Go Back Email Link
+ servings
Spaghetti bolognese
4.84 from 6 votes

Healthy Bolognese (with a few twists)

My healthy Spaghetti Bolognese is such a versatile meal - check out my many variations for loads of inspiration for this family favourite. 
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time45 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 4


  • 1 tbsp olive oil - extra virgin
  • 2 onion/s - diced
  • 2 clove/s garlic - finely chopped or crushed
  • 500 g beef mince - or turkey or chicken mince (see below for vegetarian)
  • 2 bay leaf/s
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary - or 2 tablespoons of fresh
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • 1 carrot/s - grated
  • 1 zucchini/s - grated
  • 1 stick/s celery - finely chopped
  • 75 g mushrooms -sliced (or processed if mushroom fussy) (1 cup)
  • 700 g tomato passata (puree) - or you can use 5-6 vine ripened tomatoes, diced on a plate to keep the juice
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper - to taste
  • 1 bunch/s fresh basil leaves - roughly chopped
  • 300 g pasta - of your choice (I love rice, quinoa spaghetti)

Optional extras

  • 1 tbsp tomato paste - for a richer tomato flavour if using fresh tomatoes


  • Salad (to serve)


  • In a large pan or a pot with a lid, sauté onions and garlic in a tablespoon of olive oil over a low to medium heat, for a couple of minutes until they start to soften, but not brown.
  • Add the mince (or lentils) and bay leaves, dried rosemary and oregano and cook until it just starts to brown (about 5 minutes) then add the vegetables, tomatoes (and tomato paste if using). Season to taste.
  • Place the lid ajar the pan. Simmer until the sauce starts to thicken, minimum 30 minutes. The longer you can let it simmer, the richer the sauce will become.
  • Turn off the heat and stir in the basil. Serve with al dente spaghetti (or one of the variations below).


  • Chop the carrot, zucchini and celery 10 sec, speed 4. Set aside.
  • Now place the garlic in the bowl. Chop 5 sec, speed 6.
  • Add the onion and chop 5 seconds, speed 4.
  • Add the olive oil and saute 2 mins, 100, speed 1.
  • Add the mince, bay leaves, dried rosemary and oregano and cook 5 mins, 100, reverse speed 1.
  • Add the vegetables, mushrooms and tomato passata and cook 20-30 mins, 100, reverse speed 1 (with the cap in place so it doesn't spit over your bench). Season to taste.
  • Once cooked stir in the basil. Serve with al dente spaghetti (or one of the variations below).


  • I like to serve this with a simple green salad.


  • Re-heat in a pot over a low heat until just hot.


  • Store in an airtight container in the fridge.
  • Can also be frozen.



Use gluten free pasta (I love rice and quinoa spaghetti), or zucchini ribbons.

Grain-free or Paleo

Serve with zucchini ribbons or stuffed in a baked potato.

Vegetarian and vegan

Substitute mince with a can of brown lentils (rinsed and drained) and 200g finely diced mushrooms.

Half vegetarian (plant boost)

Substitute half the mince for brown lentils (rinsed and drained). Adding lentils to leftover sauce is a simple way to make it go further.


Leftover Bolognese is a delicious breakfast. Serve it on whole grain toast or as a side with eggs.

Baked Bolognese

Place any leftovers into a greased dish or bowl. Make an indent in the top and crack an egg or two into the hollow. Top with cheese and pepitas and bake until cooked the way you like it.


Bolognese is a great dish to pre-prepare and it also freezes really well. I often freeze leftovers in little glass pyrex containers and will mix a few together to make one meal. If time is an issue, double the above recipe and freeze in ready to go batches.

How do you eat your Bolognese? Can you add any interesting variations? Please comment or ask questions below.