Spaghetti Bolognese

My name is Catherine Buckley, I have been a Renal Dietitian for over 10 years providing dietary advice to people with all stages of Chronic Kidney Disease.  Spaghetti Bolognese is the first of 4 dishes that I love to eat. I wanted to show that most recipes can be adapted and made renal friendly and healthy, these recipes have been adapted to lower the potassium and salt content.  All the recipes should make 4 portions; you can portion any leftovers out and pop them in your freezer for a quick meal another time.  I hope you enjoy them.

Spaghetti Bolognese

Spaghetti Bolognese

Spaghetti Bolognese

Remember, as this dish is tomato based if you are following a low potassium diet make sure you don’t have any meals containing potatoes or potato products e.g. chips, potato croquettes for the rest of the day. Mushrooms are a high potassium vegetable but the quantity you are using in this recipe is fairly small as the menu serves 4 portions. To lower the potassium content further all the vegetables can be par-boiled before being added to the dish, remember don’t re-use any of the water that you have par-boiled the vegetables in. Pasta is a great low potassium starchy carbohydrate that can be eaten instead of potatoes. Remember to weigh out your portion of pasta to avoid cooking too large a portion.


  • 50g/1¾ oz unsalted butter
  • 70g/2½ oz pancetta
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, finely chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, finely chopped
  • 2 large mushrooms, finely chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 400g/14oz  lean minced beef
  • 200ml/7fl oz whole milk
  • 220ml/7¾fl oz crushed tomatoes or passata
  • 200ml/7fl oz  low salt vegetable or beef stock  (1 stock cube)
  • 100ml/3½ fl oz red wine (this can be left out if you do not want to add this)
  • pinch freshly ground nutmeg
  • spaghetti or tagliatelle, cooked according to packet instructions
  • grated parmesan cheese, to serve


  1. Melt the butter in a heavy-based pan, then stir in the pancetta and let it cook for 4-5 minutes, without colouring much. Add the onion, garlic, carrot, celery, mushrooms and bay leaves, stirring well. Leave to cook for 8-10 minutes over a medium heat, stirring frequently, until the vegetables are tender.
  2. Turn up the heat and tip in the minced beef, breaking it up well with a wooden spoon. Leave to cook without stirring for 3-4 minutes, or until the bottom is browned, then stir again and cook for a further 3-4 minutes, or until golden-brown all over and cooked through.
  3. Pour in the milk a bit at a time, then mix in the tomatoes, red wine, vegetable stock, nutmeg and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper freshly ground black pepper. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to a gentle simmer. Partially cover the pan with a lid and leave to simmer for 1 hour 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. To serve, season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper, then stir in the cooked pasta and pile onto serving plates. Sprinkle over the grated parmesan and serve.



I’m an ADPKD patient who was lucky enough to have a transplant in 2003 after only eleven months of dialysis. I'm the north-west Patient Advocacy & Support Officer for Kidney Care UK and my interests, other than my role within GMKIN, include sport, music and politics. Follow me on Twitter: @finnigr

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