Healthier Pasta Bolognese


After learning we’ll probably get another foot of snow this weekend (after already receiving 2+ feet of snow this month), I knew it was time to cook up a big, warm bowl of hearty comfort food.

Because there’s only one member of the household who’s gleeful about the very generous helping of winter we’ve received this year.


Calvin (the same furry creature who despises rain and baths, but the way) adores bounding and digging through the snow.



Meat-and-Potatoes-Guy cleared some spots for him to explore in the yard…


But he prefers the challenge of leaping through the uncleared piles.

The snow is 2 feet taller than his little legs, and this fact slows him down considerably.

But he doesn’t let it stop him.

Laughing at his antics helps a little in dealing with this never-ending winter.

What helps a lot more…


…comfort food!

This Pasta Bolognese is definitely a warm, filling bowl of comforting deliciousness.

Even better: it’s easy to prepare in 30 minutes.


And I’ve made it guilt-free and nutrition-packed by adding lots of yummy veggies that complement the hearty meat sauce:


bell peppers,

and mushrooms.


Here are the key ingredients for this dish.

Begin by boiling a large pot of water.

Season with salt and add some whole wheat tagliatelle.

Or substitute: if you can’t find tagliatelle, any wide pasta – such as whole wheat fettuccine, whole wheat linguine, or whole wheat pappardelle – will work.

Cook until the pasta is just cooked through and barely tender, and drain.


While the pasta is cooking, place a knife over a clove of garlic and smash down on the knife with your palm or fist.

Peel off the skin and mince up the garlic.


Then cut an onion in half lengthwise and peel of the skin.

Place one half flat-side-down on the cutting board and cut very thin quarter-inch slices of onion.


Grab a bell pepper and place it upright on the cutting board.

Slice down each side of the pepper, creating four pieces.

This makes it easy to discard the stem and seeds.


Cut thin slices of pepper.


Next, dice up some crimini mushrooms.

Dice up lots of crimini mushrooms – this is a superfood that’s full of nutrients.

Crimini mushrooms have tons of antioxidants to boost immune function.  They also provide anti-cancer benefits with special fatty acids that block the growth of cancer cells. As well as lots of potassium, shown to help lower blood pressure and prevent stroke.


Grab a large saute pan and heat a bit of olive oil over medium-high heat.

Cook some 95 percent lean ground beef (grass-fed beef is best) until it begins to brown on the outsides.

Add the garlic and onion and cook a minute more.


Then add the peppers and mushrooms and cook until the peppers are softened.

Season with a bit of salt and pepper. Reduce the heat to medium.

Then add a few secret ingredients that make this meat sauce taste extra flavorful and delicious: honey, tomato paste, dried oregano, and dried thyme.

No need for tons of butter or cream when you’ve added all these tasty herbs and seasonings.


Stir everything and then add some diced tomatoes.

Allow the mixture to simmer for a few minutes.

Then season with salt and pepper.

Stir in the cooked pasta.


And serve yourself a nice big bowl.

This is a crowd-pleasing, filling dish that’s ready in about 30 minutes.


I find the sauce is so flavorful, I don’t even need any cheese for this dish.

But top with a bit of shredded provolone if you’d like.


The onion, pepper, and mushroom combo makes this meat sauce really richly flavorful.

And all these veggies really bulk up the sauce too.


So you can help yourself to a very large, generous portion without any fear of going overboard on calories and fat.

Here is the complete, printable recipe:

Healthier Pasta Bolognese
Recipe type: Healthy Pasta Dish
Total Time: 30 minutes
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes
Yield: 4 servings
  • 6 ounces whole wheat tagliatelle
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ pound 95 percent lean ground beef
  • 1 large bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 10 ounces crimini mushrooms, diced
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 16 ounce container diced tomatoes
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Freshly grated provolone, to top the pasta (optional)
  1. Boil a large pot of water. Salt the water and add the tagliatelle. Cook until al dente, about 10 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large sautΓ© pan over medium-high heat. Add the ground beef and cook until outsides begin to brown, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and onion and cook about 2 minutes more. Add the bell peppers and mushrooms and cook until peppers are softened, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Reduce the heat to medium. Add the tomato paste, honey, thyme, and oregano and stir to combine. Add the diced tomatoes and allow the mixture to cook and simmer, about 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add the cooked tagliatelle and stir to combine. Transfer to serving plates, grate a bit of provolone over the top of the pasta (optional), and serve.



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  1. February 21, 2013 / 3:19 pm

    Oh, sweet Calvin! My Bella does the exact same thing, with particular emphasis on jumping through snow that is over her head. We’ve been getting lots here too lately, and she is loving it. Me, not so much. I’m ready for spring! But this pasta bolognese sounds like the perfect cure for the winter blues! Yum!

  2. February 21, 2013 / 6:16 pm

    I love pomi tomatoes! I also love your beagle, so cute, makes me miss the beagle I had growing up!

    And omg so yummy this bolognese! I adore that you made it healthier, too!

  3. February 21, 2013 / 10:44 pm

    I demand more Calvin pictures! At least his furry little body should warm your footies πŸ™‚

  4. February 22, 2013 / 5:39 am

    The Bolognese looks delicious, and love the pictures of Calvin, he is very cute!

  5. February 22, 2013 / 5:51 pm

    That pasta looks great … easy recipe and it smells gorgeous. Great to see Calvin again, he hasn’t grown that much …. still adorable. Strange that all dogs just love the snow – never heard about a dog that doesn’t like to play in the snow.
    Wonderful post again – wonderful photos … I wish you 3 a great weekend.

  6. February 23, 2013 / 12:56 pm

    Thank you for the pictures of Calvin!!!! I’ll be smiling all weekend! Your bolognese does look healthier than most I’ve seen and so delicious. Love the addition of the mushrooms! Total comfort food! Love your post!

  7. February 23, 2013 / 7:02 pm

    I think I am in love with your beautiful dog and dish my friend πŸ˜€

    Choc Chip Uru

  8. February 23, 2013 / 8:22 pm

    Calvin looks so cute! Lovely pics. of the pasta bolognese! Sounds delicious!

  9. February 23, 2013 / 9:23 pm

    Your dog is always so sweet! Liked your recipe. Here in Italy, we cook pasta for few minutes, then prepare the sauce, put everything in the owen and let it cook for about 20 minutes. It’s called “pasta al forno”, try it that way!!!!

  10. February 25, 2013 / 7:10 am

    Perfect – a lovely and comforting bowl of pasta for the snowy weekend! Yum!

  11. February 25, 2013 / 8:07 pm

    I wish it would snow in San Francisco! πŸ™ But it has been chilly lately, so I still have an excuse to try this delicious bolognese dish! πŸ™‚

  12. February 27, 2013 / 1:00 pm

    This certainly has been a winter for the record books here in New Hampshire. Your delicious looking bolognese would be perfect on this very cold and blustery day.

  13. February 27, 2013 / 9:40 pm

    this dish looks incredible! I love the noodles you used!

  14. April 10, 2013 / 12:10 am

    Absolutely love this dish – it’s bookmarked and will become dinner this week. I love bolognese and I’m excited that it’s healthier, too (justifications for why I need to eat it more than once a week).

  15. Lina
    July 6, 2015 / 8:36 am

    Thanks for this recipe!!! πŸ™‚ it was delicious and I will be making it again!

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