Spaghetti Bolognese recipe

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Our spaghetti Bolognese serves four and is on the table in just 50 minutes.

spaghetti bolognese in a cast iron pan topped with fresh basil and grated parmesan
(Image credit: Getty Images)
Serves4
SkillEasy
Preparation Time10 mins
Cooking Time40 mins
Total Time50 mins
Five A DayOne
Cost RangeCheap
Nutrition Per PortionRDA
Calories623 Kcal31%
Sugar17 g19%
Fat17 g24%
Salt2 gRow 3 - Cell 2
Protein44 g88%
Carbohydrates79 g30%
Salt2 gRow 6 - Cell 2

This spaghetti Bolognese can be prepared ahead and is under 630 calories per portion. 

It’s hard to beat the comforting combination of perfectly cooked spaghetti, coated in a rich tomato and beef Bolognese sauce. Use the best quality mince and stick you can afford and if you have some wine open, add a small glass to the sauce for a richer flavour. 

Ingredients

  • 2 medium onions, peeled and chopped
  • 1tbsp olive oil
  • 500g lean minced beef
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed
  • 90g mushrooms, sliced
  • 1tsp dried oregano or mixed herbs
  • 400g can tomatoes or chopped tomatoes
  • 300ml hot beef stock
  • 1tbsp tomato ketchup or purée
  • 1tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 350g spaghetti
  • Grated Parmesan, to serve (optional)

WEIGHT CONVERTER

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Method

  1. Put the onion and oil in a large pan and fry over a medium heat for 3-4 minutes or soft and translucent. Increase the heat and add the mince. Fry until brown.
  2. Stir in the garlic and cook for 30 seconds, ensuring it doesn't burn, then add the mushrooms and herbs, and cook for another couple of mins.
  3. Stir in the tomatoes, beef stock, tomato ketchup or purée, Worcestershire sauce, and seasoning. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat, cover, and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 30 mins.
  4. Meanwhile, cook the spaghetti in a large pan of boiling, salted water, according to packet instructions. Drain well then stir in the meat sauce.
  5. Serve in bowls with some freshly grated Parmesan cheese, if you like. 

Watch how to make spaghetti Bolognese

Before you tackle this recipe you might want to read our guides on how to cook mince meat and how to cook pasta. While spag bol is delicious on it’s own, many people like to serve with with some homemade garlic bread.

Top tips for making spaghetti Bolognese

Leftovers can be stored in the fridge for up to two days and food writer Jessica Ransom says: 'I'm a big believer than Bolognese tastes better the day after cooking as the flavours have had time to sit and intensify.' 

You can also freeze leftovers; just make sure you defrost thoroughly before reheating. We recommend doing this in portions so you always have a speedy dinner for one available. For more spaghetti Bolognese tips, continue reading below. 

How can I adapt this spaghetti Bolognese to suit vegetarians?

If you want to make a vegetarian Bolognese you can swap the beef mince in this recipe for Quorn, vegetables, or make a lentil Bolognese instead. Quorn doesn’t take as long to cook and you often add at the end of making the Bolognese sauce but read the packet instructions carefully when cooking.

If you want to make your spaghetti Bolognese healthier, swap the beef mince for a lower-fat option like turkey mince. Turkey mince is much leaner meat which means it's lower in fat and calories than beef, lamb, and pork.

What can you serve with spaghetti Bolognese?

Many people serve their spaghetti Bolognese with a generous helping of Parmesan cheese. If you don’t have Parmesan in the fridge, or you need a vegetarian alternative, you could opt for cheddar or mozzarella instead. 

While we think the spaghetti Bolognese is satisfying enough on its own. You can serve with a leafy green salad on the side or some steamed or roasted vegetables

What can I use instead of spaghetti?

If you’ve run out of spaghetti or the kids aren’t a fan, you could swap for a different pasta shape. Homemade tagliatelle, penne, spirals, or bows would work just as well. 

Food writer Jessica Ransom says: 'One of my favourite pasta shapes to serve with Bolognese sauce is bucatini. It looks like spaghetti but is a little thick and has a small hole running through the centre. This makes it fun when you're slurping up the pasta and sauce!'

What can I eat with Bolognese sauce instead of pasta?

You can use the Bolognese as a delicious jacket potato filling. Alternatively, you can also serve it with gnocchi, rice, or couscous.

Food writer Jessica Ransom says: ‘I like making an indulgent toastie with leftover Bolognese. Reheat the sauce in the microwave or on the hob until hot. Slather over a slice of bread and sprinkle generously with cheese. If I’m going all out I’ll use a combination of cheddar and mozzarella. Top with another slice of bread and cook in a toastie-making or a frying pan with a little oil in.’

What makes spaghetti Bolognese taste better?

Using a quality stock will make a massive difference when it comes to making a flavoursome Bolognese sauce. Make a big batch of stock and then freeze in small portions so you have it to hand for recipes like this. Adding a splash of wine can also give a rich, deep flavour. Ensure you simmer it for long enough to cook off the alcohol.

This recipe uses lean mince meat to keep the calories lower but using full fat mince will produce a more intense, meaty flavour. 

Do you cook meat or vegetables first in Bolognese?

In our spaghetti Bolognese recipe, we soften the onion first. Then we add the mince meat followed by the garlic and the rest of the ingredients. 

Why add carrots to Bolognese?

Not only are carrots full of nutrients including vitamin C and A, they are an excellent source of fibre. They add a touch of colour to the Bolognese sauce and bring a little sweetness too. 

This complements the rich meaty flavours and sharpness from the tomatoes. If you’d like to add carrots to this recipe, peel and dice two large carrots and fry with the onion. 

Profile picture of Jessica Ransom
Jessica Ransom

"Bolognese is a great recipe to bulk out with extra veggies you need to use up. I often finely chop a broccoli stalk and add it to the mix along with some chopped peppers too. It's not traditional but it's a great way to avoid food waste and means you can get more portions from one packet of mince. Add a drained tin of lentils for extra nutrients too." 

This recipe is easy to prepare but if you want to save time with the vegetable prep, consider using a food processor to do all the chopping for you. This 3-in1 Ninja Food Processor has a slicing and dicing attachment which is great for onions and the mushrooms too. 

Ninja 3 in 1 Food Processor - View at Amazon

Ninja 3 in 1 Food Processor - View at Amazon

There’ll be no more tears streaming down your face as you try to dice onions with this handy 3-in-1 food processor by Ninja. There are dice and slice attachments to make preparing your Bolognese ingredients a breeze. Plus, if you’ve got little ones that you are starting to wean you can blitz the Bolognese to a puree for them to enjoy.

Not what you're looking for? Read our guide on how to cook mince for some alternative recipes. If you need something lighter, the Slimming World's spaghetti Bolognese is a great option. This family-friendly vegetable Bolognese is perfect for those looking to cut down on meat and Joe Wicks lentil Bolognese is another tasty option. 

Jessica Ransom
Senior Food Writer

Jessica is a freelance food writer, stylist and recipe tester. She previously worked as Senior Food Writer at Future. While at Future Jessica wrote food and drink-related news stories and features, curated product pages, reviewed equipment, and developed recipes that she then styled on food shoots. She is an enthusiastic, self-taught cook who adores eating out and sharing great food and drink with friends and family. She has completed the Level 1 Associate course at the Academy of Cheese and is continually building on her knowledge of beers, wines, and spirits. 

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