Kokkinisto, a Greek Red Sauce for Different Meats

Beef kokkinisto over rice
Sofia Gk / Flickr / CC By 2.0
Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 105 mins
Total: 2 hrs 5 mins
Servings: 6 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
613 Calories
49g Fat
6g Carbs
33g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6
Amount per serving
Calories 613
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 49g 63%
Saturated Fat 10g 51%
Cholesterol 101mg 34%
Sodium 156mg 7%
Total Carbohydrate 6g 2%
Dietary Fiber 1g 5%
Protein 33g
Calcium 34mg 3%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Kokkinisto (in Greek: κοκκινιστό, pronounced koh-kee-nee-STOH) is a Greek term used when tomatoes are the base for a sauce for meat. The word means "reddened," since the meat turns red when cooked in the sauce. This sauce can be used for chicken, beef, pork, veal, and lamb. And because the long cooking time and sauce ingredients help tenderize even the toughest cuts of meat, the meat doesn't have to be expensive. This sauce is also used for meatballs.

With just a few simple ingredients such as your choice of meat, onion, tomatoes, tomato paste, red wine, and seasonings, this recipe can easily be put together. And with 1 1/2 to 2 hours of unattended cooking time, kokkinisto is the perfect recipe to make on a weekend and keep on hand for a quick dinner on a busy weeknight. It is delicious served over rice, potatoes, or pasta and only needs a salad to make a complete meal.


  • 1 1/2 pounds meat of choice
  • 1 cup of olive oil, divided
  • 1 medium-large onion (finely chopped)
  • 1/2 cup of dry red wine
  • 2 cups of tomatoes (chopped, fresh or canned, or concentrated tomato juice)
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • Pinch of freshly ground pepper
  • 2 to 3 ​bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon of tomato paste

Steps to Make It

  1. Cut meat into serving-sized pieces (larger than bite-sized) or form into meatballs.

  2. In a stew pot, sauté the onion over medium heat in 2 to 3 tablespoons of the oil until translucent.

  3. Add remaining oil and raise the heat; add the meat, browning on all sides.

  4. Add the wine and stir to bring down the temperature in the pot.

  5. Add tomatoes, salt, pepper, bay leaves, and tomato paste and stir until well blended.

  6. Lower heat and simmer partially covered for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, until the meat is tender.

  7. Add a little more water if the sauce begins to dry.

  8. Remove bay leaves and serve.

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