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A classic Spaghetti Bolognese is always going to tick the boxes as a big family favourite – but what if I told you we can also sneak in lots of vegetables to inject lots of nutrition into our winner of a ragu sauce recipe too?

How to make spaghetti bolognese sauce with vegetables.

Is there a more loved midweek dinner than Spaghetti Bolognese?!

Yes, yes, food snobs might frown on the less than authentic versions rolled out here in the UK, but you know, it IS a saviour of a dish and one we know will always go down well. 

In this post, I’ll explain how I make Spaghetti Bolognese so it’s really rich and meaty comfort food, while at the same time including lots of goodness in the way of hidden veggies that even the pickiest of eaters won’t detect! 

You can batch cook it for convenience and see below for more tips on how to mix it up with variations of this classic dinner.

Why you’ll love this easy Spaghetti Bolognese recipe

⭐️ So many ways to serve the sauce.

⭐️ Perfect freezer filler for batch cooking.

⭐️ Easy comfort food 😍

A fork lifting spaghetti bolognese from a bowl.

About this Spaghetti Bolognese with Vegetables

I love to play around with recipes using beef mince because I know so many of us add it to our shopping lists every week. It’s a good price, freezes well, is ultra versatile and delicious. 

I have made a couple of variations of this recipe simply because it’s so loved in our country (even if it isn’t the most authentic, it’s what we’ve come to know and love here).

Try out my Slow Cooker Bolognese, which I’ve tested plenty so that no browning of the meat is necessary, for those busy days. Also my Orzo Bolognese is a new twist on the old classic. 

What to serve the homemade bolognese sauce with

You can see in my photos I’ve gone off-piste and served this with tagliatelle (how did I run out of spaghetti?!) According to this article – ‘Five interesting things you didn’t know about Spaghetti Bolognese’ by Delicious Bologna – it’s probably more authentic this way anyway! 

But there’s heaps of other ways to serve it too:

Spaghetti Bolognese with Vegetables Ingredients

Large saucepan of beef bolognese sauce recipe for spaghetti bolognese with basil.
  • Carrots
  • Chestnut mushrooms
  • Courgette
  • Onion – You can buy frozen pre-chopped or fresh. Or soffritto, which is a combo of carrot, onion and celery! 
  • Celery
  • Pancetta – If you can’t get hold of pancetta, any smoky bacon will work.
  • Lean beef mince – You don’t have to use lean mince but 5% or 10% fat works fine.
  • Garlic – Fresh or jar/paste is OK.
  • Chopped tomatoes
  • Red wine – If you don’t have any red wine open, beef stock is absolutely fine.
  • Whole nutmeg
  • Italian dried herbs
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Fresh basil leaves
  • Spaghetti – Or you pasta of choice
  • Parmesan cheese

How to make Spaghetti Bolognese

  1. Chop all of the vegetables finely. Fry your pancetta.
  2. Brown your mince over a medium-high heat until starting to crisp, then remove from the pan with the pancetta.
  3. Add garlic and vegetables and fry until soft. Add the meat back in, then add tomatoes, red wine, nutmeg, herbs and salt and pepper.
  4. Allow to bubble on a medium heat with the lid on for at least 30 minutes. 
  5. Add chopped basil, then serve with pasta and grated parmesan.


  • Veggies – You can omit the courgettes and mushrooms if you prefer, but they are so well hidden and add a good dose of vitamins, fibre and minerals.


In the fridge You can keep this recipe in the fridge for 3 days. Reheat fully in the microwave or on the hob before serving. Add a splash of water if it needs it.

In the freezer This is a fantastic make-ahead freezer recipe! Just wait until it’s totally cold and then put into a freezer-proof containers and freeze for up to 3 months. Defrost thoroughly before reheating.

Easy Spag Bol top tips

Hack: Frozen mixed base veggies

You can replace the individual carrots, celery and onion ingredients for a frozen bag of ‘soffritto’, which comes already pre-chopped and all together in one bag. (I love this cheat for lots of recipes!) It might be called ‘vegetable base mix’ or something similar in some supermarkets.

Cooking time

This gets better and better the longer you cook it on a low heat. If I have time I love to cook it very very low and slow for, say, two hours.

Peel the courgettes

If your children will spot even the green of the courgettes, you could peel them first.

Oven cooking

My favourite way to cook bolognese is actually in the oven as I think it gives a slightly more rich flavour. So, if you have time, do everything up until point 5 of the recipe below, then pop in the oven at 150C for about 2 hours, checking occasionally to add some more wine/stock if it’s drying out. I’ve cooked it on the hob here though for the sake of midweek speed.

Time-saving gadget

For small jobs like this I really like this Mini Chopper. It’s affordable and not a pain to get in and out of the cupboard.


What’s the best kind of beef mince to use for Spaghetti Bolognese?

Ideally I’d use 5% or 10% fat for this recipe, otherwise it might be a bit fatty, but it’s down to personal preference. You can drain some of the fat if you need to.

Always dispose of fat very carefully – don’t block your drains! Read here to see what Recycle Now suggests.

Let me know how you got on and what you thought of these recipes. Please rate the recipe using the ⭐️ below.

Also I’d LOVE to see your cooking creations. If you’d like to share yours with me, you can tag me on Instagram (@tamingtwins).

5 from 22 votes

Easy Spaghetti Bolognese {with Hidden Vegetables!}

This classic easy Spaghetti Bolognese recipe is delicious AND it has hidden vegetables! A perfect batch cook recipe and midweek win for family dinners.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Servings: 8 People


  • 250 g Carrots
  • 200 g Chestnut mushrooms
  • 1 Large courgette
  • 1 Large onion, See notes.
  • 2 Celery stalks
  • 95 g Pancetta slices, Finely chopped. See notes.
  • 500 g Lean beef mince, See notes.
  • 3 Garlic cloves, Peeled and crushed. See notes.
  • 2 x 400g tins Chopped tomatoes
  • 350 ml Red wine, See notes.
  • Whole nutmeg
  • 2 tsp Italian dried herbs
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • A handful of fresh basil leaves

To serve

  • Spaghetti or your choice of pasta, See notes.
  • Parmesan cheese


  • Use your chopper or food processor to finely chop the carrots, mushrooms, courgettes, onions and celery.
  • Meanwhile, in a large, heavy saucepan, fry off your small pieces of pancetta. Remove from the pan to a large dish.
  • In the fat left in the bottom of the pan, brown your mince over a medium high heat. Allow it all to turn brown and start to crisp slightly. Remove from the pan and add to the dish with the pancetta.
  • Now add the garlic to the pan and fry for 2-3 minutes, before adding the finely chopped vegetables. Fry them for about 10 minutes until soft.
  • Add the pancetta and mince back to the pan. Add the tinned tomatoes, red wine, a good grating of the fresh nutmeg (about a quarter of a nutmeg), the dried herbs and salt and pepper.
  • Leave the heat on medium, with the lid on and allow to bubble away for at least 30 minutes (an hour on a very low temperature if you have time). (See notes.)
  • Remove from the heat and add in chopped or ripped basil leaves.
  • Serve with spaghetti and grated parmesan.


Vegetables: I like to buy a pre-chopped Soffritto mix which is onions, celery and carrots. Most supermarkets stock these now and it can save so much time.
Pancetta: If you can’t get hold of pancetta, any smoky bacon will work.
Mince: You don’t have to use lean mince but 5% or 10% fat does works fine.
Red wine: If you don’t have any red wine open, beef stock is absolutely fine.
Pasta: About 300g of dried pasta is right for 4 people. I haven’t included it in the recipe as a specific as I know people like to cook different amounts to their own taste and appetite!
Cooking time: This gets better and better the longer you cook it for on a low heat. If I have time I love to cook it very very low and slow for say 2 hours.


Calories: 203kcalCarbohydrates: 8gProtein: 16gFat: 8gSaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 46mgSodium: 155mgPotassium: 621mgFiber: 1gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 5315IUVitamin C: 7.9mgCalcium: 37mgIron: 2.1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Family Food
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  1. 5 stars
    The best Spag Bol recipe I have come across and my children don’t even know there’s veg in it!!! This makes enough for us 5 and a batch to go in the freezer.

  2. 5 stars
    I’ve always used jar’s as I thought they were easier but never again this recipe was so easy an soooooooo much nicer. I’m converted thank you

  3. Could you move this to the slow cooker after step five rather than the oven? And if so would the timings need to be adjusted?

        1. I’d use just one can of tomatoes and maybe 150ml stock and then check it during cooking. You may need to add more. You might also need to add an additional stock cube and/or tomato puree to add in additional flavour that doesn’t come from reducing it down. I’ll add it to my list to test over the coming weeks 🙂