Easy Spaghetti Bolognese Recipe
A twist on the traditional spaghetti bolognese, this recipe takes a healthier approach to the dish while staying just as delicious.
Spaghetti Bolognese is a delicious recipe that I am sure many of us have either grown up with, or eaten in our lifetime. It is both comforting and incredibly tasty. But it is not exactly the healthiest dish out there. With my recipe, you can keep the same taste of bolognese, but with a healthy (unnoticeable) twist.
The highlight of the dish is of course the bolognese sauce. The ground beef is slowly braised in tomato sauce mixed with aromatic herbs, onions, garlic, carrots, celery, and my secret ingredient – apples. Yes, you read that correctly! The secret twist to this healthier bolognese sauce is apples. By replacing sugar with pureed apples, you still get the sweetness that helps counteract the acidity of the tomato sauce without all the guilt.
This recipe is fantastically simple, but here are a few tips and tricks that can help elevate your bolognese.
Choose your apple wisely.
Not all apples are created equal, and by that, I mean – not all of them are sweet. Granny Smiths are notorious for their sour flavor. They are great for baking, but not so great for this sauce. Some sweeter varieties that would work well are: gala, envy or fuji apples. Testing the sweetness of the apple is quite easy, simply take a bite! Having a taste of the apple is the best way to gauge its sweetness.
Chop your veggies first.
Food processors are powerful tools, but if you put a whole carrot in you might break your food processor. Give your vegetables a rough chop first to prevent this from happening. You don’t need to dice them particularly well, chopping the vegetables into chunks is good enough.
This recipe may seem like it can’t be made gluten-free as the spaghetti is a big part of the meal. However, you can easily replace the spaghetti with chickpea flour pasta or even zoodles (zucchini noodles). Either one works for this recipe, so choose whichever option you prefer – they will both taste great!
Making it fancy.
Plating food nicely can be quite difficult, especially with something like pasta. One tip that can make serving pasta easier, is using a serving fork like this. You can twist the pasta around the fork, and place the perfectly twisted pasta on the plate. Follow that up by using a ladle to pour over the delicious bolognese sauce.
Don’t wash your pasta.
Unless you decide to use chickpea flour pasta, don’t rinse your cooked pasta after straining it. When pasta is boiled, a lot of the starch is released on the outside of the noodles. This starch helps the sauce stick to the pasta much easier, preventing “naked” pasta. When boiling the pasta also make sure not to add oil to the water as it will cause the noodles to become slippery. The sauce won’t be able to hold onto the sauce and you’ll have the same issue as if you had washed your pasta.
Give this recipe a try and let me know your thoughts in the comments! I’m curious to know how your experience was with the apple substitute (hopefully it went spectacularly)!
Easy Spaghetti Bolognese Recipe
- 500 grams minced beef
- 1 large carrot (sliced)
- 1 stalk celery (sliced)
- 1 medium onion (sliced)
- 1 medium apple (peeled & sliced)
- 250 grams diced tomatoes
- 250 grams tomato sauce
- 2 teaspoons tomato paste
- 2 pcs bay leaves
- 1 tablespoon italian herbs
- 2 tablespoon fish sauce or anchovies
- salt & pepper to taste
- 500 grams spaghetti or any pasta you have
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- parmesan cheese for garnishing
- In a food processor, put together carrots, celery and apple then coarsely puree. Set aside.
- Heat the olive oil in the large pan over medium/high heat. When the oil is hot, add onions then minced beef, stir continously to avoid lumps and cook until all meat has browned (about 5-10 minutes)
- Add pureed vegetables, mix for a minute or two then add tomato paste. Continue to stir for about 2 minutes then add pureed vegetables, bay leaves, italian herbs, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes and fish sauce.
- Turn heat into low then simmer for about 2.5 to 3 hours.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Cook pasta according to packaging instructions.
- Serve with sauce and top with grated parmesan cheese