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Fennel and Beef Bolognese

Very Veggie Fennel and Beef Bolognese

May Simpkin
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
Course Main Course


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

  • 500 g 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
  • 30 g flat-leaf Parsley finely chopped
  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons tomato puree
  • 50 g Red Lentils
  • 2-3 pinches chilli flakes
  • Sea Salt/Ground Pepper to season


  • 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.