Bolognese Sauce is the ultimate comfort food. And, this super healthy REAL FOOD version is packed with awesome flavours that will leave you feeling truly satisfied. It’s jam-packed with eight different types of veggies making it a NUTRITIONAL POWERHOUSE.
8 TYPES OF VEGGIES IN ONE MEAL!
Do you find yourself struggling to eat enough veg every day? Or, are vegetables just not your thing? Trust me, I’ve been there. All that processed food and sugar I’ve eaten over the years really dulled my taste buds to the joy of real food.
So, to counteract that, for Bolognese Sauce, we’re gonna load up the veg and disguise them in a deee-licious beef, chorizo and tomato sauce – you’ll happily munch down a range of 8 different veggies per portion AND you won’t even notice they’re there. By eating this way, over time, your taste buds will awaken and you’ll open yourself up to some of the most wonderful flavours on the planet!
Don’t believe me? Well, this is no overnight miracle, come back to me in a couple of months and let me know how you’re getting on. I’ll gladly share my experience of how I went from being a meat and potatoes girl to an I’ll eat virtually anything kinda girl.
Psst. to all those peeps out there who are already massive vegetable fans, I promise, you won’t be disappointed either!!
THE EVOLUTION OF MY BOLOGNESE SAUCE
Since leaving home, all those 20+ years ago (wowza!), this Bolognese Sauce has been a weekly staple in my life and I can’t imagine not having the ingredients jotted down on my grocery list.
That being said, over the years I have changed the recipe many, many times. Way back when it was simply a case of browning the beef and throwing in the contents of a jar of overly-processed tomato sauce over the top. These days it’s been totally cleaned up to support my weight loss journey and an altogether healthier lifestyle.
You’ll be making the Bolognese Sauce from scratch using beautifully fresh ingredients, avoiding those sugar-laden supermarket versions with their incredibly long, unpronounceable list of ‘dodgy’ ingredients.
HOW DO YOU ADD FLAVOUR TO A REAL FOOD BOLOGNESE SAUCE?
Most of us who are used to using a tomato sauce from a jar have likely become accustomed to the flavour punch they bring. But unfortunately, those flavours are coming from an excess of refined sugar, bad fats and salt.
We’re only going to be using real food ingredients here, so our flavours are going to need to come from natural sources. Our focus will be on:
- Developing a fragrant flavour base by sautéing (frying) the onions, carrots, celery and herbs (known as a mirepoix).
- Bringing out the natural sweetness of the peppers, mushrooms, tomatoes and courgettes by roasting and developing some caramelisation.
- Infusing the beef with garlic, chilli heat, spicy smoky chorizo and salty anchovies for richness. Don’t worry, it won’t taste fishy – I promise!
- Balancing the acidity of the tomatoes with raw honey, a natural sweetener.
- Simmering the bolognese for at least 40 minutes (preferably 60 minutes) to thicken the sauce and intensify the flavours to the max.
The eight vegetables will impart a unique flavour to the dish in their own right, however, because each has high water content, we must build on the flavour to avoid a bland, watery sauce.
HOW DO YOU MAKE BOLOGNESE SAUCE?
Check out the below step-by-step instructions, or scroll down to find the printable recipe card.
STEP-BY-STEP RECIPE INSTRUCTIONS
Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 4/ 350°F/ 180°C/ Fan 160°C
Prepare your ingredients (weigh, wash, peel, chop) and get your equipment ready.
Spread the tomatoes and mushrooms in one baking tray and the peppers and courgettes in another. Toss both trays of veg with 1/2 tablespoon of oil and 1/2 teaspoon of each salt and pepper. Put the trays into the oven and bake for 25 minutes, tossing once halfway through.
Put a large saucepan on medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil. Then, add the carrots, celery, onions (red and brown), oregano, rosemary and bay leaves. Stir every few minutes over 25 minutes to avoid sticking. In the last 5 minutes of cooking stir in the fresh basil (leaves and stalks).
Remove the vegetables from the oven and carefully (as they will be hot) and transfer them into the blender. Now, remove the bay leaves from the saucepan and add the mirepoix mixture to the blender.
Blend the vegetables until smooth (about 2 minutes) and leave to one side. Depending on the size of your blender, you may want to do this in a couple of batches.
Using the same saucepan that you cooked the mirepoix add the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil, turn onto medium-high heat and add the minced beef, breaking it up with a wooden spoon as you go. Keep going until the beef is brown and a little crispy – usually about 6-8 minutes. Crispy = flavour!
Once the beef is lovely and brown, add the chorizo, anchovies, garlic and chilli and stir frequently for 3 minutes.
Stir the tomato puree through the mince mixture and cook down for 2 minutes.
Add the tinned tomatoes, balsamic vinegar and honey to the saucepan…
…and pour in the blended vegetables. Give everything a really good stir and cook for a minimum of 40 minutes so that the flavours combine and develop.
After 40 minutes the sauce will be a deep red colour and will be scrumptiously ready to eat.
Serve and enjoy!
Bolognese Sauce with Hidden Vegetables
- Weighing Scales, Measuring Spoons
- Sharp Knife
- Chopping Board
- 2 Baking Trays
- Large Saucepan
- Wooden Spoon
- Food Processor Fitted with the Standard Cutting Blade
- 6 Tomatoes Chopped in half
- 300 g Mushrooms Chopped in half
- 3 Peppers (Preferably mixed colours)
- 1 Courgette Chopped into 1-inch pieces
- 3 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil Divided
- 2 tsp Sea Salt Divided
- 2 tsp Black Pepper Divided
- 3 Carrots Diced
- 6 Celery Stalks Diced
- 1 Red Onion Diced
- 1 Brown Onion Diced
- 1 tbsp Dried Oregano
- 1 tsp Dried Rosemary
- 3 Bay Leaves
- 30 g Fresh Basil
- 400 g 5% Fat Minced Beef (Ground Beef)
- 100 g Chorizo Diced
- 3 Anchovies
- 4 Garlic Cloves Minced
- 1 Red Chilli Finely chopped
- 142 g Tomato Puree (Tomato Paste)
- 800 g Can Chopped Tomatoes
- 2 tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
- 2 tbsp Raw Honey
- Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 4/ 350°F/ 180°C/ Fan 160°C
- Prepare your ingredients (weigh, wash, peel, chop) and get your equipment ready.
- Spread the tomatoes and mushrooms on one baking tray and the peppers and courgette on another. Toss both trays of veg with 1/2 tablespoon of oil, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Place the trays into the oven and bake for 25 minutes, tossing once halfway through.
- Meanwhile, put a large saucepan on medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Then, add the carrots, celery, onions (red and brown), oregano, rosemary and bay leaves, stirring frequently for 25 minutes. This is your mirepoix. In the last 5 minutes of cooking stir in the fresh basil.
- Remove the vegetables from the oven and transfer them to a blender. Now, remove the bay leaves from the mirepoix, and add to the blender. Blend the vegetables and mirepoix until smooth (about 2 minutes). Then place to one side.
- Using the same saucepan that you cooked the mirepoix add the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil, turn onto medium-high heat and add the minced beef, breaking it up with a wooden spoon as you go. Keep going until the beef is brown and a little crispy – usually about 6-8 minutes.
- Once the beef is lovely and brown, add the chorizo, anchovies, garlic and chilli and stir frequently for 3 minutes.
- Now, stir in the tomato puree and cook down for 2 minutes.
- Add the tinned tomatoes, balsamic vinegar and honey to the saucepan and pour in the blended vegetables. Give everything a really good stir and cook for a minimum of 40 minutes (preferably an hour) so that the flavours combine and develop. The sauce should thicken and become a deep, rich, red colour.
- Serve and enjoy!
I hope you LOVE this recipe as much as I do!
And, if you do get the chance to give this Bolognese Sauce with Hidden Vegetables at try, please drop me a note in the comment section and provide star rating. I’d love to know what you think.
Thanks so much for stopping by.
You can also stay up to date with new posts and healthy REAL FOOD recipes by subscribing to The Real Food Geek mailing list below.