Spaghetti Bolognese with Hidden Vegetables
This is one of my favourite bulk recipes. By spending about an hour preparing this you’ll get at least three meals out of it, and you can even convert some of it to a Chilli con Carne or use it as a base for a Shepherd’s Pie. I’ve modified the dish from Annabel Karmel’s hidden vegetable sauce recipe and increased the quantities to suit bulk cooking. I don’t know many children (or adults) who don’t like a good old-fashioned Spaghetti Bolognese, and this is a healthier take on the old classic.
The quantities in this recipe make about three meals for a family of four, so I usually divide the finished product into three, and freeze two portions for later use. As usual, the vegetable count is increased by hiding the veggies in the sauce which is then blitzed smooth, so it really only looks like a plain tomato sauce. But far from being plain it has 5 different vegetables (carrots, courgettes, onions, mushrooms and tomatoes) hiding in it. Sometimes I also add a red pepper or a Romano pepper if I have some in my fridge. I can’t think of many things that are more satisfying than watching my kids tuck into this knowing that they’re getting a lot of veggie goodness in each mouthful! But then I am a nutritionist and have a bit of a vegetable obsession…
What you need:
- 2 tbs olive oil
- 1-2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 large or 2 medium onions
- 2-3 carrots, grated
- 2 courgettes, grated
- punnet of mushrooms, sliced
- 1 tbs balsamin vinegar
- 680g jar of passata (sieved tomatoes)
- 2 tsp soft brown sugar
- 1 chicken stock cube, dissolved in 600ml boiling water
- fresh basil leaves
- oregano, salt, black pepper
- 500g pork mince
- 500g lean steak mince
- 1kg lamb mince
- First prepare all the vegetables. I have a grater attachment for my Magimix, so I just quick peel the carrots and the courgettes and mushrooms and put the carrots and mushrooms through the grater. I then change the blade to a slicer and put the mushrooms through.
- Heat the oil in a large saucepan, add the crushed garlic and onions and sauté for about 2 minutes.
- Add the carrots, courgettes and mushrooms and sauté for 4-5 minutes, stirring well.
- Add the balsamic vinegar and cook for one minute.
- Stir in the passata and sugar, then fill the empty passata bottle with hot water and add together with a chicken stock cube. Bring to boil, then cover and simmer for about 10 minutes.
- Add a handful of shredded basil leaves.
- Use either a good hand blender to blitz until smooth, or blend in batches in a blender.
- Put the sauce aside, and fry the mince until cooked through. Add the mince to the sauce, check the flavour and add some oregano, black pepper and possibly a pinch of salt. There is some salt in the stock cube, so check that you are not making the sauce overly salty.
- Serve with spaghetti!
For the Chilli Con Carne version that feeds about 4 people use a third of the ready made Bolognese. Chop up about 70g of chorizo sausage into small bite size pieces. Finely chop one onion. Add both the onion and the chorizo on a frying pan and fry off until the onion has softened and the chorizo is letting off some lovely flavorsome oil. Then add the Bolognese sauce and a tin of red kidney beans (drained and rinsed) and heat until piping hot. Serve with some wholegrain basmati rice.