Baby’s First Bolognese Sauce


Babies are born with an iron store that lasts for about 6 months, and a baby’s iron requirements are particularly high between the ages of 6 months and 2 years. This is a critical time for the growth of the brain, and a lack of iron can lead to impaired mental and physical development. 1 in 5 babies aged 10 to 12 months is deficient in iron.
When iron stores are low, less of the oxygen carrying pigment haemoglobin is made, and less oxygen gets to the brain, resulting in difficulty concentrating and a shortened attention span. A lack of iron can also make you feel tired.

Baby's First Bolognese Sauce
10 minutes
25 minutes
Best for
3 portions
Suitable for freezing


  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 50g finely chopped onion
  • 20g chopped celery
  • 1 small clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 medium carrot (approx 85g), peeled and grated
  • 100 g lean minced beef
  • 150 ml Passata
  • 100 ml unsalted stock or boiling water
  • ¼ tsp fresh thyme leaves or a pinch of dried thyme
  • a pinch of sugar
  • 3 tbsp Annabel Karmel's Mini Pasta Shells

Conversion chart


  1. Heat the oil in a saucepan and sauté the onion and celery over a low heat for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally until softened.
  2. Add the garlic and cook for one minute. Add the grated carrot and sauté for 4 minutes.
  3. In a separate pan, dry fry the minced beef until browned, stirring occasionally.
  4. Add to the onion and carrot. Pour over the tomato sauce, boiling water or stock and add the thyme and pinch of sugar.
  5. Cover and cook over a low heat for about 12 minutes.
  6. Remove from the pan and pulse for a second or two in a blender to make a smoother texture.
  7. Meanwhile, cook the shell pasta according to the packet instructions.
  8. Drain and mix with the Bolognese sauce.


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  • My daughter is only 8 months old and she absolutely loves this, but instead of using pasta shells I use long spaghetti and and cut them up really small then blend it all together, goes down a treat

    04 Nov 2015

  • I tried this on my fussy 13 month daughter and it was a pleasure feeding her. I put less pasta and she loved it. I am going to make this again.

    21 Jun 2015

  • This is absolutely delicious. But I accidentally gave it one star even though I’d really like to give it six!!!
    My daughter is very picky and she ate everything on her plate. I found it very yummy too.

    06 Feb 2015

  • This is such a fantastic recipe!  Both my kids loved it and I always recommend this to all my mommy friends.

    30 May 2011

  • What is passata? Is it a brand name of tomato puree or something else? I don’t it’s available in my country, so can i substitute it with just tomato puree/paste? thanks

    14 Oct 2010

  • My son absolutely loves this recipe. He’s a very fussy eater but he doesn’t fuss at all when I make this

    29 Sep 2010

  • This is one of my 15mth old daughter’s favourite recipes, and has been since she was old enough to eat it. I sometimes use different vegetables (what ever is in the fridge) - sweet potato, brocolli, zuchinni, sometimes different herbs, but follow the rest of the recipe. It always turns out great!

    06 Feb 2009

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