Main Meals Recipes

Reduced Mince Bolognese

With so many people being more conscious about what they eat and how it affects the climate, but unsure as to how they can reduce their food carbon dioxide emissions, this is the recipe for you. It’s my halfway house to enjoying a little meat, but making it go further with the help of one of my favourite store cupboard staples, lentils.

This is a recipe I developed years ago, when at University and trying to make my student budget go a little further without having to compromise on nutrition, but more importantly taste. Lentils are a fantastic way of adding some extra bulk to a meal, whilst being nutritious on their own. This is perfect for trying to reduce your meat intake in dishes such as spaghetti bolognese where meat is usually the main ingredient of the sauce. Per 100g, turkey mince contains around 23g protein, and lentils are not far shy of that figure at 19.3g protein. And if we were to use mince alone, we will be having 5g less fibre per portion of sauce.

I also use turkey mince in my bolognese, rather than beef. This developed a while ago where I switched a lot of mince based recipes towards turkey mince. It’s an extremely useful source of protein, and comparing gram to gram against other meat minces such as beef, there is a lower carbon dioxide emission (estimated mean 6.0 vs 28.7 kg CO2-eq/kg), which is again beneficial to the environment.

This Bolognese sauce is also the perfect batch cooking recipe. It makes 8 servings of sauce which can easily be frozen down in portion sizes for an easy meal at a later date. Alternatively, make a bechamel sauce and layer up with lasagne sheets, or use some chillis and kidney beans to make a chilli con carne and you’ve got yourself some easy alternative meals to enjoy.

Makes 8 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 large onions, finely diced
  • 3 sticks of celery, finely diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 150g mushrooms, finely diced
  • 300g minced turkey thigh
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1/2 tbsp mixed Italian herbs
  • 4 fresh bay leaves
  • 2 carrot sticks, finely diced
  • 600ml chicken/vegetable stock (or 1 stock cube made up to 600ml)
  • 250ml red wine
  • 1 can of chopped tomatoes
  • 250g red lentils
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 large courgette, grated

Method

  • Gently fry the onions and celery in the oil till soft and translucent. Add the garlic and cook for a further 2 minutes.
  • Add the mushrooms and cook till soft and their liquids have evaporated.
  • Push the vegetables to the side of the pan and fry the turkey mince in the centre till golden brown and mix with the vegetables.
  • Add the tomato puree, herbs, carrots, stock, red wine, canned tomatoes, lentil and Worcestershire sauce. Cook over a low heat stirring occasionally for 45 minutes.
  • 5 minutes before serving, add the grated courgette.
  • Serve with fresh egg pasta, parmesan and fresh basil.

Per serving of Bolognese sauce: 213kcal/ 3.6g fat/ 0.8g saturated fat/ 18.7g carbohydrates/ 7.5g fibre/ 17.5g protein

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