With Winter upon us, there comes the desire to fill our tummies with a huge bowl of comfort food. Don’t you agree? There’s nothing better when it’s so cold outside to come home, turn the heater on full ball, pour yourself a glass of red and sit down to a huge bowl of delicious, tasty pasta bolognese. Except this one’s a little different.
With hubby heading to the gym and my doctor telling me to try lowering my cholesterol, our diet has had to change slightly. That means eating less fat, like cheeses and processed meats, and carbohydrates like potatoes. We must increase our intake of protein, veggies and beans, which suits me just fine. This is where I came up with this veggie loaded Bolognese.
Now, I’ve made a Bolognese with added veggies before and found it rather bland and boring. Throwing everything in together didn’t really make me want to cook it again. Cooking the veggies separately, so they each maintain their individual flavours, is how this veggie loaded Bolognese has such an amazing flavour. It is really unlike any other Bolognese I’ve cooked before.
As we’re all pushed for time I suggest this is a great Saturday night dinner, where you may have a little escape time from the kids or work to just cook this amazing meal. And the great thing with this Bolognese is the kids won’t even know half the veggies are in there! OK, so you have a fussy eater who won’t eat it as there’s brown, orange and red things in there! I have a great tip for that, check out my Cook’s Tips below ↓ on how to make those veggies disappear.
This certainly won’t disappoint the meat lovers out there, there’s still plenty of meaty goodness to be enjoyed.
This batch makes enough to freeze in two take away containers. We eat this three times – dinner on the day and two more dinners for 2 people. Double this recipe to freeze any extra for another night when you can’t be bothered cooking. And why wouldn’t you? Not only do the flavours get better over time but it will save you another hour or so in the kitchen next weekend or the next.
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely diced
5 button mushrooms (110gms), finely sliced
1 Portobello mushroom (110gms), halved and finely sliced
3 small garlic cloves, finely chopped or grated
1 large carrot (200gms), grated
1 red capsicum (165gms), finely diced
1 tablespoon Nuttalex (or butter)
1 tbsp olive oil
500gms beef mince
1 tbsp dried oregano
1 tbsp dried basil
1 tbsp dried parsley
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
Salt & pepper to taste
200gms cooked steak (I used porterhouse), finely sliced
½ cup tomato skins (or ¼ cup tomato paste)
1 can whole Roma tomatoes
1 cup chicken stock
1 cup lamb stock
½ can (200gms) chickpea + juice
Baby boccincini, broken into 3 or 4 pieces – I use 5 per bowl
Fresh parsley, leaves only, finely chopped
In a large frypan over medium-high heat, add olive oil, onions and mushrooms. Cook for 3 minutes until softened then add the garlic, stirring for a further minute. Set aside in a bowl.
Now add the carrots, capsicum and Nuttalex, or butter, stirring until combined. Cook for 3-4 minutes, until softened. Set aside in a bowl.
Add the oil and beef mince to the pan. Break the mince with the back of a wooden spoon and brown until no longer pink. Stir through the dried herbs and Worcestershire sauce, seasoning with salt & pepper. Add in the cooked steak, combining well. Stir in the mushroom and carrot mixtures, tomato skins, canned tomatoes, stocks and chickpeas. Turn heat to low, cover with a lid and simmer for at least one hour, stirring occasionally. Check seasoning, adding a little more salt or pepper if needed.
Smash as many chickpeas as you can. This helps to thicken the sauce.
With 10 minutes to go, heat a large saucepan with water on high for the pasta. Ensure you season the water with at least 2 tablespoons of salt. Cook as much pasta as needed, as per packet instructions. Once drained, add a little of the Bolognese sauce to the pasta to stop the pasta sticking together – my little tip for perfect pasta every time 🙂
Serve the sauce over the pasta, topped with boccincini and parsley.
If you’re worried about the kids seeing all the veggies that they don’t normally eat, throw the cooked veggies into the food processor or blender and blitz to a sauce consistency. Add to the meat with the canned tomatoes.
Tomato skins are leftover from making passata. When the tomatoes are passed through the mouli, you’re left with the all these tomato skins and seeds. I freeze them in ziplock bags in ½ cup quantities. This adds amazing flavour to any Bolognese or ragu dish. Don’t throw away those unused tomato skins ever again 🙂
If you find you have a fridge full of veggies that are about to expire, why not add them in. The more the better I say! You will find the flavours are bound to change, especially if you’re adding cauliflower, broccoli or sweet potato as those veggies have quite strong flavours. I have not tried those veggies in my dish so I can’t tell you how the flavours will be.
If you don’t have any leftover steak, don’t go out and buy some just to add in. Add any meat in your fridge like bacon, ham or salami for extra flavour. Hey, why not chorizo?
No lamb stock? Add beef stock instead or why not add a teaspoon or two of smoky paprika.
For a vegetarian or vegan option, why not use a quorn meat to replace the beef.
Replace Worcestershire sauce with Gluten free soy or tamari. Start with ½ tablespoon and add more if needed.