Bolognaise sauce with ‘Hidden Veggies’

Written by on Wednesday, 17 July 2019.

Bolognaise sauce with ‘Hidden Veggies’

Do members of your family turn up their noses when you try to feed them veggies? Then try this recipe where I’ve sneaked the veggies into this mince sauce. It’s tasty and hides the lot from carrot, onion, mushrooms, a few lentils and zucchini to tomatoes! I bet the family will never know how much goodness they are getting.


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced or finely chopped
  • 1 mild chilli, finely chopped
  • 2cm length of ginger, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup red lentils
  • 4 medium mushroom cups, sliced
  • 1 medium carrot, grated
  • 1 zucchini, quartered lengthwise and then chopped
  • 500g lean minced beef
  • 400g can chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 2 cups (500 mL) beef stock or water
  • Pepper, to taste

Nutrition per serve

1 serve (including a serve of spaghetti) contains 825 kJ (196 Calories), 16 g protein, 9 g fat (includes 3 g saturated fat), 11 g carbohydrate (including 4 g sugars), 3 g fibre, 530 mg sodium. Read our nutrition rating system.


  1. In a deep fry pan or large pot, heat the oil and sauté the chopped onion for 2-3 minutes or until it begins to go translucent.
  2. Add the garlic, chilli, ginger and lentils. Mix well.
  3. Then add the mushrooms, carrot and zucchini and sauté until soft and the carrot and zucchini are beginning to brown.
  4. Push the vegetables to one side of the pan and add the minced beef to the other. Chop up the ‘block’ of mince with your spatula and keep turning it until it’s all broken up and browned.
  5. Mix the meat and vegetables together.
  6. Then add the tomatoes, tomato paste, oregano and basil.
  7. Stir all ingredients well and gradually pour in the stock or water.
  8. Leave the sauce to simmer until the tomato paste is ‘cooked out’ (i.e. it has lost its raw flavour) and the sauce has reduced to a thicker consistency. Stir occasionally to make sure it doesn’t stick. This takes about 20 minutes on medium heat.
  9. Add pepper to taste.

 Serve over cooked spaghetti or other pasta lengths accompanied by a mixed leaf salad.


  1. No onion? Swap for a leek, finely chopped.
  2. When you add the garlic, chilli and ginger, add 1/2 tsp Clive of India curry powder and allow to cook out. You won’t get a curry taste it just adds a depth of flavour.
  3. More veggies? Add half a chopped eggplant when you add the zucchini. Or ½ red capsicum, diced.
  4. Still more veggies? Add half a cup of fresh or frozen peas and/or corn kernels if your kids like them.


Recipe created by Munaiba Khan. Photo thanks to dietitian Sophie Feng. You can follow her on Instagram at @sophies_foodfeast