Spag Bol - Veggie Loaded Bolognese

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My kids love spaghetti bolognese, it's a regular on our weekly meal plan, so much so that in our house its name is shortened to the rather colloquial 'Spag Bol'. My Spaghetti Bolognese For Kids Recipe is loaded with veggies but still gobbled up by my kiddos.

orange bowl filled with spaghetti and bolognese sauce

Why This Recipe Works

  • Absolutely loaded with plant-based goodness. It contains a whopping 2kg of veggie content alongside 500g of meat
  • Kid-Friendly, kids love this meal!
  • Freezes and reheats well

Ingredients you will need

My spag bol sauce contains a whopping 2kg of veggies: onion, carrot, zucchini, mushrooms, tinned tomatoes, tomato paste and spinach. The other ingredients include mined beef, herbs and spices.

Ingredients to make spaghetti bolognese for kids with text overlay.

Substitutes

  • Dried Herbs: I use an Italian Herbs mix, but any dried herbs will work, basil, oregano, mixed herbs, etc.
  • Onion and Garlic Powder: These ingredients are not essential, I just like the extra depth of flavour they add. The garlic powder can be substituted for fresh minced garlic.
  • Tinned Tomatoes: I used diced tomatoes in this recipe, if you want a smoother texture then crushed tomatoes, tomato purée, or passata would be suitable substitutes
  • Beef Mince: This recipe works well with minced lamb or pork. If you are using minced turkey or chicken you will need to add extra olive oil as these meats are much lower in fat and the Spag Bol can end up dry.
  • Carrot, Zucchini, Mushrooms: The ratio of these can be changed, ie if you don't have zucchini you can use 2 carrots. Other veggies that work is pumpkin, parsnip and kumara (sweet potato).
  • Frozen Spinach: You can substitute for 2-3 handfuls of fresh spinach
  • Spaghetti: You can serve any shape of pasta with this spaghetti bolognese sauce or it's yummy with baked potatoes or oven-baked fries.

I am an ambassador for Countdown supermarket, they support my blog by providing ingredients for recipe creation and testing. I used spinach, tinned tomatoes, tomato paste, herbs and spices, and olive oil from their range in this recipe.


Step by step instructions

Prepare the veggies

  • Grate the carrot, zucchini, and mushrooms
  • Finely dice the onion, you can choose to grate the onion as well (photo 1).

Make the bolognese sauce

  • In a large pan heat 2 tablespoon of olive oil. Sauté the onion, grated carrot, and zucchini until softened and starting to go golden (photo 2-3).
  • Add the tomato paste, sauté for 2-3 minutes this helps deepen the flavour (photo 4).
  • Add the mince and the mushrooms, cook until the beef mince is browned (photo 5-6).
  • Add the tinned tomatoes, dried herbs and spinach (photo 7). If your kids are a little weary of green specks in their food please check out the tip section in this post as I have a great hack for that
  • Simmer for 25-30 mins until everything is well cooked, the sauce has thickened and flavourful. (photo 8). While the spag bol is simmering cook your chosen pasta as per the packet directions.
  • Serve with cooked pasta.
8 photo collage showing the key steps to making a veggie loaded spag bol sauce
spaghetti bolognese in a white bowl with shaved parmesan cheese on top

Top Tips

Here is how you can make this spag bol recipe perfectly every time!

  • It can be tempting to just add all the veggies at the same time as the tinned tomatoes. The spaghetti bolognese will taste so much better if you add them in the order I've described and sauté them.
  • Take the time to cook off the tomato paste for a couple of minutes, it really does improve the flavour (it gets rid of the very acidic flavour tomato paste can add to a dish and instead gives richness to the spag bol sauce)
  • I used diced tomatoes but tomato purée or passata adds the same veggie content but will give a smoother sauce.
  • If your kids are weary of green things in their sauce then my tip is to make a quick smoothie. Yes, blend the tinned tomatoes and the spinach in a blender before adding them to the browned mince and mushrooms.

FAQs

How long does this spag bol sauce last in the fridge?

Once cooked and cooled this spag bol can be stored in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Can I freeze this spag bol recipe?

Absolutely, this spaghetti bolognese sauce freezes well for up to 3 months, you can freeze it as straight sauce or you can mix it though pasta and freeze the pasta and sauce.

Veggie loaded recipes for kids

I don't refer to these recipes as hidden vegetable recipes, they are more recipes where i have boosted the veggie content, which is great for everyone not just fussy kids.

3 bowls of spag bol on a marble bench top

If you made my veggie loaded spag bol or any other recipes on the blog please :

  • leave me a comment and a star rating below to let me know how you got on, I love hearing from you.
  •  FOLLOW ME on FACEBOOK,  INSTAGRAM,  PINTEREST to see more kid-friendly food and what I’m getting up to.
3 bowls of spaghetti bolognese on a white bench top

Spag Bol - Veggie Loaded Bolognese

This veggie loaded spag bol recipe is the ultimate spaghetti bolognese for kids.
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: New Zealand
Keyword: Spag Bol, Spaghetti bolognese, spaghetti bolognese for kids, kid friendly spaghetti bolognese, hidden vegetable recipe
Servings: 6 People
Calories: 338kcal

RATE THIS RECIPE

4.62 from 142 votes

Ingredients

  • 200 g mushrooms
  • 1 medium carrot 150g
  • 1 medium zucchini 150g
  • 1 medium onion 150g
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 500 g minced beef
  • 2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ Cup tomato paste 55g
  • 800 g tinned tomatoes 2 x 400g can
  • 1 tablespoon mixed herbs
  • 100 g chopped spinach frozen or fresh
  • 500 g dried spaghetti

Instructions

  • Prepare the vegetables: Grate the carrot, zucchini, and mushrooms. Finely dice the onion, you can choose to grate the onion if you prefer.
  • In a large pan heat the olive oil. Sauté the onion, grated carrot, and zucchini until softened and starting to go golden.
  • Add the tomato paste, sauté for 2-3 minutes this helps deepen the flavour.
  • Add the mince and the mushrooms, cook until the beef mince is browned.
  • Add the tinned tomatoes, dried herbs and spinach. If your kids are a little weary of green specks in their food please check out the tip section in this post as I have a great hack for that
  • Simmer for 25-30 mins until everything is well cooked, the sauce has thickened and flavourful. While the spag bol is simmering cook your chosen pasta as per the packet directions.
  • Serve with cooked pasta.

Notes

  • It can be tempting to just add all the veggies at the same time as the tinned tomatoes. The spaghetti bolognese will taste so much better if you add them in the order I've described and sauté them.
  • Take the time to cook off the tomato paste for a couple of minutes, it really does improve the flavour (it gets rid of the very acidic flavour tomato paste can add to a dish and instead gives richness to the spag bol sauce)
  • I used diced tomatoes but tomato purée or passata adds the same veggie content but will give a smoother sauce.
  • If your kids are weary of green things in their sauce then my tip is to make a quick smoothie. Yes, blend the tinned tomatoes and the spinach in a blender before adding them to the browned mince and mushrooms.
  • This spaghetti bolognese sauce can be stirred in the fridge for 3 days or frozen for up to 3 months.

    Nutrition

    Calories: 338kcal | Carbohydrates: 18g | Protein: 19g | Fat: 22g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 59mg | Sodium: 344mg | Potassium: 1049mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 4227IU | Vitamin C: 25mg | Calcium: 102mg | Iron: 4mg

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    2 Comments

    1. will this still work if i leave out the beef mince and just put way more mushroom? my 2 year old isnt the biggest fan lots of meat in her food yet