Healthy Bolognase

I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend! We had a busy one, filled with a beautiful birthday party on Saturday morning at a nearby park (C was in heaven with his slice of birthday cake, hamburger, ice cream cone, and splash – soak! – in a nearby fountain), and then Saturday afternoon the hubby and I packed our bags and headed out for a little staycation. As our first night away from our darling boys, we missed them dearly however it was such a treat to have some time just the two of us, feel pampered and stay in one of our favorite hotels. And to sleep in past 7am – oh my goodness, we forgot what that felt like! Did I also mention the incredible meals? Dinner included maple and black peppercorn crusted buffalo tenderloin with creamy jalapeño cheddar grits, wilted greens and a butternut squash tamale – yum, yum, yum!

Back to the boys – I knew C especially would be missing us around dinnertime, and so we thought making his favorite dish would help. We surprised him with spaghetti Bolognese, and the child couldn’t have been happier. I consumed copious amounts of this comforting and classic Italian dish during my two pregnancies, and so perhaps that’s why the boys adore it so. They both had seconds on Saturday night, and C even ate the remainder for lunch on Sunday.

I’m planning on making it again this week for dinner, however I’m going to tweak the sauce slightly. While the traditional version calls for milk or cream to be added to the sauce, this recipe that I’m sharing today replaces the dairy with pine nuts making it a bit healthier. Plus, it’s filled with carrots and celery, so its perfect for those kiddos who shy away from veggies. Given that I try to steer clear of dairy, this recipe is a great alternative and one that I can eat, guilt-free. Paired with a crisp green salad and crusty baguette, it’s the perfect meal, and I hope you will give it a try too!


Healthy Bolognese Sauce 

2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil

1 onion, chopped

2 celery stalks, chopped

4 carrots, chopped

1 can of crushed  tomatoes

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

1/2 cup pine nuts

1 tablespoon oregano

1 pound cooked ground beef 


Pour the oil into a dutch oven over medium heat, and add the onions, celery and carrots. Sauté the vegetables until they are soft, and the onion is translucent. Add the apple cider vinegar and tomatoes. Cook the sauce for 10-15 minutes (stir constantly). Next, add the salt and fennel seeds, and stir the sauce until well combined. Transfer the sauce to a blender or food processor, add the pine nuts, and blend until smooth. Transfer the sauce back to the dutch oven, and add the oregano and cooked ground beef. Warm the sauce over low heat, and serve with your favorite pasta. 


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