This recipe really does cover all bases. It’s packed with nutrients and vitamins from all the fresh vegetables, lots of lean protein from the beef, carbs from wholegrain pasta and a dose of good fats from the cheese & coconut oil.
According to mentalhealth.org
A balanced mood and feelings of wellbeing can be protected by ensuring that our diet provides adequate amounts of complex carbohydrates, essential fats, amino acids, vitamins and minerals and water.
This is why it’s so important to try and eat a balanced diet and really think about what you’re putting into your bodies.
Bolognese has always been a favourite of mine. As a teenager (when I was an incredibly fussy eater, despite my Mums best efforts- sorry Mum) I used to love frozen microwave spaghetti Bolognese. It would come in a vac pack with two compartments, one for the sauce and one for the spaghetti. God knows what was in it but I loved it. I now have the benefit of age, and wisdom, on my side and I would never eat something like that but I do still love Bolognese, however I get my fix by cooking it myself.
It has been estimated that the average person in the UK will eat more than 4kg of additives per year! This is largely due to food production techniques coupled with our increasingly hectic lifestyles. We are time poor and rely on processed convenience foods to keep us going. I personally think the amount of chemicals we are taking into our bodies is a big contributor in the increase in mental health issues.
While we may think we don’t have time to cook from scratch I argue that we really don’t have time not to. Our physical and mental health should be our top priorities; we know that eating a balanced diet full of fresh ingredients is so much better for us so we must make time to cook and nurture our bodies. Big batch recipes such as this are great because you put in some time with the prep and have 8 portions at the end. You can fill the freezer and you’ll have healthy food at your fingertips, rather than the take-away menu. Investing in a pressure cooker can speed up cooking time considerably, theres lots of great value ones available now and although they may seem a little scary at first they’re incredibly easy to use once you’ve read through the booklet.
Although it’s full of a rainbow of vegetables I think it will please even the fussiest of eaters as everything cooks down together and absorbs all the rich meaty, tomato flavours. It’s proper comfort food, but comfort food that nourishes from the inside out.It makes an idea lunch to take to work but it’s also substantial enough to have for your evening meal too. It’s especially good with the addition of homemade tear and share garlic bread for dipping in!
Beef Bolognese Soup
Makes 8 Servings
Macros per serving: 288 Kcals 6.1g Fat 30.1g Carbs 22.8g Protein 15g
Drizzle olive or coconut oil
1 leek, trimmed and thinly sliced
250g carrots, diced
200g celery, diced
1 tbsp garlic puree or 3 large cloves garlic, crushed
1 tbsp dried oregano
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tbsp tomato puree
1 tbsp brown sugar
500g extra lean minced beef or turkey (less than 5% fat is best)
250ml red wine
200g mushrooms, diced
1 courgette, diced
1 large pepper or a few small peppers, deseeded and chopped
1 aubergine, diced
two 500g cartons passatta
1000ml beef or veal stock (the veal stock adds a great favour, I use Essential cuisine Veal stock mix which you can get from good delis and farm shops or Lakeland)
100g small pasta shapes, I used Tesco wholewheat high protein fusilli
150g kale, chopped
3 tbsp Parmesan cheese
30g fresh basil, torn
Heat the oil along with a big pinch of salt in a VERY large saucepan or your pressure cooker and then add the carrots, celery and leeks. Cook for 15 minutes, while stirring occasionally, until soft. Add the garlic, oregano, tomato puree, sugar and Worcestershire sauce and cook for a few minutes, stirring occasionally.
Next add the beef, cook until browned, using your wooden spoon to break up any lumps with a wooden spoon. Add the wine and bubble to reduce.
The rest of the veggies go in now, add them one at a time and give everything a really good stir letting it reduce down a bit to make some space before adding the next lot. Now the stock, passata, some salt and pepper. If you don’t think you’ll have enough room for all the stock then add half now and the rest at the end. Stir well and bring up to a gentle boil.
Pressure cooker: Once boiling put the lid on and lock, wait until it comes up to high pressure then turn down to the lowest heat and time 20 minutes, slowly reduce the pressure and then stir well, Stir in the pasta and cook for the time stated on the packet adding the kale for the final 3 minutes of cooking time. Stir in the cheese and basil. Allow to cool slightly before tasting and seasoning with black pepper and salt if it needs it.
Slow cooker: Transfer your mixture to a slow cooker and stir in the pasta, cook on low for 8 hours or on high for 4 hours. Stir in the kale cheese and basil, allow to cook for 5 minutes more. Allow to cool slightly before tasting and seasoning with black pepper and salt if it needs it.
Hob: Gently simmer, the mixture should only just bubble, stirring occasionally for at least 2 hours, or longer if you can. Stir in the pasta and cook for the time stated on the packet adding the kale for the final 3 minutes of cooking time. Stir in the cheese and basil. Allow to cool slightly before tasting and seasoning with black pepper and salt if it needs it.