Spaghetti with meat sauce . . . we ate platefuls of this hearty dish growing up! It seemed like a regular mid-day meal in the school cafeteria. Now that we are all grown up and have adopted a low-carb lifestyle the spaghetti noodles must go, but not the delicious comfort food we enjoyed. Zucchini noodles can replace the spaghetti noodles and our low-carb bolognese (meat sauce) will make the dish more tasty than ever! This recipe is simple and Tasty Low Carb!
We love our Paderno Pro Spiralizer. We make everything from delicious vegetable salads to linguine with clam sauce with the zucchini noodles. They have replaced wheat pasta in our recipes and keep us low carb. If you do not own one for your kitchen, it is time! We researched many different models, read countless reviews, and even prepared a pro v. con analysis before deciding on the Paderno. It is the best we have found and even folds up for easy and safe storage. You can purchase it here!
Bolognese (Meat Sauce)
Bolognese means “meat sauce” in Italian. It denotes a sauce with ground beef, tomato sauce, onion, and herbs and it is typically served with pasta. Natives of Bologna actually invented tagliatelle, tortellini, and even lasagna. They know what they are doing with pasta and sauces!
We like bolognese with zucchini noodles since it is a thicker heartier sauce than a classic marinara. It pairs well with the zucchini noodles since they do retain water and your recipe will be less likely to be thin if you use a thicker bolognese. We have used our Tomato Bail Marinara Sauce for this recipe and it is also delicious. Marinara is an alternative if you choose to use meatballs rather than meat sauce.
The preparation of a bolognese sauce is simple and you have likely made meat sauce before. We do offer a few twists that we feel add to the taste and make this simple recipe a truly “go-to” for your low-carb lifestyle. The basic ingredients are included: ground beef, onion, garlic, tomatoes, and spices. But, we add ground sausage to our mix with and red pepper flakes for heat. We also use tomato paste to produce a richer thicker sauce and parmesan to complete the recipe.
Classic bolognese sauces often include chopped celery or carrots and some even use chopped green bell pepper. All are sautéed. Instead of ground beef, many recipes call for shredded beef and their sauce is cooked for a very long time. It is sometimes called a “ragu.” Feel free to use ingredients of your choice, but keep in mind that carrots and peppers do add to the carbs. We like to keep our sauce simple, low carb, and tasty.
We do add red wine to our sauce. It really does add to the flavor and is worth the minimal amount of carbs. If your sauce seems too acidic you can also add some heavy cream while it is simmering.
Like most bolognese recipes, we do like the our sauce to thicken and meld so our cooking time on low heat is 35 minutes. You can reduce this to make a quicker meal, but thickening and flavor blending does require time. Actually, the longer this sauce cooks the better it will taste. You actually want a nice thick meaty sauce.
Finishing The Zucchini Noodles with Bolognese
Our spiralizer does all of the work in preparing our zucchini noodles or “zoodles,” if you prefer. The model we noted has four different blades so you can choose the size of your zoodles. Some recipes call for salting the zucchini noodles to gradually remove the natural moisture and either allowing them to rest on paper towels for 20 minutes or actually squeezing them in cheese cloth to remove the excess water.
We do let our zucchini noddles rest on paper towels while we prepare our sauce, but we then cook the noodles for 3 to 5 minutes in a sauté pan with a little olive oil before combining them with the sauce for our finished plate. The cook time will vary depending on whether you prefer your zoodles “al dente” or cooked thoroughly. Do not cook the zoodles too long or they will become mushy. Some recipes that call for boiling the raw zucchini noodles. We never do this as it will simply add more water and eventually dilute your sauce.
We also like to toss the cooked zoodles with a little Parmigiano Reggiano and butter before plating and topping with our bolognese. After plating we use basil leaves and more Parmigiano Reggiano. This will add much to the flavor and are the perfect garnish.
A small glass of wine would go well with this Italian classic. You can afford this luxury if you have had a great low-carb day. Plus our Zucchini Noodles with Bolognese are also low in carbs. Make a large pot for your family and enjoy a true classic pasta-like meal tonight. It is hearty and delicious!
Zucchini Noodles with Bolognese (Meat Sauce)
- 3/4 pound Ground beef (use lean)
- 1/4 pound Sausage (without casing)
- 2 tablespoons Olive Oil (extra virgin)
- 1 small Onion (diced)
- 3 cloves Garlic (chopped)
- 1/2 teaspoon Red pepper flakes
- 1/2 cup Red wine (dry)
- 32 ounces Tomato puree (Cento)
- 3 ounces Tomato paste (Cento)
- 1 cup Water
- 2 teaspoons Basil (dried)
- 1/2 teaspoon Sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon Pepper
- 3 large Zucchini (spiralized)
- 2 tablespoon Olive Oil (extra virgin)
- 3 tablespoons Butter
- 4 cloves Garlic (minced)
- 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese (grated)
- Use a large saucepan and sauté the onion in olive oil over medium-high heat until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the red pepper flakes and the chopped garlic and cook for an additional 2 minutes.
- Add the ground beef and sausage to the pan and cook until crumbled and browned (about 10 minutes) - drain off excess fat.
- Incorporate the tomatoes, tomato paste, water and red wine next and stir until throughly mixed. Add the spices last and once you begin to see a simmer turn the heat and simmer and cover for 20 minutes.
- Taste your sauce after about 10 minutes, and add salt and pepper to taste. The sauce should be thick. If the sauce is too thick it can be thinned with more water.
- Cut the top and bottom off each zucchini and spiralize. Set aside on paper towels while you finish the rest of the recipe so they have less moisture.
- In a large sauté pan melt butter with your olive oil and cook 4 cloves of minced garlic for 2 minutes.
- Add the zucchini noodles and cook for 3-5 minutes, sprinkle with the parmesan cheese and toss to coat. This step should be completed right before plating.
- Top the zucchini noodles with bolognese sauce. Then garnish with chopped basil and more parmesan. Serve hot.