Spaghetti bolognese

I think everyone has a family recipe for good old Spaghetti Bolognese. It’s a weekly staple in so many households and why wouldn’t it be? There aren’t many people who don’t enjoy a steaming hot bowl of it topped with a generous sprinkling of freshly grated parmesan.

While it isn’t really a health-conscious person’s meal in its traditional style, a few little tweaks can take it from a treat meal to a weekly menu item.

Michelle Bridges has a fabulous low-calorie version in her Crunch Time cookbook (which I’ll share at a later late) but while it’s a scrumptious alternative it’s quite different to the original and the veges aren’t well enough hidden for it to pass the kid and man test. My recipe has passed the man test and I’m sure would succeed as a child-friendly dish.

Saute onion and garlic

Just like so many recipes, this one starts with sauteing the onion and garlic together until the onion is transparent.


Add finely chopped or grated carrot and mix through. They’re not in the pic but add the mushrooms now too.

Beef it up

Add the beef mince and mash it up to separate it and get out any lumps. Keep doing this until it has all browned.

Browned and broken

This is what it should look like when it’s all browned and broken up.

Tomato time

Now add the tinned tomato, tomato soup and tomato paste and stir it through.

Masterfoods Spaghetti Bolognese seasoning

This is the ‘secret’ ingredient. Sprinkle the seasoning into the pot and mix it through. Add the sugar and mix through. Bring the sauce to the boil then reduce to a simmer and cook until it thickens to your liking. It usually takes 30 minutes but the longer you let it simmer the more the flavours will develop.

Taste the sauce and season with salt and pepper to your liking.

Spaghetti Bolognese

Serve over piping hot pasta and sprinkle with grated parmesan cheese.

Freeze any leftover sauce for later. I always have some Spaghetti Bolognese sauce in the freezer ready for a quick meal.


Do you have a classic family favourite that you’ve created a lighter version of?


Spaghetti bolognese - lower calorie version

Spaghetti bolognese - lower calorie version

Yield: 5-6

Adapted from mum's Spag Bol


  • 500g (18oz) lean beef mince
  • 1 onion diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 200 button mushrooms finely diced
  • 2 large carrots, finely diced or grated
  • 1 tin crushed or diced tomatoes
  • 1 tin tomato soup (salt-reduced)
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon Spaghetti Bolognese herb mix
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • salt & pepper
  • 35g (1oz) dried pasta per person
  • 1 tablespoon grated parmesan per person


  1. Saute the onion and garlic in an oiled pan until the onion is transparent. Add the carrot and mushrooms and cook until they begin to soften.
  2. Mix the beef mince through and break it up with the spoon so there are no chunks.
  3. When the mince has browned, add the tinned tomato, tomato soup and tomato paste and stir through.
  4. Add the herb mix an sugar and stir through.
  5. Bring the sauce to the boil then reduce to a simmer and simmer, uncovered for at least 30 minutes.
  6. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Cook pasta according to packet instructions and serve sauce over hot pasta sprinkled with parmesan cheese.

The sauce can be frozen and re-heated.


    Tip: if you want to reduce the calories even more or are gluten intolerant, serve the sauce with steamed vegetables. I had it for lunch yesterday with bok choy. Yum!

    Another tip: this one I learned from Jessica Seinfeld - if you have really fussy eaters, pre-cook and puree the carrot before you add it (add it when you add the tomato). The health and calorie-lowering benefits will remain but all traces will vanish. The mushroom just looks like mince so it is pretty passable.

    Nutrition Information

    Amount Per Serving Calories 357417


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