Loaded Bolognese with Cabbage Noodles

To be honest I’m not much of a ‘pasta person’ but lately I’ve been craving a big bowl of warm, saucy, delicious spaghetti. Maybe it’s the cold weather, or my hormones, or the fact that I recently had a slightly disappointing pasta experience at a restaurant. Whatever the reason, it has inspired this dish!

Now I know this isn’t a traditional Bolognese by any means but I like the name so thats what I’m calling it! If you’re offended by that just call this dish a deconstructed cabbage roll like my boyfriend did! Pasta sauce is an excellent place to add in MORE veggies into a dish! You can really choose any vegetable here. Don’t like arugula? Replace it with spinach. Couldn’t find zucchini? Throw in broccoli!

Make this dish vegan by leaving out the meat and adding in beans or crumbled tempeh!

If you’re not into cabbage, don’t get upset. Serve the Bolognese on zucchini ‘nooddles’ or brown rice.


 

Recipe makes 4-6 servings.

 

What you’ll need…

Bolognese:

1/2 medium sized red pepper, diced

1 carrot, diced

1 celery stalk, diced

1 small zucchini, sliced

5 tomatoes, diced

Handful of arugula roughly chopped (approx. 2 cups)

1/2 bunch of fresh parsley, chopped

1/2 onion, diced

3 garlic cloves, chopped

1/4 cup liquid such as red wine or stock

1 tbsp salt free organic tomato paste

1 lb of lean ground beef

1 1/2 tsp sea salt

1 tsp dried basil

1/2 tsp dried oregano

1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper

2 bay leaves

2 tsp organic butter or coconut oil

Cabbage noodles:

1 small green cabbage finely sliced (make sure to remove core from middle)

1/2 tsp good quality olive oil

pinch of sea salt

How to do it…

Bolognese:

  1. Before getting started, get organized! Make sure all of your veggies are washed, cut and ready to throw into the pan. This will ensure cooking time to be quick and efficient. Have your spices measured out and all together in a dish. Take your ground beef out of the fridge a couple of minutes before cooking. Now you’re ready 🙂
  2. Place a large, deep pan over medium heat and throw your onions in. Once you hear the onions start to cook then put your oil or butter in the pan (I learned this from my grandmother, no need to overheat the oil/butter prior to cooking). Cook for 5 minutes.
  3. Next add your carrots and celery and allow to cook for another 3-5 minutes. Make sure to stir so nothing sticks to the pan.
  4. Now add your garlic and let cook for 30 seconds.
  5. Using a wooden spoon, make a space in the middle of the pan by pushing the veggies to the side. Place your tomato paste in that space and allow to cook for about 1 minute.
  6. Tomato time! Throw your tomatoes and spices in and stir all of the pans contents together.
  7. Also at this time add in your cooking liquid and allow to cook for 15 minutes, stirring frequently.
  8. We are almost done, I swear! Add your beef, zucchini and red pepper and cook for 5 minutes.
  9. Add in arugula and cook for 2-3 more.
  10. Just before taking your pan off the heat, throw in parsley and you’re done! I bet your kitchen smells amaaaazing right now!

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Cabbage noodles:

  1. This part is easy! Fill a medium sized pot (leave 1 inch from top) with water and place over high heat.
  2. When water is boiling, place your sliced cabbage in and reduce heat slightly so water doesn’t boil over but maintains a soft boil.
  3. Cook for 8-10 minutes. You’ll know it’s finished by 1. tasting a piece and it’s no longer hard 2. pieces will look more translucent.
  4. Strain and rinse with COLD water for 10 seconds to stop cooking.
  5. Transfer to a bowl, toss with olive oil and salt and thats it!

To serve, grab a big beautiful plate or bowl. Place a small handful of cabbage noodles on the dish and then a big scoop of Bolognese on top. Garnish with hemp hearts, nutritional yeast or chili flakes.

¡Salud!

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Rainy day Cazuela

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Here in Toronto the weather is rainy and chilly…perfect day for a warm bowl of soup. My favourite dish for a day like this comes from Chile and it’s a traditional soup called Cazuela.

Cazuela is a very simple soup, but when made right, is the most comforting thing that can come out of a bowl (or mug, however you’d like to eat it). Most often it contains meat (beef, chicken or seafood) potatoes, squash, corn, and something green such as green beans or spinach. Some like it with rice in it, some do not.

My most successful cazuelas are always made with a delicious, homemade, flavourful stock. You can make this soup without stock and use water instead, but you will get the most flavour by using a stock. Trust me!

I try to roast a whole chicken once a week. It’s easy, cost efficient and provides me with the right amount of bones to make stock! After eating all of the meat from the chicken, toss the bones in a bag and pop them in your freezer until you’re ready to make your stock.

Here is the recipe from my Basic Chicken Stock:

What you’ll need….

Bones of 1 medium chicken

Stalks of one bunch of organic cilantro (you know the ends that you cut off and would normally throw away? Ya those, wash them and save them!)

1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar

1 teaspoon of chilli flakes

1 teaspoon of sea salt

Filtered water-enough to fill up your pot.

How to do it…

Place all ingredients in a large pot and bring to a boil. Once boiling, lower temperature to low and cover with lid. Let simmer for at least 1 hour. The longer you let it cook the more flavour and more beneficial collagen you’ll get from the bones.

Once finished cooking, strain, and save liquid in glass jars.

You can freeze the stock if you know you won’t use right away. Just make sure to leave enough room in the jar for the liquid to expand.

Now that you’ve prepared your stock, you can make the cazuela!

Here is my take on Cazuela de Vacuno

What you’ll need….

2-3 beef shanks

2 large yukon gold potatoes diced into large pieces (leave skin on)

1 small butternut squash peeled and diced into large pieces

2 carrots diced into large pieces

2-3 celery stalks diced into large pieces

2 corn on the cob cut into large disks (if you are using frozen corn, use about 1 cup)

1 big handful of spinach, roughly chopped

1/2 onion, sliced

3 cloves of garlic diced

1 teaspoon of dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

Around 3 litres of stock (or water)

A bit of butter or splash of oil

Fresh cilantro for garnish (optional)

How to do it…..

First season your beef with salt and pepper. Make sure to get both sides.

Place your large pot over medium heat, once heated, place your butter or oil in pan along with your onions and sauté until onions are clear.

Next place your beef in the pot and cook for around 3 minutes on each side. At this time you can throw in your garlic and oregano.

Once your meat is seared, put your stock into the pot and bring to a boil. Once water has come to a boil, place the lid on and lower the temperature to it’s lowest setting and allow to cook for approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes. This time may vary so just keep an eye on the beef. When they start to feel tender (use a fork to test) it’s time for the next step.

Now it’s time to add your potatoes, squash, carrots and celery. Let those cook for around 5-7 minutes.

Next add the corn and cook for another 5 minutes.

Once all of the vegetables are soft enough to pierce with a fork (but not so soft that they are falling apart on their own) turn off heat.

At this point throw in the spinach, the heat of the soup will quickly cook the spinach.

Serve immediately and garnish with fresh cilantro!

¡Salud!