Spag bol…. The ultimate make-ahead and freeze meal? I think so. This is my lighter version, inspired by the recent spiralizing antics of www.tastetoday.co.uk. This version contains red lentils for a healthy, wholesome boost. It’s very low on carbs, gluten-free and low in fat too. Give it a go against your go-to bolognese recipe if you want a delicious, healthier alternative!
I love making a large batch, then portioning and freezing, ready for those evenings when you get in from work exhausted… and have no energy other than to press a button on the microwave.
This recipe makes 6 portions of bolognese ragu – but you can split it up into smaller portions if you wish.
It’s ready within one hour, take minimal effort and as for the courgetti… Give it a go! It’s surprisingly satisfying! takes 1 hour to make, and I use 1 large courgette per person for the courgetti.
What you need:
- 2 medium onions, very finely chopped or whizzed in a food processor
- 4 cloves garlic, crushed
- 2-3 tbsp rapeseed oil
- 500g lean beef mince
- 200g chestnut mushrooms, finely sliced
- 200g red lentils
- 2 tins chopped tomatoes (I use Cirio)
- 500ml good quality beef stock*
- 1 tbsp dried oregano
- 1 tbsp dried basil
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 large courgettes, or 3 medium ones
- 1 tsp coconut oil
- a handful of fresh parsley
- Freshly ground black pepper
- a sprinkle of finely grated Pecorino cheese, to serve
*for a gluten-free recipe, GF stock can be used.
What to do:
1. Heat 2 tbsp of the Rapeseed oil in a large heavy-based saucepan with a lid. Add the onions and sweat them over a low-medium heat for 3-5 minutes until just translucent. Add the garlic and stir, cooking for a further 2-3 mins – but don’t let onions or garlic brown. Add a tad more Rapeseed oil if needed.
2. Break the lean minced beef into chunks and add to the pan, stirring well until the beef begins to brown (about 6-7 minutes).Once the meat has just cooked through (no longer pink). Next, add the red lentils and the mushrooms and continue to stir everything together whilst the mushrooms begin to wilt (about 3 minutes).
3. Add the beef stock and the two tins of chopped tomatoes, stir everything together, then mix in the dried basil, oregano and bay leaves. Season well with freshly ground black pepper.
4. Bring to the boil, and simmer with the lid on for 40 minutes.
5. As the ragu is cooking, ‘spiralise’ your courgettes. I prefer the thin noodle setting, but I have taken a picture of both settings so you can decide which you prefer.
6. After 40 minutes, remove the lid and check the consistency of the ragu – if it’s a bit thick, add a little boiling water and continue to cook without the lid for a further 10-15 minutes over a low simmer.
7. Whilst the ragu is finishing off, heat the coconut oil in a large frying pan over a low-medium heat. When the pan is warm, add the ‘courgetti’ and cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring regularly so they don’t catch. Add the fresh parsley in the last 30 seconds and stir through.
8. Divide the courgetti between warm bowls, then top with a ladle of the ragu Bolognese. Top with more freshly ground black pepper and some Pecorino cheese to taste.