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Recipe: A Better Bolognaise - Cooking with Children

A Better Bolognaise

When it comes to pleasing children at mealtimes, you cannot often go wrong with serving up a spaghetti bolognaise. However, by tweaking the classic recipe we can do even better, providing children (and ourselves) with a healthier, and more sustainable option.

It is essential that children get to grips with understanding the importance of making informed food choices - for both their tummies and the environment! This dish is one that they can get involved in cooking or sourcing the ingredients for. In the day prior to cooking dinner, a trip to your local farm, butcher, or even farm shop could be an interactive way of educating children on the importance of buying local produce, or how food is grown. You can find your local farm shop here:

Perhaps it would be naïve to suggest that trips to the farm or cooking with children is always possible – sometimes we just want to get affordable food on the table fuss-free! Still, the recipe below is worth trying.

Even when sourcing the ingredients and cooking in your own way, by following the recipe below you can seriously reduce the carbon footprint of a classic (beef) bolognaise. Granted, this dish may not be eco perfection, but it is definitely friendlier. It is a realistic way to do better for the environment; if we all took small, easy steps by just cutting meat intake, the impact could be great!

As well the environmental perks, this dish is perfect for sneaking in extra veggies on those days where vegetables definitely need to be hidden! To the recipe you could add grated courgette or other vegetables – children (if not involved in the cooking) would never know!


  • 2 cloves of garlic

  • 1 onion

  • 2 sprigs of fresh rosemary

  • olive oil

  • 200g Quorn

  • 200g pork mince

  • 200g grated carrots

  • 200 ml veg or chicken stock

  • 1 x 280 g jar of sun-dried tomatoes

  • 2 x 400 g tins of chopped plum tomatoes

  • 500 g dried spaghetti

  • Parmesan cheese

  • extra virgin olive oil


  1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/gas 4.

  2. Peel and finely chop the garlic and onions, pick and finely chop the rosemary.

  3. Heat a splash of oil in a casserole pan on medium heat, add the rosemary, garlic and onion and cook for 5 minutes, or until softened, stirring occasionally.

  4. Add the pork mince, breaking it apart with the back of a spoon, then cook for 2 to 3 minutes, or until starting to brown. Then add the grated carrot, Quorn and stock. Leave to bubble and cook away.

  5. Meanwhile, drain and tip the sun-dried tomatoes into a food processor and blitz to a paste. Add these, along with the tinned tomatoes to the pan. Stir well, breaking up the tomatoes.

  6. Cover with a lid then places in the oven for 1 hour, removing the lid and giving it a stir after 30 minutes – if it looks a little dry at this stage, adds a splash of water.

  7. About 10 minutes before the time is up, cook the spaghetti in boiling salted water according to the packet instructions.

  8. Once the spaghetti is cooked, drain, then return to the pan with a few spoons of Bolognese, a grating of Parmesan and a drizzle of olive oil.

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