The Best Bolognese with Zucchini Noodles (Zoodles)

  • Posted on: October 23, 2014

zoodles 001I can assure you that my Italian ancestors never ate  bolognese with zucchini noodles – but I think they missed out.  The best thing about pasta is the sauce you put over it, and let me assure you that, with the exception of my mothers sauce, this is the next best thing.

bolognese with zoodles 009

It not always easy to avoid gluten, but some of us do not have a choice.  Whether you have to avoid gluten for medical reasons or you are just trying a more paleo type diet, I encourage you to try this sauce with zucchini noodles, aka zoodles.

To make zucchini noodles, you need a spiralizer.  I have this one  but there are many others on the market, ranging from $20-$50.    I like the spirelli because it’s small and doesn’t take up too much real estate in the kitchen.  I have also made zucchini coins which work nicely too if you don’t have a spiralizer.  Just cut up slices of zucchini and saute them.

One of my favorite meals growing up was burnt spaghetti.  Yes, burnt.  Don’t knock it til you try it!   But don’t try it if you are gluten free.  Except maybe with quinoa noodles.  The story goes that my grandmother was reheating leftover spaghetti bolognese  one night and  got distracted and the pasta got a little burnt.   They ate it anyway and everybody loved the crispy noodles.   Growing up, we would purposefully “burn” the leftover pasta.   Spaghetti was always better the second night, in my opinion.   I tried to recreate this with the zoodles, getting them nice and crispy in the pan.   And since I can’t eat spaghetti anymore, this is a great alternative.

Apple picking in Paonia 2014 blog

zoodles 003My Aunt Nancie gave me with recipe before Eric and I got married.    This recipe is a different kind of bolognese than my mom and grandmother made.   It is thicker, with subtle hints of white wine and nutmeg.

I cooked the zoodles in a cast iron pan on the stove top with a little bit of butter and didn’t fuss with them too much.  Using tongs. I turned them every few minutes and then and let them be for several minutes in order for them to  crispt up.  But be in the general vicinity of the stove- you don’t want them to burn.

bolognese with zoodles 006When I make this  bolognese, I often double (or triple) this recipe and then freeze a couple jars of it.  That makes future dinner preparation easy to whip up!  Just defrost the sauce and reheat in a saucepan on the stove.

bolognese with zoodles 016Pair it with this green salad but since  we are heading into winter and cherries are not in season, use pomegranate seeds instead.


The Best Bolognese with sauteed Zucchini noodles (zoodles)

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Yield: 4-6


    For the Bolognese Sauce
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • ½ onion, diced
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 1 celery rib, chopped
  • 1 lb ground organic grass-fed ground beef
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • ½ cup whole organic milk
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg
  • 2 cups crushed tomatoes.
  • Sea salt and pepper
  • For the Zoodles
  • 4 large or 6 medium Zucchinis’, spiralized
  • 1 tbsp ghee, butter or coconut oil
  • pinch or two of sea salt
  • Add grated parmesan cheese on top of sauce (optional)


-In a deep, heavy pot over medium heat, saute onions with the butter until just translucent. Add celery and carrots and cook for another 2-3 minutes.

-Add ground beef, crumbling in the pot with a fork. Add 1 tsp sea salt, stir and cook until meat has lost its red color. Add wine and turn heat to medium/high and cover pot. Cook until most of wine has evaporated, stirring frequently.

-Add milk and nutmeg, cover pot and cook until its evaporated.

-Add tomatoes and stir, cooking sauce until it bubbles. Turn heat to low and cook for another hour…or eat now if you don’t have time.

Using a paper towel or dish cloth, give the zoodles a little squeeze to get out any extra moisture, In a large pan over medium/high heat melt the ghee or oil and add the zoodles and a pinch of salt. Let them cook for 5-6 minutes before stirring. Using tongs, turn the zoodles. Cook for another 5-10 minutes, letting them get a little crispy, stirring occasionally.

Add Zoodles to a bowl with the bolognese on top.

Leave a reply


%d bloggers like this: