Prepare: 15 min
Cook: 1 hour
I’m sure there are many others like me who have fond memories eating spaghetti bolognese as a child and getting most of it all over your face and in your hair. It’s a staple dish in many families. I remember the different versions I got through my childhood from my Mum and Grandparents. My mum has pretty much mastered this recipe and I’m never disappointed when I get this. It’s always a lovely fresh rich tomato sauce.
One of the first dishes I made for a crowd was spaghetti bolognese. I thought it was a ‘safe’ dish to tackle and the least likely for me to burn. Served up with a load of garlic bread and I thought I could compete in Masterchef. I am ashamed to say that I used a ready-made sauce at the time and thought it tasted pretty darn good eeekkk.
However last year it emerged that these ready-made jars of sauce were loaded with salt sugar. I have to be honest I was rather disgusted. Is it really necessary to add up to 8 tablespoons of sugar to a sauce? Yes you read that correctly 8 tablespoons! All this time I thought I was making a healthy meal but in fact I was shoving copious amounts of hidden ingredients into my body. No wonder I felt dehydrated and bloated.
Maybe I was naïve to think these ready-made sauces were healthy but you just assume that they are simply tomatoes with seasoning, nothing else. Since this came out in the headlines I have not used one single ready-made sauce. I now make everything at home from scratch. I enjoy the process of creating my own sauce, experimenting with different herbs and spices.
I tend to season my sauce and during the cooking process and very rarely season my pasta while it is cooking. Usually just because I forget to add salt. I’ve grown up with constantly being told that I don’t need salt so I don’t tend to add it to anything I am cooking.
I highly recommend tasting your food before adding any salt for seasoning. Ask yourself ‘do you really need it’? You’ll soon teach your body it doesn’t need it and have a whole new taste sensation from your food.
Making a healthy Bolognese sauce
I received a Mary Berry cookery book from my Gran and it was how I learned how to make a beautiful rich Bolognese sauce. It was amazing and a really rich flavour due to the lovely red wine added in. Although delicious I wanted to create my own version that was a little kinder to my budget and excluded any alcohol. I’ll keep the other recipe for special occasions.
So I have created a recipe which is both healthy and delicious. If you want to increase your protein intake in line with your macronutrients I recommend swapping the beef mince for turkey mince instead. This is a fantastic and healthier alternative to the traditional beef mince. I only choose not to use turkey mince as I don’t really like it. I have tried it multiple times but I’m just not a fan, however I recommend you try it.
So rustle this up in the kitchen and remember to make some extra, whack it in a tub and you have leftovers for lunch tomorrow.
- 1 tbsp. coconut oil
- 1 carrot, peeled and finely chopped
- 1 celery stick, finely chopped
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 2 large garlic gloves, crushed
- 1 tbsp. plain flour
- 400g can plum tomatoes
- 2 tbsp. tomato puree
- 500g good quality beef or turkey mince meat
- 300ml beef stock (good quality stock cube)
- Salt and Black Pepper
- 1 tsp. dried oregano
- Spaghetti (use brown pasta as a healthy alternative)
1 Heat the oil in a large pan on a low heat. Add the chopped carrots, celery, onion and garlic to the oil and sauté gently for 15 minutes until softened.
2 Add the mince to the vegetables, breaking up the mince meat with a spoon and cook on a medium heat until the mince has browned. Sprinkle in the flour and mix well.
3 Next add in the tomato puree, plum tomatoes, beef stock and oregano, stir well and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and allow to simmer on a low heat for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Ensure the mixture does not stick to the pan. If required add a little drop of water to stop the sauce from sticking.
4 Once the sauce has thickened, taste and season. Cook the pasta as per the instructions. When the pasta is cooked add to the sauce and combine well. Serve in large warmed bowls and enjoy.
Top Tip: As an optional extra add a dash of worcester sauce to your bolognese sauce for a little extra flavour.
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