Friday, 20 July 2012

Cooking with Arthritis Gadgets: Bad Days Bolognese

Sometimes gadgets are the answer to arthritis. I prefer to find ways to cook with arthritis that don't involve resorting to too many high-tech or specialist tools but there is a lot to be said for a couple of 'little helpers' in the kitchen - in this case my trust food processor.

Bolognese is one of my favourites. It's what we always requested for Birthdays or when we were unwell and thankfully my Mum has always made it with a food processor. It makes whizzing up the vegetables a doddle. If you don't have processor or blender and have arthritis in your hands - I'd recommend using ready chopped veg or a good quality cook-in sauce instead.  I've slightly adapted Mum's recipe over the years to add even more vegetables and cut out the bacon, but the credit for this should be all hers. On bad days, the taste of home it gives me is all the comfort I need.

1 onion 
2 cloves garlic
2 sticks celery
2 medium sized carrots (no need to peel if organic)
500ml passata (sieved tomatoes) OR 1 can chopped tomatoes
500g extra lean beef mince (or Quorn if vegetarian)
300g mushrooms
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 glass red wine 
1 bay leaf
1/2 crumbled stock cub
Black pepper to taste

Serves 3-4

Cut the ends of the onion and slice in half. Then peel the skin off. Put in food processor with garlic, halved sticks of celery and carrots. Pulse until finely chopped.

Pour the oil into a large saucepan and tip in the chopped vegetables and cook on a low heat for 5 minutes or until the onion begins to soften. Add the mince and cook for another 5 minutes until just browned.

Put the mushrooms in the food processor and whizz until finely chopped. Add these to the pan with the tomatoes, red wine, stock cube and bay leaf. Set to a simmer and cook for 45 minutes stirring occasionally. If it looks a little dry at any point just add a little water. Season with black pepper and serve.

Arthritis diet notes:
This is a very healthy recipe for bolognese. It's packed with vegetables and the lean mince (or quorn for vegetarians) make it much lower in saturated fat than some versions. This makes it a better choice for people with arthritis as the links between red meat and rheumatoid arthritis in some studies are mainly thought to be due to the saturated fat and omega 6 fatty acid content of the meat. Interestingly, tinned and cooked tomatoes are higher in the antioxidant lycopene than fresh so you can also feel good about simmering them up in the delicious sauce. 


  1. Hi Kate!

    This recipe sounds scrumptious, so it's another one I'm gonna have to try. Silly question: Do you serve the Bolognese over spaghetti or other pasta? Or eat by itself? Any other suggestions?

    I hope you're feeling well. Enjoy the weekend!

  2. Hi Wren,

    Had the first sunny weekend all summer here so it was lovely. It's normally eaten with pasta - spaghetti is the usual choice but I'm sure Italians would say tagliatelle would be better. Having said that, in my house we often eat it on baked potatoes, toast or even by itself...depends on the leftovers.

    Hope all is good with you

  3. Hi Kate, (Anon with SLE from your about me page... aka Sam) this recipe sounds lovely and going to give it a try but could you suggest and alternative to the red wine please? I don't ever buy red wine but love the flavour so will indulge if necessary but was wondering if there is an alternative which might be viable. Otherwise I will grab a bottle and make a big batch for the freezer ;)

    All the best


    1. Hi Sam,

      You could use a little water and a splash of balsamic vinegar. Or buy a cheap half bottle, use a glass and freeze the left over in an ice cube tray. Then you have it to hand of you ever need red wine in another recipe.

      Hope that helps


    2. Ooooh excellent plan :) Had not thought of freezing it as an option!



    3. Just wanted to let you know that I tried it and loved it... having leftovers baked with rice as you suggest... lovely :)


    4. Thanks Sam - so nice to get feedback and I'm really pleased you liked it. I love it with the rice, I'm sure Italian nonna's everywhere are scowling but it's yummy!



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