Spaghetti bolognese: learn how to make spag bol from scratch

Whether you're cooking for your family – or your community –this spaghetti bolognese recipe is guaranteed to be a winner

spaghetti bolognese
(Image credit: Getty Images)

We love a spaghetti bolognese, so when we discovered that Jamie Oliver had unearthed some of his school dinner recipes for those batch cooking for their local communities, we were pretty excited. Especially when we learnt that one of the recipes was for spag bol – which might just be the ultimate comfort food. It can easily be made with meat or meat substitutes and veg so perfect for catering for different people.

Whether you're cooking for your local community, or just need fresh inspiration for family dinners, discover the recipe below. Then, head over to our food hub for more recipe ideas and inspiration.

How Jamie Oliver makes spaghetti bolognese

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Jamie Oliver became famous when he took on Britain's (frankly terrible) school dinners and pledged to ensure children were fed healthier, heartier lunches that would sustain them for the rest of the day, ultimately aiding concentration and learning. 

And while there was some controversy at the time (anyone else remember the footage of parents handing their kids burgers through the school fence) it's generally agreed that his action transformed the narrative around healthy eating and encouraged change for the better.


  • An onion
  • Button mushrooms, a couple of handfuls
  • Two cloves of garlic
  • Cheddar cheese
  • Flat leaf parsley
  • Olive oil
  • Minced beef, 500 grams
  • Plain flour
  • Dried herbs
  • Tomato puree
  • A tin of chopped tomatoes
  • Salt and pepper, for seasoning
  • Spaghetti

Use the grid below to ensure you have the correct amount of ingredients if you're cooking for your community.

portion sizes for jamie oliver recipe

(Image credit: Jamie Oliver)


1. Heat a large pan or Bratt pan. Add enough olive oil to coat, then fry the onions and mushrooms for 5 minutes, stirring regularly.

2. Add the minced beef and garlic, breaking up the mince with a wooden spoon or spatula, then cook for another 5 minutes. 

Top tip: if you want to make this dish vegetarian-friendly, simply swap in red lentils rather than opting for mince.

3. Stir in the flour, dried herbs and tomato purée, followed by the tomato base sauce. 

4. Season with sea salt and black pepper and simmer for around 1 hour and 20 minutes.

5. Taste and adjust the seasoning, if needed, also adjusting the consistency by adding a little extra water, if necessary.

6. Cook the spaghetti in plenty of boiling salted water according to the packet instructions, then drain and toss in a little olive oil.

7. Serve the spaghetti Bolognese sprinkled with the grated cheese and chopped parsley. 

Find more comforting recipes

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