Bean and Mushroom Bolognaise with Wholemeal Pasta
Serves: 4 – 6
There are some comforts that are difficult to contemplate sacrificing. For me, a bowl of spaghetti bolognaise was once a friend and a warm blanket. Yet I was wearing the meal for many days to come, with the bacon, the mince, and the handfuls of cheese. Delicious! But the meal provided close to zero nutrition. One of the wonderful things about changing your health and your attitude about food is that you can still enjoy the things that you love, varied in a way that nurtures your body, rather than abusing it. This a great recipe to make with kids too. My daughter loved helping me make the fresh pasta dough, believing that we were playing with play-dough. The great thing about getting kids involved with cooking is that they can’t wait to eat their creations. So, if safe, include your kids in as many healthy cooking projects as possible.
Note: I have made the pasta from scratch in this recipe, which is something I recommend in as many elements of cooking as possible. Making fresh pasta, bread and hummus (to name a few) means that you know exactly what ingredients are going into the development process. You avoid preservatives and are able to shop for organic ingredients, hence avoiding nasty hidden GMO’s. Don’t be scared of making home-made pasta. It is actually very easy. But if you just don’t have the time, a packet of wholemeal pasta would suffice. Just be sure to look at the label when purchasing so that you know what is in the pasta and hence, what you’ll be putting into your body.
For the pasta:
2 cups wholemeal flour
2/3 cup water
½ tsp salt
For the bolognaise:
1 tsp coconut oil
1 red onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic (or 1 tsp garlic flakes)
1 tbsp turmeric
1 tsp cumin
420g tin four bean mix, drained
1 potato, sliced into small pieces
100g sweet potato, sliced into small pieces
100g pumpkin, sliced into small pieces
generous handful broccoli, diced
375g mushrooms, sliced
3 tbsp tomato paste
400g diced tomatoes
500ml vegetable stock
salt and pepper to taste
For the pasta:
- Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl until it forms a dough. Sprinkle some extra wholemeal flour onto a workbench and knead the dough lightly, until it becomes a smooth ball. Keep adding extra flour until the consistency is no longer sticky.
- If you have a pasta making machine, proceed to rolling the dough through the different levels, flattening the dough to a couple of millimetres of thickness.
- Being a vegan pasta (no egg) and having no oil in the recipe, I found that when I tried to put the dough into the fettuccine cutter, it didn’t separate well. I tackled this by laying the flattened dough out on the table and simply cutting the sheets into fettuccine sized strips.
- If you do not have a pasta making machine, you can simply avoid the second step and roll the dough out by hand until you achieve the desired thickness. Make sure to dust your bench with flour first so that your dough doesn’t stick to the table!
- When you are ready to prepare the pasta, simply cook it for a few minutes in a pot of boiling water, drain and put aside for assembly.
For the bolognaise:
- Heat the coconut oil in a pan and sauté onion until soft. Add the garlic, turmeric and cumin and stir quickly and thoroughly.
- Add the mixed beans, potato, sweet potato, pumpkin, broccoli and mushrooms and mix well. Cook for a few minutes then add the tomato paste. Ensure that the paste is well implemented through the mix.
- Add tinned tomatoes and vegetable stock and bring to the boil. Reduce to a simmer and allow to cook for about a half an hour, or until the potato is cooked through.
- Season with salt and pepper and serve alongside some of your fresh wholemeal pasta.
- You’re done! Smile and be proud, and most importantly, enjoy! Food is there to be enjoyed so savour every healthy bite. Bon appétit!