Zucchini Noodle Spaghetti Bolognese
This zucchini noodle spaghetti bolognese is reminiscent of a good Italian beef ragu, but it’s gluten-free and grain-free thanks to zucchini noodles.
We’re now one week into fall, yet the weather hasn’t changed one bit in California. Well, at least in Southern California. We’ve clearly missed the seasonal change memo and that’s quite alright by me! I’ll stay happily in my endless summer bubble…for just a wee bit longer.
That means I’m not quite ready to post hearty soups and cold weather fare just yet. So this dinner is the perfect not-yet-done-with-summer and not-quite-into-fall meal.
With all the zucchini recipes on this website it’s quite obvious that I heart zucchini. But I never know how I should refer to these recipes – zucchini noodles, zucchini pasta or zoodles? Such dilemmas. So I’d love to hear what you think. What do you call your zucchini thingamabobers?
Making zucchini noodles is unbelievably easy if you haven’t done it before, make sure to check out my post on how to make and cook zucchini noodles. I can spiralize a zucchini in about 15 seconds flat with my favorite spiralizer.
In previous recipes I’ve cooked the zucchini, but in this recipe I’ve kept the zucchini raw for a little more crunch. My zucchini was at room temperature and the heat of the bolognese sauce warms it perfectly. But if your zucchini is refrigerated or you prefer cooked, there’s a few things you can do after spiralizing. Either sauté it with a little bit of olive oil for one minute, blanch in a pot of boiling water for one minute or even microwave it for one minute. Super easy.
The bolognese sauce for this zucchini noodle spaghetti is homemade, so it does take a bit longer, but it’s well worth the effort for fresh, herby goodness. I used the gorgeous, organic beefstake tomatoes you see pictured, but if you’d like to speed up the sauce cooking time you can use plum or roma tomatoes, which have less liquid. But really, any fresh tomatoes can be used and a food processor makes dicing them a breeze. No need to peel the tomatoes with this recipe.
From there, you add some diced onion, garlic, a little oregano and boil. Your sauce will thicken in about 30 minutes after much of the water has evaporated. Then, just add some tomato paste (which helps to thicken a bit more) and finish it off with salt, pepper and fresh basil. Oh, how I love fresh basil! It’s seriously my favorite herb. Add the sauce to your cooked ground beef and voila, homemade bolognese. Or as they call it in Italy, ragu. Or ragu bolognese.
- 1 lb ground beef
- 4-5 large zucchini
- 10 beefstake tomatoes (or 12-13 roma tomatoes)
- ½ onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- ½ tbsp dried oregano
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 1½ tbsp fresh basil, finely chopped
- ¼ tsp sea salt
- pepper, to taste
- parmigiano reggiano, grated for topping (optional)
- basil leaves, for garnish
- Slice the tomatoes in half, remove the core and quarter. Place in a food processor and pulse a few times, until finely diced and almost pureed.
- Heat the olive oil in a pot on medium heat and cook the onions for 2-3 minutes or until slightly translucent. Add the garlic and cook an additional minute. Add the tomatoes and oregano, stir and simmer uncovered for 20-30 minutes or until the sauce has thickened and much of the liquid has evaporated.
- While the sauce is cooking, spiralize the zucchini with either a spiralizer or julienne peeler and set aside.
- Add the ground beef to a saute pan and cook on medium-high heat. Use a wooden spoon or spatula to break the ground beef up into small pieces as it cooks. The beef is done when it's browned and cooked through.
- After the sauce has reduced, stir in the tomato paste, fresh basil and salt and pepper. Cook for another 2-3 minutes, then add to the cooked ground beef and stir to combine.
- Add a serving of zucchini noodles to a plate and top with bolognese sauce and grated parmigiano reggiano. Garnish with additional basil.
Other zucchini noodle recipes you might like: