I have cooked endless volumes of Bolognese sauce and they always vary slightly in what goes in them but what doesn’t change is the fact I religiously pack out the Bolognese with extra vegetables. Hence why I’ve called this 50/50 bolognese. Half nutritious vegetables and half traditional minced beef. I find these sorts of meals the very easiest way to get veggies into even the fussiest of eaters and I really don’t think you notice they’re even there! For the truly fussy eaters amongst us, you could grate the vegetables to get the same nutritious benefit but deceptively hidden away.
What I love most about a Bolognese is it’s versatility. Use in a traditional spag Bol, a lasagne, as a sauce for gnocci or you can even twist it into a chilli con carne with some chipotle chilli paste and the addition of some red kidney beans. I’d even eat this on toast or a baked potato topped with cheese for a speedy supper!!! We cooked this most recently, added to individual baking dishes and topped with sliced halloumi before grilling until golden brown and served with chunks of garlic bread. It doesn’t get much better than that....
However you use it, you could double or triple the recipe, whack in the freezer in small portions and you always know you’ve got something good waiting for you even if you’re short on time.
Makes 4-5 portions
Takes 40 minutes
2 tbsp rapeseed oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 courgette, diced into 1cm chunks
1 carrot, diced into 1cm chunks
1 pepper, diced into 1cm chunks
2 tsp minced garlic
500g minced beef
2 tins good quality chopped tomatoes
3tbsp tomato purée
Beef jelly stock
300ml boiling water
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp thyme
Freshly ground salt and pepper optional: 500g bag spinach
1. In a deep non-stick saucepan, add the oil, onion, courgette, carrot and pepper and sauté on a medium heat until soft for 3-4 minutes.
2. Add the garlic and fry for a further 2 minutes. Then set aside in a bowl.
3. In the same pan, turn the heat to high and fry off your minced beef until cooked through and browned.
4. Add the veg back to the cooked mince and add your chopped tomatoes, purée, beef stock, herbs and season. Add the spinach if using.
5. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 10-15 minutes - stirring every 3-4 minutes until the sauce is rich, thick and reduced.