Fennel and Beef Bolognese

Very Veggie Fennel and Beef Bolognese

This family favourite is a perfect dish to “hide” as many vegetables as you like, as long as they are VERY finely chopped and almost invisible….to the naked suspicious eye!! This bolognese uses Fennel, which you may not consider for this classic dish, but give it a go; the flavour is subtle and works really well. Adding vegetables and red lentils here not only boosts the nutrients and fibre, but you’ll end up with a more economical, delicious rich ragu that’s guaranteed to be a winner!

I’ve served it here with courgetti ribbons if you’re looking for an alternative to pasta, but it also works well with brown rice or a jacket potato for a gluten free option

To make this Bolognese, you’ll need…..

  • 500g Beef (preferably Organic) mince
  • 1 large Fennel bulb, finely chopped (shredded, then diced)
  • 2 large Onions, finely diced
  • Olive oil
  • 4 large cloves Garlic, crushed
  • ! tablespoon Fennel seeds
  • 2 large Carrots, grated
  • 1 large Courgette, grated
  • 1 teaspoon smoked Paprika (optional)
  • 30g flat-leaf Parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons tomato puree
  • 50g Red Lentils
  • 2-3 pinches chilli flakes
  • Sea Salt/Ground Pepper to season


Here’s how….

Fry the onions, diced fennel, garlic and fennel seeds in a little olive over a moderate heat for 5 minutes, until the vegetables have softened

Add the beef and continue to fry until browned

Add the carrots, courgettes and all remaining ingredients and stir thoroughly. Bring to the boil, reduce to the lowest heat and allow to simmer with the lid on, for approximately 1½ hours, stirring occasionally until you have a thick, rich sauce.



A food processor or Thermomix machine is ideal to finely chop all the fresh vegetables and fresh herbs.

Make a double batch and freeze half for a nutritious ready meal when you’re pressed for time or simply want a day off from the kitchen!

Nutritional Nugget

Adding Fennel to your meals not only enhances the flavour but also provides a good nutrition boost, including the antioxidant vitamins A and C and plenty of fibre. The bulb as well as the long stalks, leaves and seeds are edible and have been used for medicinal purposes for centuries. It is rich in essential oils that help relax the stomach and stimulate the digestive system; helping to relieve digestive symptoms such as wind and bloating which can cause discomfort. CLICK HERE for more about the health benefits of this vegetable.

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