Now that the weather is starting to get a little colder, I find myself craving more warm and hearty meals of an evening and a nice big bowl of pasta is perfect for such an occasion. As a child, pasta was undoubtedly my favourite dish of all time and my mum used to make a spaghetti bolognese at least once a week! This is such a great family meal, as it’s pretty easy to make, is relatively affordable and also so versatile. You can serve it that traditional way; with spaghetti, or add some kidney beans and make a chilli to serve in wraps, with rice or perhaps as a baked potato filling. It’s such a flavourful dish and the rich tomato sauce is the perfect warming winter meal.
I’ve used lean mince beef in this recipe, but you could always try changing this for turkey mince or maybe lamb if you would prefer. If I’m going to be cooking with meat, I always try and make sure that I’m getting good quality produce that’s organic and grass fed and when it comes to mince I try and make sure it’s 5% fat or less. In this particular bolognese, I’ve decided to opt for a slightly lower carb option and instead of pasta, I’ve used courgetti as the accompaniment. In case you’re not familiar with this term already, ‘courgetti’ is just spiralized courgette, which creates spaghetti like strands and can be done with a whole range of different veggies like: carrots, sweet potatoes and butternut squash. It’s an amazing way to include more vegetables into a meal and is also good if you want a slightly lower carb option. Oh, you might now be wondering where the cacao part of this recipe is? I can’t believe I nearly wrote this whole description without addressing one of the main aspects of the title and perhaps a slightly unexpected ingredient that I’ve included here. Yes, I’ve put cacao powder in a savoury pasta dish. You might be thinking that this is a little odd, but the richness of the cacao works really well with the flavours from the meat and tomato and creates an amazing depth of flavour.. you’ll see what I mean if you give it a go!
Honestly, this is a pretty quick recipe and won’t require hours of slaving away in the kitchen to prepare, so I don’t mind making it fresh for dinner. But if you really don’t fancy cooking after a long day of work, it’s a great thing to prepare in advance and then all’s you have to do is heat up the sauce and serve it with either some pasta or courgette spaghetti when you want it. You could also take some to work for lunch time with you!
Cacao courgetti bolognese
- Cook Time: 30
- Total Time: 30
- 400g lean mince beef
- 1 red onion
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 can tinned tomatoes
- 1/2 can of water
- 1 tbsp cacao powder
- 2 tbsp tomato puree
- Mixed herbs
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- Sea salt and black pepper
- 4 courgettes
- Finely dice the onion and add this into a pan along with a little coconut oil or water. Sautee this until the onion starts to cook through, then crush your garlic cloves and add those in as well.
- Add the mince into the pan and cook over a medium heat to brown the meat.
- Pour in your chopped tomatoes into the pan and fill the can half way with water and add this as well. Stir in a sprinkiling of mixed herbs, the tomato puree, paprika, cacao powder and salt and pepper to taste.
- Place the lid on the pan and leave to simmer for about 20 minutes to allow the sauce the thicken and flavours to deepen.
- Spiralise your courgettes and you can either serve these raw or lightly fry them in a pan to soften them. Serve with some of the bolognese sauce.
- Serving Size: 4