Secret vegetables can be an easy way of getting extra nutrients into children and fussy teenagers. This simple recipe will satisfy the most veg-adverse! Try switching the vegetable options for other favourites – a sliced leek, a sliced stick of celery or a handful of chopped butternut squash, for example.

Ingredients

  • 1 onion (roughly chopped)
  • 1 carrot (peeled and grated)
  • 1 courgette (trimmed and grated)
  • 1 red pepper (deseeded, thinly sliced)
  • 1 clove of garlic, finely sliced (optional)
  • 400g organic beef mince
  • 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 tsp dried oregano or dried mixed herbs
  • 1 beef stock cube
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 300g dried spaghetti
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • salt
  • Parmesan or cheddar cheese (to serve)
  • A few sprigs of parsley (optional)

Method

  1. Heat a large, wide-based saucepan with a drizzle of olive oil over a medium heat. Once hot, add the onion, carrot, courgette, pepper and garlic. Cook gently for 10 mins or until everything has softened, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat. Add the chopped tomatoes and blend the contents to a puree using a hand-held blender or food processor. Put to one side in a separate bowl.
  2. Return the saucepan to a medium heat. Dry-fry the beef mince for 3-5 minutes, stirring with a wooden spoon to break up any large clumps, until lightly browned on the outside.
  3. Add the pureed vegetables, tomato puree and dried herbs to the pan, stirring well to combine. Crumble over the stock cube and add the bay leaf. Season with pepper and stir again.
  4. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat until it is simmering. Half-cover the pan with the lid and continue to simmer gently for 25-30 minutes, stirring the sauce more and more regularly as it thickens.
  5. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to the boil. Add the spaghetti and cook until al dente.
  6. Divide the spaghetti between bowls and top with the Bolognese and the cheese of your choice. Garnish with a little parsley (if using) and a twist or two of ground black pepper.