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Classic, delicious and hearty – the humble bolognese. This is the recipe for you if you want to reinvent your grandma’s family recipe and bring back those childhood memories without the long prep time.

Growing up, bolognese was one of those meals that my family had at least once a week without ever getting sick of it. Traditionally it takes hours to make – prepping the tomatoes from scratch, reducing the sauce down for a few hours and assembling all the ingredients together – as if students have time for that! This recipe is simple, yet still full of flavour and is sure to satisfy after a long day of classes.

Exam time is the perfect opportunity to try out this recipe as it is full of nutrients that help to calm the body. When you’re stressed, the body goes into fight-or-flight mode, stress hormones takeover and things can get a little manic. When this happens, the body chews through its stores of B and C vitamins.

Fear not though because this nutrient relationship also works inversely – when you’re stressed and you increase your intake of B vitamins and vitamin C, this helps to reduce the oxidative effects of stress on your body. Since this recipe is jam packed with veggies to boost vitamin C, beef to aid with B vitamins and pasta to make us happy (because who doesn’t love pasta and a good dose of serotonin) it is sure to reduce your stress levels.

So, add as many vegetables as you can into this dish, especially broccoli and mushrooms for extra B vitamins. Also, try swapping the meat for 2 cans of lentils for a vegetarian option – you won’t be disappointed and your body will thank you for it.

Bolognese Sauce

What you will need

  • Beef mince (400g-500g) or 2 cans of lentils
  • 2 cans of tomatoes
  • Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 head of broccoli
  • 1 onion 
  • 1 zucchini
  • 5-10 mushrooms
  • Pasta or rice noodles

Modifiers

  • For a vegetarian recipe, sub out the meat for 2 cans of lentils.
  • Use rice pasta, gluten free or anything you fancy.
  • The more veggies the better – if you’re stressed, pack this dish with vitamin C. Try taking a Berocca too (in the morning not at night).

Directions

  1. Chop up your onion and add that to a hot pan with a little olive oil.
  2. Add your mince/lentils to the pan and break it up so there are no chunks. While this cooks, chop up all other vegetables.
  3. Once the meat is almost cooked, add vegetables and let sauté for about 5-10 mins (you don’t want your veg fully cooked at this point).
  4. Before your veggies are completely cooked, add your canned tomatoes and the tomato paste and season to your liking. Start cooking your pasta.
  5. Let this reduce and cook for a further 10-15 mins until the sauce is thick and creamy. Bolognese and pasta should be ready at the same time.
  6. Plate up, top with cheese or nutritional yeast, a touch of basil and enjoy!

Samantha Elaine Wooldridge

Clinical Nutritionist
(BHSc Nutritional Medicine)

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