Veg Packed Super Sauce!

This recipe is a bit of a hand me down from my mother, honed through the years to sneakily disguise a sack load of veg and protein to feed the small people. Now not so small they love this sauce in whatever guise it comes – topped with sweet potato mash for cottage pie, layered in lasagne, turfed over tagliatelle…… or add kidney beans, chilli powder and green/red peppers for a protein chocked chilli.

I make a bath load of this to freeze in individual packs and pre assemble meals for the family table. You will thank yourself when you come in after a manic day and the defrosted cottage pie greets you and all you have to do is introduce yourself to a glass of red before popping it in the oven and you start your nights homework help your kids with their prep.

The texture of this sauce is delicate rather than rustic. The low fat meat will give a lighter, more elegant texture to the base and the chopped vegetables get lost in the tomatoey flavoursome sauce. This is good enough to serve at a dinner party and it never faces any resistance with the younger members for the family.

This is especially popular on the edge of a frozen rugby pitch, poured over pasta in a food thermos for the end of an away match.

Veg Packed Super Sauce!

Serves an army/2-3 lasagnes plus spare for the freezer

400g smoked lardons/4-6 slices streaky bacon

2 tablespoons of Carotino or hemp oil

2 large onions

6 cloves of garlic

1kg low fat beef mince

1kg low fat pork or turkey mince

1/2 bottle of good red wine

1 litre hot beef stock

2 tablespoon tomato puree

1 tablespoon of sugar

2 tsp dried oregano

2 tsp dried basil

1 tsp smoked paprika

500g button mushrooms, sliced finely

3 large carrots, grated

900g approx chopped Italian tomatoes

fresh black pepper to your taste


Get an enormous saucepan – I use the preserve pan which is nice and wide and deep. Heat a tablespoon of Carotino oil and add the lardons, stirring until cooked and browned.

Add the onions and garlic, sweating off until translucent. Gradually add the meat roughly in 500g portions, waiting until one batch is cooked and has changed in colour before the next is added.

When all is browned, slug in the wine and turn the heat up, reducing it by half. When this has reduced, stir in all the rest of the ingredients and turn the heat down to a simmer. Season and cook this rich and glossy sauce on a low heat for 45 minutesto an hour, stirring occasionally.

Sort your other toppings/pasta out while it’s cooking and assemble so that you can go to bed with a well stocked freezer whilst simultaneously giving yourself a few nights off the cooking in the near future.


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