Australian/ Dinner/ Pasta & Noodles/ Recipes

Best Weeknight Bolognese with Vegetables

15/06/2021 (Last Updated: 22/06/2021)

Here’s the quick Aussie style Weeknight Bolognese you’ve been looking for. Ready in 30 minutes and complete with hidden vegetables and bacon to crank it up a notch.

Bowl of bolognese with fettuccine and topped with fresh basil.

Why We Love This

While we love cooking a ragu for hours on the weekend, sometimes we just want a quick pasta dish during the week. Hello weeknight Bolognese! 

It’s filled with sneaky carrot and zucchini that no one will notice, for an extra little kick of healthy vegetables.

Fork lifting out spaghetti and Bolognese sauce.

What is Bolognese? 

Bolognese is based on the traditional meat and tomato based pasta dish from Bologna, Italy known as tagliatelle al ragu

This Aussie version is how Mum makes it. It’s beef only, with vegetables (hidden of course) and a few shortcuts to turn it into a weeknight favourite.

What You’ll Need

  • Beef Mince – We use 100% beef mince for this recipe. If you want to add pork, use 500g / 1lb beef mince and 250g / 0.5lb pork mince.
  • Bacon – Middle bacon works well, or you can sub with pancetta.
  • Pasta – Spaghetti and fettuccine work well, but use whichever pasta you prefer. We usually use just over 80g / 2.8oz of dried pasta per person. This recipe is for 6 serves.
  • Red Wine – Dry red wine is great – grab a cheap shiraz or cabernet and pop it right in. Sub with beef stock. 
  • Diced Tomatoes – Essentially you need two cans (400g / 14oz cans) and if you can find them San Marzano variety.
Adding the vegetables to the Bolognese sauce.

Wandercook’s Tips

  • Storage – Store in an airtight container in the fridge for 2-3 days, or portion out and pop into the freezer for up to 3 months.
  • Leftover Bolognese – Use the sauce to make a moussaka, pasta al forno or even turn it into toasties for lunch!
  • Add Herbs – Add your favourite fresh herbs for an extra depth of flavour. Basil, oregano or rosemary would work really well, but they’re not essential.

FAQs

Do you simmer Bolognese with the lid on or off?

Simmering bolognese sauce with the lid off works well, especially for a quick weeknight meal. This helps to cook down and thicken the sauce. If you leave the lid on, it retains more moisture.

Why does spaghetti get watery?

Watery spaghetti can sometimes be a result of not completely draining your pasta. If this is the case, try draining more and adding it directly to your sauce, stirring it through before plating up.

Another reason can be not cooking your meat long enough to cook off any excess moisture. Once you brown the meat and hear the sizzles, that’s when you add the red wine and continue on with the recipe.

Bolognese or Bolognaise?

Bolognese is the traditional Italian spelling of the pasta dish, whereas sometimes you will see the French variation of bolognaise used instead – especially in Australia. Of course, your can always just call the dish by it’s nickname of Spag Bol!

Bowl of pasta topped with Bolognese sauce and basil.

More quick and easy pasta dishes:

★ Did you make this recipe? Please leave a comment and a star rating below!

Bowl of meaty weeknight bolognese, ready to eat.

Best Weeknight Bolognese with Vegetables

Here’s the quick Aussie style Weeknight Bolognese you’ve been looking for. Ready in 30 minutes and complete with hidden vegetables and bacon to crank it up a notch.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Australian
Servings: 6 people
Calories: 812kcal
Author: Wandercooks
Cost: $20

Ingredients

Optional: Make it smoky

Instructions

  • Heat the vegetable oil in a large frying pan over a medium high heat. Add the onions and garlic and stir fry for 2-3 minutes until translucent.
  • Add the beef mince and diced bacon and continue to fry for 5 minutes until browned.
  • Pour in red wine and cook until liquid evaporates, around 5-10 minutes. Reduce heat to a simmer.
  • Add the grated carrot, grated zucchini, diced tomatoes, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce and optional BBQ sauce, liquid smoke and smoked paprika. Stir through until well combined, continuing to simmer on low.
  • Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to packet directions. Drain and either add to the sauce and stir through or place into serving dishes and top with the Bolognese sauce.

Recipe Notes

  • Beef Mince – We use 100% beef mince for this recipe. If you want to add pork, use 500g / 1lb beef mince and 250g / 0.5lb pork mince.
  • Bacon – Middle bacon works well, or sub with pancetta.
  • Pasta – Spaghetti and fettuccine work well, but use whichever pasta you prefer. We usually use just over 80g / 2.8oz of dried pasta per person. This recipe is for 6 serves.
  • Red Wine – Dry red wine is great – grab a cheap shiraz or cabernet. Sub with beef stock. 
  • Diced Tomatoes – If you can find them, use San Marzano variety.
  • Storage – Store in an airtight container in the fridge for 2-3 days, or portion out and pop into the freezer for up to 3 months.
  • Leftover Bolognese – Use the sauce to make a moussaka, pasta al forno or even turn it into toasties for lunch!
  • Add Herbs – Add your favourite fresh herbs for an extra depth of flavour. Basil, oregano or rosemary would work really well, but they’re not essential.

Nutrition

Calories: 812kcal | Carbohydrates: 80g | Protein: 37g | Fat: 37g | Saturated Fat: 16g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 14g | Trans Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 98mg | Sodium: 484mg | Potassium: 1151mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 13g | Vitamin A: 2445IU | Vitamin C: 23mg | Calcium: 111mg | Iron: 6mg
Hey hey – Did you make this recipe?We’d love it if you could give a star rating below ★★★★★ and show us your creations on Instagram! Snap a pic and tag @wandercooks / #Wandercooks
Best Weeknight Bolognese with Vegetables

Miso E-cookbook

Image of laptop and ipad with text overlay.

20 Comments

  • Reply
    Ilona @ Ilona's Passion
    05/04/2016 at 10:54 am

    Great dinner idea. I usually make my bolognese with pork. I need to try yours 🙂

    • Reply
      Wandercooks
      05/04/2016 at 12:58 pm

      Oooh pork would be delicious too. We usually make bolognese with beef in Australia but definitely trying it with pork next time!

  • Reply
    Karly Campbell
    11/03/2016 at 4:01 am

    Holy SMOKES is right, this looks amazing! And the bacon! Agh!

    • Reply
      Wandercooks
      11/03/2016 at 9:01 am

      Oooh we baaaaad. 😉 Hahaha

  • Reply
    Muna Kenny
    09/03/2016 at 10:35 pm

    Impressive! I like how you added few more flavors to this classic dish 🙂

    • Reply
      Wandercooks
      11/03/2016 at 9:00 am

      Experimenting with the classics is too fun to pass up! 😀

  • Reply
    Marisa Franca @ All Our Way
    08/03/2016 at 10:53 pm

    Your Bolognese looks amazing and what a different take on the classic!! Now lets get down to business and talk corn — here in the States, especially Indiana, we have lots and lots of corn and we do grill it a LOT!! You want a great topping — all of my kids love it — it is maple chipotle butter. OMG it transforms everything to a different level. We even put it on our pork chops!! Yes indeed our barbie gets lots of use. Hey! Are you going to post pictures of your adventures?? Would love to see them. A dopo!

    • Reply
      Wandercooks
      09/03/2016 at 9:12 am

      Oh. My. God. That flavour combination sounds incredible Marisa! We are SO going to do this at our next BBQ. Oooh and I wonder if you could use this instead of garlic butter and make spicy maple chipotle ‘Garlic Bread’? What do you think?

  • Reply
    Emma @ Supper in the Suburbs
    08/03/2016 at 8:10 pm

    5 stars
    I’ve heard a few times that bolognase is best made with a mix of pork and beef but never tried it myself. (Though I do make meatballs this way. ..) Your recipe is very tempting!

    • Reply
      Wandercooks
      09/03/2016 at 9:07 am

      Hey Emma, yep it’s amazing with an even mix of pork and beef mince. Sarah’s experiment used bacon instead and it went really great with the smoky BBQ flavours in this version. We haven’t made meatballs in ages though, must do that soon!

  • Reply
    Martin @ The Why Chef
    08/03/2016 at 7:29 pm

    Was dosing up on liquid smoke just last night for some BBQ wings! I love the stuff, but I posted about liquid smoke in a British BBQ Facebook group and got torn a new behind! I didn’t realise how controversial it could be!

    My better half loves all things BBQ so I’ll be cooking this up for her! And she’s very much a won’t-go-near-carrots-or-courgette either, so it’ll be worthwhile if I can slip them in!

    • Reply
      Wandercooks
      09/03/2016 at 9:02 am

      Oh really? We never realised it could be so controversial. Serious Eats have done an amazing article on liquid smoke which I think you might enjoy reading! The key is definitely to use it sparingly to avoid overpowering the dish. We’ll definitely keep using it though. (Hint hint: Oysters Kilpatrick with a drop of liquid smoke. Do it. We’ll be sharing this one on the blog soon!)

  • Reply
    Diana
    08/03/2016 at 7:18 pm

    5 stars
    Love a good tasty bolognese! Proper comfort food 🙂 I never tried making my own bolognese sauce, but I will have to try this!

    • Reply
      Wandercooks
      09/03/2016 at 8:45 am

      Ooooh you definitely should! It always tastes better homemade, especially because you can tweak the flavours and make it just how you like it. Hope you enjoy, and let us know how you go!

  • Reply
    Barely Vegan
    08/03/2016 at 6:58 pm

    Bacon, BBQ, and Wine?!?! This sounds very decadent and tasty! Great recipe. 🙂

    • Reply
      Wandercooks
      09/03/2016 at 8:44 am

      Yep, Yep, and Yep! It’s got all of the good stuff in there!

  • Reply
    Sam | Ahead of Thyme
    08/03/2016 at 6:01 pm

    I have to go to bed but this bolognese has got me feeling hungry! Looks delicious!

    • Reply
      Wandercooks
      09/03/2016 at 8:41 am

      This one’s worth staying up for. 😉 😛

  • Reply
    Sandra - The Foodie Affair
    08/03/2016 at 4:05 pm

    My husband was just saying he was craving a pasta dish! He’ll love the bacon in this bolognese and I love all the veggies!

    • Reply
      Wandercooks
      09/03/2016 at 8:41 am

      It’s like the best of both worlds! And at least you don’t have to tell him about the veggies haha. 😉

    Leave a Reply

    Recipe Rating




    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

    570 Shares
    Pin
    Share
    Yum
    Share
    Tweet