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Spaghetti Bolognese

Spaghetti Bolognese is one of our nation’s favourite dishes. If you love this meal but want to know if there are ways to make it a little healthier, tastier and add more veg without upping the cost, this is the place for you.

Why is Spaghetti Bolognese great?

Spaghetti Bolognese is one of the UK’s favourite meals. As most children like it, spag bol is a simple dinner option for families.

Spag bol recipes vary wildly. Typing “Spaghetti Bolognese recipe” into Google gives you over 40 million results, ranging from a handful of simple ingredients to long complicated lists and steps.

But Spaghetti Bolognese at its most basic is just some meat (or veggie alternative) and sauce mixed with spaghetti. It’s a balanced meal with carbs (pasta), protein (such as meat or plant proteins) and veg. It’s a pretty great choice for dinner, and is an easy one to adapt to make ever better!

No matter what your starting point is we have suggestions for simple steps to add more veg and perhaps a little less meat. This will make your favourite spag bol recipe a little healthier, tastier and more affordable over time.

How are your Spaghetti Bolognese skills?

Getting
started

I’m just starting out.

Next
Level

I’m ready to take it to the next level.

Engaging
Kids

How can I get my kids involved and interested?

Getting Started

Spaghetti Bolognese recipes vary wildly.

Typing “Spaghetti Bolognese recipe” into Google gives you over 40 million results, ranging from a handful of simple ingredients to long complicated lists and steps.

But Spaghetti Bolognese at its most basic is just some meat (or veggie alternative) and sauce mixed with spaghetti. It’s a balanced meal with carbs (pasta), protein (such as meat or plant proteins) and veg. It’s a pretty great choice for dinner, and is an easy one to adapt to make ever better!

Here is a simple recipe for Spaghetti Bolognese which you can use as a base and build on over time…

Spaghetti Bolognese

Claire Wright

Effort:
Complexity:
Cost:

Ingredients:

Beef (or pork/chicken/turkey) mince – approx 300-400g for a family of 4 – or veggie alternative such as Quorn mince

1 jar of bolognese sauce

300g dried spaghetti

Share:

Method:

Set a frying pan over medium heat, and pop a saucepan of water with a pinch of salt on another burner to bring to the boil while you make the sauce.

Add 1 tbsp oil to the frying pan and heat for a minute until it is hot, then add the mince and cook for about 3-5 mins, stirring frequently to break up the meat, until it is browned all over.
Is your saucepan of water bubbling now? When it is, add your spaghetti (if it’s too long for the pan, just snap in half first). Check the packet for how long this should cook, but it’s usually about 8-10 mins.

Carefully add the sauce to the frying pan with the meat (it may spit slightly as the pan and oil will be hot, so pour carefully from the side and turn the heat right down for a moment if you feel it needs it).

Heat until you start to get little bubbles in the sauce, then turn down the heat to low and let it simmer to cook and heat everything through, about 5 mins.
Once your pasta is cooked, drain the water (or use tongs to just pick the spaghetti out) and mix with the sauce and meat.

There is no need to go any further with this recipe until you are confident with it and feel up for the next step.

Engaging Kids

Engaging Kids

Kids who engage regularly with veg through veg-themed activities, such as arts and crafts, sensory experiences, growing and cooking are shown to be more likely to eat the veg they engage with. Encouraging kids to engage and play with veg is the handy first step to them developing a good relationship with veg and life-long healthy eating.

Kids in the kitchen

Kids in the kitchen

You could get the kids to help with browning the mince, or  getting the spaghetti ready.

Master these skills:

Weighing,  Tasting
Activities

Activities

While getting kids to interact with veggies for real and using their senses to explore them is best, encouraging hands off activities like arts & crafts, puzzles & games or at-home science experiments can be a great start, particularly for those who are fussier eaters or struggle with anything too sensory. Use these veg-themed activities as a stepping stone to interacting with the veg themselves. We have loads of crafty downloads here, puzzles here, and quirky science with veg here.

Sensory

Sensory

Once you feel your child is ready to engage a little more, you can show them how to explore the veg you have on hand with their senses, coming up with playful silly descriptions of how a veg smells, feels, looks, sounds and perhaps even tastes. Find ideas, videos and some simple sensory education session ideas to get you started here.

Serving

Serving

The moments before food is offered can be a perfect opportunity for engagement that can help make it more likely a child will eat it! Giving children a sense of ownership in the meal can make a big difference to their feelings going into it and the pride they take in it. You know your child best, but if you aren’t sure where to start, we have some fun and simple ideas for easy roles you can give them in the serving process over here.

NEXT LEVEL

I Want To Improve My Spaghetti Bolognese

If you are feeling confident with your favourite spag bol recipe, but you’re wondering if there are some small tweaks you could make for the better, this is for you.

We’ve outlined some simple stages for continually improving on a basic Spaghetti Bolognese recipe to get you from good to great. Find where you feel your current recipe sits and see if the next step is something you could aim for. You don’t have to go any further, but if you choose to, make sure you are feeling confident with this new stage before you try the next one.

And remember, the MOST important thing is that the family enjoys the meal! These changes and swaps can take as long as is needed if your family isn’t ready for big changes all in one go. Small simple improvements over time may not even be noticed!

And remember, the MOST important thing is that the family enjoys the meal! These changes and swaps can take as long as is needed if your family isn’t ready for big changes all in one go. Small simple improvements over time may not even be noticed.

engaging kids

Play is essential!

Think of children helping in the kitchen as a role play game with plenty of fun for maximum effect. One of the best ways to develop a love of veg in kids is to get them involved in the prep of the veg. Not only is cooking an essential life skill for kids to learn, but it’s a great, fun way to get them engaging with healthy foods!

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