Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Healthy Spaghetti Bolognese

This recipe is a healthy variation on a rich meat sauce I have been making since I was sixteen.   I have adapted it to make it healthier and to help fuel my runs.   I don't eat red meat or pork any more,  and don't often eat poultry, so this dish is great to ensure my iron levels remain in tact,  and it is not short on flavour or nutrients!

Every time I go to make this dish I pull out the recipe book I have used and loved for over 20 years.  Its so cute and homey and just makes me happy when I use it!

Who uses recipe cards anymore?!!!

Well loved recipe (sorry about the side view!)

Healthy Spaghetti Bolognese

1 lb of extra lean ground turkey (you can also use ground chicken)
2 tablespoons of olive oil
2 cans of crushed tomatoes (I use no-salt organic tomatoes)
3 carrots peeled and processed
1 tbsp sugar
1 can tomato paste
3 medium onions, chopped
1.5 tbsp Italian seasoning
1 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
3 bay leaves
1 package of sliced mushrooms
1/2 c. wine (I like an oakey Chardonnay)
3 cloves garlic, crushed
3 stalks of celery, chopped finely

1. Gather your ingredients. Chop all of your vegetables first!

2. Add your veggies to a cast iron pan (more iron absorption),  saute garlic, onion, and celery until translucent.  Set aside.

3. Brown the meat and drain excess fat.

4. Combine veggies (add carrots too!) and meat,  add seasoning. Cook on medium-low to soften carrots.

5. In a large saucepot, add tomatoes, tomato paste, sugar, wine, parsley, mushrooms, and bay leaves. Simmer for on low for one hour.

6. Cook pasta al dente according to package instructions. (I whole wheat spaghettini). Enjoy with a glass of wine and a fresh salad.  Serves 8 (or two hungry runners with lots of leftovers!)

Thanks for reading!

Cucumber,Tomato, and Chickpea Couscous Salad

I have never been much of a fan of the grain couscous but when noticed I had three boxes of couscous in my pantry I decided it was time to use some of it up.  It seems that everytime I go to prepare a dish that calls for couscous,  I end up substituting quinoa instead because I find quinoa much tastier.  This time however,  I was going to use the couscous, in fact this dish has renewed my interest in couscous.

After flipping through several cooking magazines, blogs, and cookbooks,  I was actually inspired by the recipe on the side of the couscous box. It looked really simple to prepare, full of fresh antioxidant-rich ingredients,  so I decided to make a variation of it.

Cucumber,Tomato, and Chickpea Couscous Salad
1 c. cooked couscous
1 c. tomatoes diced (I used about 3 hot house tomatoes)
1 English cucumber, peeled and diced
1 c. green onions (I used a small bunch)
1 c. parsley
1 c. cooked garbanzo beans
1/4 tsp. ground pepper
1/4 c. extra virgin olive oil (recipe called for 1/2 c.)
1/2 c. lemon juice (recipe called for 3/4 c.)
3 garlic gloves, crushed
1 tsp. dry mint (I omitted this - I didn't have any)
1 tsp salt (I used sea salt)

1. Gather all of your ingredients for the recipe.  

2. Prepare couscous according to package instructions. It is similar to preparing white rice. Fluff it up with a fork.  I used white because I wanted to use it up, but you could also use whole wheat to add more fiber.

3. Chop all of your veggies.

4. Measure out your olive oil, I recommend a higher quality olive oil to enhance the flavour of the dish.  Next squeeze your lemons. I think I used two whole lemons to make 1/2 c.  I *love* my lemon juicer I got at Target, best seven dollars I ever spent!

5. Add crushed garlic, mint, salt and pepper to taste,  wisk the ingredients. 

6.  Combine couscous with chopped vegetables,  slowly add marinade and mix well.  Serve cold.  I recommend refridgerating this dish overnight,  it really lets the flavours marinade.


This was a delicious light flavourful dish that I will definately make again.  It was perfect for a filling light lunch,  packed with vitamins and protein, perfect for boosting your immune system in the dead of winter!

Thanks for reading!