A family favourite in kitchens all over the world, the mighty spaghetti bolognese (or 'spag bol') has made its way into the pasta hall of fame, celebrated for its rich, meaty sauce slurped with spaghetti strands tangled around forks. It's typically served over pasta, namely spaghetti, tagliatelle or pappardelle, however the opportunities with bolognese are plentiful: use it as a base for pies, pasta bakes, lasagne and moussaka.


Bolognese has lots of versions and there is no definitive recipe, however it's generally accepted by historians that the original ragù sauce dates from the late 18th century, in the Italian city of Imola, west of Bologna. Fast forward to today, and a quintessential spag bol will feature a combination of beef mince, veg, herbs and spices, with spaghetti stirred into the bolognese sauce and served under a blanket of parmesan, with optional crusty bread for mopping up the sauce.

Make our highly-rated best spaghetti bolognese for a taste of our favourite version, then check out our twists on the classic below. You can also check out more comforting bolognese recipes.

1. Slow cooker bolognese

Spaghetti Bolognese heaped in a bowl

Batch cook spaghetti bolognese in your slow cooker and you'll be gifted with gorgeously rich ragù with a real depth of flavour. It's simple to make: fry your bacon and mince then add to the slow cooker, along with the veg, herbs, wine (if using), vinegar, sugar and seasoning. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours, then uncover, turn to high and cook for another hour until thick and saucy. Serve with cooked spaghetti and grated parmesan and you're good to go.

This recipe serves up to 12, so it's great for freezing for future dinners when you're more pushed for time. To cook this entire recipe on the hob, see our big-batch bolognese recipe.

2. Vegetarian bolognese

Vegetarian bolognese served on a plate

Put vegetarian mince to good use in this simple bolognese. It's low in fat and calories, making it a healthy choice for meat-free Mondays with the family. You can cook a large batch ahead and freeze, too.

Looking for more vegetarian recipes? Take a look out our collections of easy vegetarian recipes and healthy vegetarian ideas.

3. Vegan bolognese

Vegan bolognese on a plate

This vegan twist on a classic makes for a healthy, speedy and satisfying supper. Featuring three types of mushrooms, a can of green lentils and a surprising appearance from yeast extract, it's a colourful dish to make while packing in four of your five-a-day.

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See more creative vegan meals with our vegan recipe ideas.

4. Healthy bolognese

Bowl of healthy spaghetti bolognese with pork mince and vegetables

Spaghetti bolognese gets a healthy makeover, swapping beef for lean pork mince. We've also added fennel and cherry tomatoes for a burst of fresh flavour. It counts as two of your five-a-day, as well as being low-fat and low-calorie.

Dive into more healthy dinners with our healthy dinner recipes.

5. Lentil bolognese

Two bowls of spaghetti with lentil bolognese topped with parmesan, next to parmesan and a grater

Get four steps closer to hitting your five-a-day with this super-healthy veggie ragù. It's a smart way to use up storecupboard ingredients, using a bag of red lentils, chopped tomatoes and tomato purée. It serves up to six, so feel free to freeze for up to three months. Simply defrost portions overnight at room temperature, then reheat gently to serve.

Find more ways with lentils in our lentil recipe collection.

6. Speedy pasta bolognese


Dinner can be ready in just 25 minutes with this simple version of a classic, swapping spaghetti for penne. Its simplified ingredient list means it's great for getting the kids involved, plus the sauce can be frozen for extra convenience.

Check out more speedy meals with our quick dinner recipes and under 20-minute recipes.

7. Low-fat turkey bolognese

Two bowls of turkey bolognese, topped with basil

Looking for a healthier alternative to your go-to spag bol? We've reduced the fat content by swapping beef mince for turkey, as well as substituting regular pasta for wholemeal, making a hearty, healthier offering.

See more healthy turkey recipes for midweek dinner inspiration.

8. Bolognese bake

Bolognese bake with penne and creme fraiche served in a roasting tin

Discover new ways to enjoy bolognese with this bubbling pasta bake starring penne pasta and crème fraîche. Serving up to six and ready in just 25 minutes, it's perfect for feeding a crowd when you're pushed for time.

Find more pasta bake ideas with our freezable pasta bakes and vegetarian pasta bakes.

9. Turkey bolognese pasta bake

Turkey bolognese pasta bake

Give your bolognese a new lease of life with this turkey pasta bake, combining the best of tangy tomato with creamy cheese flavours.

Check out more of our favourite pasta bakes for dinner planning.

10. Courgetti bolognese

Courgetti bolognese on a plate, topped with parmesan

This healthier twist substitutes spaghetti for spiralized courgettes made using a spiralizer. The texture of courgette makes a great alternative to spaghetti and, who knows, you may deem yourself a courgetti convert after you've tried it.

We've also swapped beef for turkey mince to make a low-calorie sauce. Find more healthy meals with our quick and healthy recipe collection.


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