Healthy Bolognese Sauce

23 June 2015 | Recipes
bolognese recipe

Is there anything more comforting than a bowl of Spaghetti Bolognese? For me, it evokes memories of my childhood. Mum would make a massive batch almost weekly and I’d eat it for dinner and then enjoy it as leftovers on toast with melted cheese on top. YUM! The best bit was that mum used to squeeze lots vegetable into the sauce to make sure we were getting bang for our Bol.

I’ve added a few extra touches to mum’s traditional Bolognese recipe, and of course I’ve served mine up with zoodles instead of spaghetti, but it tastes just as good, is extra nourishing and absolutely counts as healthy comfort food.

Inspired adjustments

I’ve used beef tallow in this recipe instead of olive oil for two reasons. I love the taste, especially in meaty dishes, and secondly it’s a great form of conjugated linoleum acid, which has been reported to reduce body fat and increase lean muscle mass, lower cancer risk, protect against heart disease and reduce inflammation. I bought some grass-fed beef tallow from my local butcher, but if you’re making beef bone broth on a regular basis you can just scrape off the layer of fat once you refrigerate it, same stuff!

I’ve added a cup of beef bone broth because it’s so god damn good for you, but also because, once again, it increases the beefy flavour of the dish adding a depth of flavour that you just don’t get without it.

I’ve used organic grass-fed beef mince, because the cows are happier and it’s better for our health  (you can read more on being a conscious carnivore here).

I’ve used canned cherry tomatoes, because they’re deliciously sweet, which means I don’t have to add any sugar (mum used to add a teaspoon of strawberry jam).

Healthy Bolognese Sauce

Serves 4-6

Ingredients

  • 2 teaspoons of beef tallow or olive oil
  • 1/2 brown onion, finely chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, finely chopped
  • 6 button mushrooms, finely sliced
  • 1 small zucchini, grated
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 500g organic grass-fed beef mince
  • 1/2 cup red wine, optional
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 cup beef bone broth or stock
  • 1 can of cherry tomatoes or diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup of basil leaves, finely sliced

Method

  1. Heat beef tallow or olive oil in a large saucepan over a medium-high heat. Add the onion, celery and carrot and cook for 5 minutes or until softened. Add the mushrooms, zucchini and garlic and cook stirring until vegetables soften. Add the mince and cook, breaking up with a wooden spoon, for 5 minutes until browned and slightly caramelised.
  2. Add the red wine, tomato paste, beef stock and tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low, stir through half of the basil and simmer uncovered for 1 hour.
  3. In the last 5 minutes of cooking stir through remaining basil leaves. Taste, and season again if needed.
  4. Serve the Healthy Bolognese Sauce with noodles, your choice of pasta or one of my favourite ways is for breakfast with a fried egg on top. Yummo!

Note: I have tested the recipe above several times. It works. If you make substitutions due to allergies or flavour preferences I cannot guarantee the results. Below are some substitute suggestions, but they have not been tested. If you follow them I would love to hear about your results in the comments below.

Substitutions

Beef Tallow: Use olive oil if you prefer, it’s just as good for you. I just like the flavour that beef tallows imparts on the dish.

Brown onion, celery & carrot: This is a classic flavour combo that also happens to inject some serious veg content into your bolognese. You can use red onion or leek to replace the brown onion but I highly recommend sticking with the celery and carrot.

Mushrooms & zucchini: Once again they’r there to up the veggie content, but if you’re not a fan of either just give them a miss. Other veggies that you could squeeze in are baby spinach, grated parsnip, finely diced or grated pumpkin, finely sliced fennel and some finely sliced kale.

Beef mince: You can substitute with veal and pork mince for a more traditional Italian Bolognese.

Red wine: Absolutely optional, but it adds a beautiful boldness to the final flavour.

Beef bone broth: You can use regular beef stock if you prefer. Chicken stock would work too.

Canned cherry tomatoes: Substitute with regular diced tomatoes or 1 kg of fresh tomatoes finely diced.

Basil: Substitute with fresh or dried oregano or a Italian dried herb blend.

 

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