Summer Bolognese


During lock-down I have been attempting to lighten up some of our regular family and bariatric recipes to cut down on some the carbs. ‘Some’ of them (especially the simple sugar ones rather than complex ones) have been playing havoc with my regimen and seemingly also sewing up my clothes so that they fit a little too snugly! But I am fighting back and so have introduced more vegetables, fruits and grains, for example, into our family diet so that we can redress this Covid-19-gain. It’s working well so far and I am, like lock-down, in it for the long haul.


Some of these I have been posting on social media (especially on Facebook here and Instagram here) so that you can see some of my own and our family food choices and meal ideas – do join me since I post something most days. But I have also been looking at some of my basic and go-to or default recipes that I turn to time and time again to see how I can adapt them.


One such is my regular Bolognese or Ragu recipe – usually served with pasta (of all types) which is a family favourite and I tend to make in bulk and freeze. I thought it could be lightened up with some spiralised vegetables and also given a lighter and more summery flavour with a few extra additions. 


So I bring you – Summer Bolognese – the usual ragu recipe (see here for the basic one) mixed with courgetti, chopped fresh tomatoes, olives and freshly-picked herbs which is all the better for serving dusted with grated Parmesan cheese, once cooked and taken to the table.  If you have a batch of ready-prepared bolognese or ragu sauce then it can be on the table in about 15 minutes from start to finish so just the thing to cook when you don’t want to labour in the kitchen for long.



Basic Bariatric Ragu (see recipe here)





1 x recipe Basic Bariatric Ragu (see recipe here), freshly made or defrosted if frozen (or see cook’s tip below for a start-from-scratch option)

low-fat cooking spray or mist 

300 g/10 oz courgetti or spiralised courgette/zucchini

250 g/8 oz cherry tomatoes, halved 

50 g/¼ cup mixed olives (I used black/ripe and pimiento-stuffed green)

few sprigs fresh herbs like basil, oregano or parsley, chopped or leaves stripped from stems

salt and freshly ground black pepper

freshly-grated Parmesan to serve



  1.  Prepare the Ragu sauce if necessary. Cook’s Tip: If you don’t wish to make the slow-cooked recipe mentioned above and want a quick method option then brown 500 g/1 lb extra-lean beef mince/ground beef in a non-stick pan over a high heat. Add 2 cloves garlic, a pinch of chilli flakes and 1 tsp dried mixed herbs and cook for 1 minute. Add 2 tbsp tomato paste, 125 ml/½ cup dry white wine or stock and salt and pepper to taste. Cook, stirring occasionally for about 5 minutes or until the liquid is reduced. Use instead of the slow-cooked version.
  2.  Spritz a large non-stick pan with low-fat cooking spray or mist. Add the prepared Ragu, courgetti, cherry tomatoes and olives and then toss well to combine.
  3.  Heat and cook, stirring regularly, until the courgetti is cooked and the tomatoes are a little fallen but still firm, about 5-8 minutes.
  4.  Stir in the herbs and salt and pepper to taste.
  5.  Serve hot sprinkled with grated Parmesan.



V suitable for Vegetarians (if Quorn or Veggie Mince is used instead of beef)


CALORIES PER PORTION (using slow-cooked Ragu): 250

PROTEIN: 27.2 g

CARBOHYDRATE: 15.5 g (12.8 g sugars)

FAT: 7.7 g


Recipe and images © copyright Bariatric Cookery (UK) Ltd


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *