Spaghetti Bolognese

Spaghetti Bolognese

Servings: 4 people
Carbohydrate Serves: 2 per person
(1 carbohydrate serve = 15 grams of total carbohydrate)

I’m not a huge mince meat fan but I’ll admit that it’s an easy evening when the spaghetti bolognese is on the make. It’s a tasty one pot wonder and my small son literally sings while he eats it. Variations to this gestational diabetes friendly bolognese entirely depend on what you have in the (bottom of) the fridge. Think grated zucchini or carrot, frozen peas, chili if you like it hot, fennel, celery, left-over herbs etcetera…. (Main carbohydrate containing ingredients listed in bold.)


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large brown onion, chopped finely
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed or finely chopped
  • 700g /  1 ½ pounds lean minced beef
  • 400g / 13 ounces canned crushed tomatoes
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil leaves (dried is also fine)
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano leaves (dried is also fine)
  • 1 tablespoon ground All Spice
  • 4 anchovies (optional)
  • 85g / 3 ounces / ½ cup black olives, sliced (optional)
  • 150g / 5 ounces uncooked spaghetti
  • Grated Parmesan cheese to serve (optional)

Heat oil in a large saucepan over low-medium heat and cook onion and garlic until golden. Add beef, breaking up large chunks with wooden spoon. Stir occasionally until meat is has browned.

Add tomato, tomato paste. Mix well and bring to boil.

Reduce heat, add herbs, spice, anchovies and olives and simmer on low heat for around 30 minutes semi-covered until sauce thickens.

Cook spaghetti in a large saucepan of boiling water until tender. Drain well.

Divide cooked pasta evenly among 4 bowls, top with sauce and a sprinkling of grated cheese.

Variations: Add some chopped capsicum, sliced mushrooms or grated zucchini along with the add herbs.

Serving suggestion: Serve with either a green salad or some steamed/ blanched green vegetables such as zucchini, brocoli, brusels sprouts or green beans.

  • Paul Podgornik says:

    Hi Lisa,
    Seems that 150 gr of spaghetti for 4 persons is a bit mean, specially as you have 700 gr of meat. Should be per person.
    Love Paul

    • Lisa says:

      Hi Paul, thanks for your comment however 150g of uncooked spaghetti is the correct amount. Welcome to the constraints of the gestational diabetes diet :) (which is all about moderate carb intake). However readers who have been advised to eat 3 serves of carbohydrates per meal can slightly increase the carbs as this recipe has a total of 2 serves of carbohydrates per person per serve of spaghetti bolognese. Lisa

  • Jonathan says:

    So I can have carbohydrates elsewhere, I make bolognese and use cauliflower as the ‘bulk’. Just cut it up and mix with the bolognese. Wonderful!!

    Great site.

  • Amanda Zehner says:

    I though tomatoes were a ‘free food’? Why are they listed as a main carb?

    • Lisa - GDRecipes says:

      Hi Amanda. Great question – it seems to be coming up at the moment. Here is a response Natasha (our in kitchen-dietitian) provided to the same question earlier this week. Lisa

      Tinned tomatoes fall into the carb list because in recipe development, to be accurate, it is necessary to count up almost everything as it makes a difference to the overall carb amount. Most items, even ‘free vege’ contain some carb so we have focused on those that have enough to matter. It all depends on context i.e. carbwise if you were eating a carrot stick it probably wouldn’t count but if you had a bowl of carrot soup or a carrot juice it would! Hope this helps, Natasha.

  • Michelle says:

    Hi there,

    If the recipe serves 4 shouldn’t the pasta be 600g in total ( one serve is 150g) ??

    • Lisa says:

      Hey Michelle. Thanks for your comment. See my responses above. Unfortunately pasta is really high in carbohydrates so you have to really watch the quantity. A reader suggested above to bulk up the pasta with cauliflower which is a free food and quite filling. A great idea! Cheers, Lisa.

  • Estee Loga says:

    I served this over mashed potatoes and it was a hit. You get more per serving with potatoes than pasta. Thanks for this website! I’ve got a lot of idea’s on here for tasty meals. Do you have any recipes for GD friendly treats? I’m talking about the sweet stuff! :)

  • Kim Greenia says:

    We served this over spaghetti squash instead of pasta as a way to limit carbs. Not quite the same, but a nice substitute to be able to eat a little more.

  • Lisa says:

    That would be great wouldn’t it! But you need to check the dietary information on the side of the pack to see how many carbohydrates there are per serve. Not sure if you are in Australia but here, the advice is to stick to 2-3 serves of carbs per meal (all inclusive) where 1 serve = 15 grams of carbs. Cheers, Lisa x

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I’m Lisa Taylor, the mum behind GDRecipes. I created this site after having GDM myself & because I love food. I’d like to inspire, motivate & support you to cook & eat well during your pregnancy with GDM & beyond. Come read my story. My kitchen is your kitchen. ... Read more

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