Lovely Lemon Ragu

Lovely Lemon Ragu

My boys love a good old bolognese so I’m always thinking of ways to freshen it up so we aren’t getting bored.

This lemony version was a surprise winner. I was totally expecting it to be rejected. But happily the power of spaghetti was enough to overcome any resistance to new things.

I have a slight preference for white meat for this ragu but it’s delicious with beef as well.

It’s an excellent one to have up your sleeve if you need to cater for anyone with nightshade intolerance. And while I’m thinking about it can imagine it would make an amazing lasagna.

Lovely Lemon Ragu

Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 2 hungry people


  • 1 onion
  • 450 g ground minced pork, chicken or turkey
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 3-4 tablespoons whipping cream
  • Parmesan
  • 1 large bag baby spinach


  1. Heat a little oil in a large frying pan or skillet on a medium high heat. Dice onion and cook, stirring until the onion is soft but not super browned.
  2. Add meat and salt and cook for 3-5 minutes, stirring to break up the chunks, until the meat is no longer pink.
  3. Add the lemon juice and cream. Cook for another few minutes for the sauce to reduce a little.
  4. Taste and season with more salt or lemon as needed (trust your judgement)
  5. Serve on a bed of baby spinach with parmesan shaved over.

Recipe Video

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Variations & Substitutions for Lovely Lemon Ragu

plan-B (pantry) – serve with cooked frozen green veggies or spaghetti. Use frozen onion.

slow cooker – cook the onion, salt and meat in the slow cooker until cooked through. Then stir in the lemon and cream and allow to warm before serving.

vegetarian – this combo of lemon and cream and parmesan is amazing with chickpeas, mushrooms, eggplant and/or cooked broccoli.

different protein – any ground (minced) meat will work.

dairy-free – replace the cream with extra virgin olive oil (or coconut cream) and use grated brazil nuts (or my brazil nut parmesan) instead of the parm.

no lemon – replace with canned tomatoes or tomato passata.

more substantial (carb lovers) – hello spaghetti (or any pasta really).

more substantial (low carb) – serve with avocado or some roast almonds.

different vegetables – any cooked green veg is great or salad leaves. I like it with raw kale too. Also must try with these wonderful cabbage wedges.

Waste Avoidance Strategy

onion – will keep in the pantry for months. Best if in a dark corner in a brown paper bag.

ground (minced) pork, chicken or turkey
– freeze it.

salt – keep it in the pantry.

lemon – whole lemon will keep wrapped in a plastic bag in the fridge for months.

cream – unopened cartons will generally keep in the fridge for 1-2 weeks. If you need to store for longer, just pop in the freezer in a sealed container.

parmesan – wrap in baking paper and store in the fridge in a sealed paper bag or airtight container. Will keep for months. Can be frozen if you’re going away.

baby spinach – either freeze or wilt down in a pan with a little oil and then keep in the fridge for weeks.

Problem Solving Guide

bland – more salt and/or lemon!

too lemony – it’s pretty intense. For a milder lemon add more cream or some olive oil to tame the acid.

sticking to the pan – next time make sure your pan is hot before adding the oil and make sure the oil is hot before adding the food. For now remove from the heat and stirring in a splash of water will help it release.

Prepare Ahead

Yes! Just cook as per the recipe but keep the parmesan and greens separately. Leftovers will keep in the fridge for 1-2 weeks or can be frozen.

Lovely Lemon Ragu

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With Love

Jules x

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