Cheap five-a-day spaghetti bolognese

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Serves: 12

By doricpatter

(1 Vote) 2


  • 1/3 tomato puree

  • 1 tsp brown sugar

  • 2 tins chopped tomato

  • 1/2 lemon

  • 700-900g lean mince

  • 3 heaped tsp paprika

  • 2 medium-large onions finely chopped

  • 3 medium carrots finely chopped

  • 2 peppers of any colour finely chopped

  • 5 lumps of frozen spinach

  • 3 big handfuls of red lentils

  • 1/2 tsp mild chilli powder

  • 3 cloves garlic finely chopped

  • 1 tsp dried mixed herbs

  • 1/4 tsp gravy granules


  1. Use a large stockpot - this recipe makes enough to feed a very hungry family of 4-6 twice over.
  2. Fry off the mince at a high heat until browned then pour any excess fat away (not down the sink!).
  3. Add the onions, fry until soft then turn the heat down a bit and add the garlic, carrots, and peppers. Keep stirring until they're heated through then chuck in the spinach and the lentils, stir together well.
  4. Add tomato purée, gravy salt, herbs and spices, lemon juice and sugar. Grind a load of black pepper in too.
  5. Keep stirring and fry for a minute or two, then add the tinned tomatoes and stir (if using whole ones give each one a quick bash to burst it as you stir).
  6. Add a good splash of boiling water, put the lid on the pan and bring it to the boil.
  7. Boil for 10 minutes, stirring a couple of times, then turn the heat down and simmer for a minimum of half an hour, stirring constantly.
  8. Serve with spaghetti and some Parmesan or grated cheese on top. All children appear to love it and seem oblivious to the veg content!

Handy Hint

You can add all sorts of veg - I often use mushrooms, courgettes etc. The secret is to chop them finely. Simmering slowly is best - it makes a great slow cooker dish - just fry everything off together and sling it in the slow cooker.

Additional Information

  • Kids can help

  • Budget

  • Pasta

  • Low fat

  • Gluten Free

  • Dairy Free

  • Nut Free

  • Egg Free

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Your comments

  • Choos123 25/09/13 15:12

    Yum, really liked this thanks for the recipe. The paprika is particularly good in this.

  • doricpatter 11/03/11 16:57

    This makes a delicious, rich spaghetti sauce which is really tasty and filling. It's packed with undetectable veg and the tiny bit of gravy salt means it often doesn't need any seasoning at the table. Give yourself loads of time to simmer it slowly if you can - or better still, cook it the day before cos it's always even tastier then.