieces or roll the leaves and slice across to chiffonade it.

Mix the pasta and some of the sauce. Serve and garnish with the basil, parsley, and parmesan. 

ENJOY!  😍 Carrie

Shredded Beef Ragu Recipe with Pappardelle with a fork on plate with parsley, basil, parmesan, and bread on the table. It's so easy to make and has a thick meaty texture and a super rich delicious flavor.
Shredded Beef Ragu Recipe with Pappardelle with a fork on plate with parsley, basil, parmesan, and bread on the table. It's so easy to make and has a thick meaty texture and a super rich delicious flavor.
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Slow Cooker Shredded Beef Ragu Recipe

This is my easy, made-for-busy-moms Shredded Beef Ragu Recipe!  It has a thick meaty texture and a super rich delicious flavor.  It's made with beef chuck, so it's affordable and easy to work with.  It's also a beef ragu without wine, but instead gets that acidic backdrop from Balsamic Vinegar.  And it's easy for busy moms because it's made in a slow cooker!  Just toss all ingredients in, set for 6-8 hours, shred the beef, and that's it! #beefragu #meatsauce #ragurecipe #easyfamilydinners #dinnerideas #slowcooker #crockpot

Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Keyword Beef, beef sauce, pasta, pasta sauce, ragu, slow cooker
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 6 hours
Servings 10 servings
Calories 876 kcal
Author Carrie Tyler

Ingredients

Ragu Ingredients

  • 2 1/2-3 lbs Beef chuck roast, cubed
  • 1 Medium onion, diced finely
  • 1 cup Carrots, diced finely
  • 6 cloves Garlic, minced
  • 2 cup Beef broth
  • 3 Tbsp Tomato paste
  • 2 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
  • 28 oz Crushed Tomatoes
  • 2 Bay leaves
  • 1 tsp Dried Thyme
  • 1 tsp Sugar
  • 2 tsp Salt or to taste
  • 2 tsp Ground Black Pepper

Pasta and Toppings (serves 10, so reduce by half if you will freeze half of the ragu)

  • 40 oz Uncooked Pappardelle pasta (4oz dried per serving)
  • 1 small bunch Fresh Basil leaves
  • 6 oz Grated or Shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1 small bunch Fresh Italian Parsley (optional)

Instructions

Prep Ahead Steps

  1. Finely dice the carrots and onions. Mince the garlic cloves.

Make the Ragu

  1. Put all ingredients into the slow cooker pot, starting with the beef chuck cubes, then adding all of the other ingredients. Mix to combine. Store in the fridge overnight to cook in the morning or move on to the next step.

    Pouring pureed tomatoes over raw beef, diced onion, carrots, and other ingredients in pot for Shredded Beef Ragu Recipe with Pappardelle. It's so easy to make and has a thick meaty texture and a super rich delicious flavor.

Cook your Beef Ragu and Pasta

  1. In the morning, set your slow cooker to 6 or 8 hours, depending on your schedule.

  2. When the beef is fall apart tender, scoop all of the cubes out of the sauce and shred them. Leave your Slow Cooker on the warm setting. Once shredded, add it back to the sauce in the slow cooker.

    Adding cooked shredded beef to sauce in pot for Shredded Beef Ragu Recipe with Pappardelle. It's so easy to make and has a thick meaty texture and a super rich delicious flavor.
  3. Cook your pappardelle pasta in a large pot of water with a large pinch of salt. Follow package instructions. Cook to al dente and then strain the pasta.

  4. While the pasta is cooking, you can give the fresh parsley a rough chop and either tear the basil into pieces or roll the leaves and slice across to chiffonade it.

  5. Mix the pasta and some of the sauce. Serve and garnish with the basil, parsley, and parmesan. Enjoy!

    Shredded Beef Ragu Recipe with Pappardelle with a fork on plate with parsley, basil, parmesan, and bread on the table. It's so easy to make and has a thick meaty texture and a super rich delicious flavor.

Recipe Notes

You could also make this recipe in the oven by braising the beef with the same exact ingredients in a dutch oven in the oven for 3-4 hours until the beef is pull apart tender.

Ground Chicken Greek Meatballs!

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Ground Chicken Greek Meatballs on a plate with Tzatziki sauce over rice. Baked meatballs in back. These meatballs have garlic, feta, parsley, and oregano

Ground Chicken Greek Meatballs are so moist and bursting with big flavors from garlic, feta, parsley, and oregano.  You can make them ahead and freeze for months.  Then simply bake for 25-30 minutes and enjoy!  Paired with a tangy and bright Tzatziki sauce and served over your favorite side, it’s the perfect dinner!

I mentioned that you can make these meatballs ahead and freeze them. I highly recommend doubling up on this recipe and immediately freezing half of the meatballs for another week or even month! If you like that idea, try these other Five, 5-Ingredient Freezable Dinners – with Grocery List!

Ground Chicken Greek Meatball on fork dipped in Tzatziki sauce over rice. Baked meatballs in back. These meatballs have garlic, feta, parsley, and oregano

Meatballs are a versatile Family Dinner!

If you’ve followed my recipes for a while then you know how much I love meatballs for dinner.  If not, welcome to my meatball world!  And when I say ‘world’ I really mean taking a trip around the world with Meatballs.  They are easy to make tons for family dinners and fill them with flavors from different cuisines.  

Here are links to some of my favorite Meatball Recipes:

Ground Chicken Greek Meatballs on a plate with Tzatziki sauce over rice. Baked meatballs in back. These meatballs have garlic, feta, parsley, and oregano. 

Quick note!  This post contains affiliate links, which means I earn a commission (at no extra cost to you) if you purchase from them.  This commission is what helps me keep this blog afloat :).  But, I also share these links because I have used the products, genuinely love them, and want you to know exactly what I used. 

EQUIPMENT NEEDED

Nothing special for this one! Just a large sheet pan (I use a 17×11).

Oh, mincing garlic is made super easy with a Garlic Press.

PREP-AHEAD FOR YOUR GREEK MEATBALLS

We are all extremely busy and making dinner during the week can be overwhelming. Here are the steps you prepare in the day(s) in advance and store in the fridge as your meal Kit… (See the full recipe below)

For this recipe, you can prep all of the ingredients: mince the garlic, chop the parsley, slice the scallion, zest and juice the lime.  Follow the recipe for the details on this prep.  

One of the most fantastic things about these meatballs (aside from the taste) is that you can make them ahead.  To make the meatballs, just add the ground meat and all of the ingredients to a large mixing bowl and combine.  Then form meatballs using a heaping tablespoon of mixture for each.  Place them on a sheet pan lined with parchment or aluminum for easy clean-up.  Of course, you do not need to line the pan, but if not, then coat the bottom with olive oil.

Ground Chicken Greek Meatball ingredients in a bowl.  Baked meatballs in back. These meatballs have garlic, feta, parsley, and oregano

Ground Chicken Greek Meatball ingredients in a bowl.  These meatballs have garlic, feta, parsley, and oregano

Ground Chicken Greek Meatball ingredients in a bowl.   These meatballs have garlic, feta, parsley, and oregano

Raw Ground Chicken Greek Meatballs on a pan.  These meatballs have garlic, feta, parsley, and oregano

Can I swap another Meat for the Chicken?

Yep! Let start with chicken, as there are different kinds within the ‘chicken category’ to know about. There different types based on how the chickens are raised. I prefer the free-range chicken with no antibiotics used. This will be found on the label. Just because it says organic, doesn’t mean it was free range.

There are also different cuts used for the ground chicken, such dark meat cuts (thighs, legs) or white meat (breast). The white meat is leaner. Some ground chicken is a mix and some will say white meat only. I used 99% lean white meat ground chicken. However, you use any ground chicken variety.

You could use ground beef at any fat content you prefer (80%, 90%, etc.). Same thing applies to beef as with chicken. There is grass-fed, no-antibiotics, no hormones, etc. And of course you can use ground turkey.

Can I use other Fillings for Greek Meatballs?

I’ve tested many different ingredients in meatballs and for this recipe I really love this combo. That said, you can certainly make some swaps if you need or want to. I used dried oregano for big Mediterranean flavor in a small amount. I use fresh parsley mostly for color and a touch of freshness. You could use dried Italian seasoning or dried basil instead using the same measurement as the oregano. You could also swap the parsley for fresh baby spinach. Consider wilting the spinach down first in a sauté pan and then squeezing out the excess water before adding it to the meat. You could add up to ½ cup wilted spinach to the meat mixture.

How can I make these meatballs Gluten Free?

You could swap the breadcrumbs with parmesan cheese or even gluten free breadcrumbs.   

MAKE YOUR TZATZIKI!

You have prepped most of the ingredients above per the recipe, so now it’s on to the cucumber.  For my Tzatziki, I love a lot of crunchy cucumber.  You can certainly add less if you want, such as only 1/4 of a cucumber.

Cucumbers are 95% water! 

Yes, that’s right!  So, cucumbers are a great snack during the hot summer months for helping you to stay hydrated.  But, you must squeeze out the water before adding the cucumber to your sauce because it will make your sauce very watery and separate on you.  Of course, you can save that cucumber water for a smoothie or lemon water or even a cocktail! 

I use my grater vs. a food processor for the cucumber shredding process, as it’s quick with minimal clean up.  

Grating cucumber for Tzatziki sauce to go with Chicken Greek Meatballs. These meatballs have garlic, feta, parsley, and oregano.

Grating cucumber for Tzatziki sauce to go with Chicken Greek Meatballs. These meatballs have garlic, feta, parsley, and oregano.

Once you have your cucumber grated, transfer it to a clean towel and squeeze the water out, then add it to the yogurt with the rest of the Tzatziki ingredients and stir to combine.

Grated cucumber squeezed in a towel for Tzatziki sauce to go with Chicken Greek Meatballs. These meatballs have garlic, feta, parsley, and oregano.

Excess water from grated cucumber squeezed in a towel for Tzatziki sauce to go with Chicken Greek Meatballs. These meatballs have garlic, feta, parsley, and oregano.

Ingredients in a bowl for Tzatziki sauce to go with Chicken Greek Meatballs. These meatballs have garlic, feta, parsley, and oregano.

COOK YOUR CHICKEN GREEK MEATBALLS & QUINOA

Preheat the oven to 400 F degrees. Place the meatballs on an oiled sheet pan and bake in the oven for 15 on one side. Then remove and flip the meatballs over to get browned on the other side. Bake for another 10 minutes.

Baked Ground Chicken Greek Meatballs on a pan. These meatballs have garlic, feta, parsley, and oregano

ENJOY! 😍 Carrie

Ground Chicken Greek Meatballs on a plate with Tzatziki sauce over rice. Baked meatballs in back. These meatballs have garlic, feta, parsley, and oregano. 

Ground Chicken Greek Meatballs

Ground Chicken Greek Meatballs are so moist and bursting with big flavors from garlic, feta, parsley, and oregano.  You can make them ahead and freeze for months.  Then simply bake for 25-30 minutes and enjoy!  Paired with a tangy and bright Tzatziki sauce and served over your favorite side, it's the perfect dinner! #chickenrecipes #chickendinners #easydinnerideas #meatballs #chickemeatballs #greekmeatballs

Course Main Course
Cuisine Greek
Keyword feta, Meatballs, tzatziki
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Servings 24 meatballs
Author Carrie Tyler

Ingredients

Meatballs

  • 16 oz Lean Ground Chicken raised without antibiotics ground turkey is good too
  • 2 cloves Garlic minced
  • 3 tbsp Parsley Chopped
  • 1 tsp Oregano
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Fresh Ground Pepper
  • 1 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 Egg, large
  • 1/4 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup Feta, crumbled

Tzatziki

  • 1 cup Plain Greek Yogurt
  • 1 tbsp Scallion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove Garlic, minced
  • 1 Lime (all zested, half juiced)
  • 1/2 English Cucumber, medium-sized
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Black Pepper

Instructions

Prep Ahead Steps

  1. You need 1 large mixing bowl for the meatball mixture and 1 small bowl. Place the ground chicken into the large bowl. Place the yogurt into the small bowl.

  2. Mince the 3 cloves garlic, 2 go into the large mixing bowl with the chicken and 1 goes into the small bowl with the yogurt.

  3. Chop parsley and add it to the chicken in the large bowl. Slice the scallion greens and add them to the yogurt in the small bowl.

  4. Zest the Lime and add it to the yogurt. Juice half the lime into the yogurt.

  5. For the meatball mixture in the large bowl, add the rest of the ingredients: the ground chicken, egg, oregano, salt, pepper, and breadcrumbs. Mix to fully combine all ingredients.

  6. Then form meatballs by scooping a heaping tablespoon of the mixture and rolling it in your hands. Place them on a sheet pan lined with parchment or aluminum for easy clean-up.  Of course, you do not need to line the pan, but if not, then coat the bottom with olive oil.

  7. Using a grater on the medium grate size, grate the cucumber with the skin on. Transfer the cucumber to a clean towel so that you can squeeze the water out of the cucumber before adding it to the yogurt.

  8. If you are not eating the Tzatziki within the next day, then I mix the yogurt sauce without the cucumber and store the cucumber in a separate bowl lined with paper towel to soak up any additional water that comes out of the cucumber. When you are ready, add the cucumber plus salt and pepper to the yogurt, then mix the ingredients into the yogurt. Cover and store in the fridge.

Cooking Steps

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 F degrees. Place the meatballs on an oiled sheet pan and bake in the oven for 15 on one side. Then remove and flip the meatballs over to get browned on the other side. Bake for another 10 minutes.

  2. Finish the Tzatziki sauce by mixing the shredded cucumber to the yogurt and mix to combine. Serve with the meatballs and ENJOY!