Enjoy this light and easy zucchini pasta with bolognese sauce for a quick side, lunch, or dinner. Naturally healthy, low in carbs, plant-based, and super easy and quick to prepare in a pinch. This is a fabulous recipe that is easy to adjust to your preferences.
**Directions to add protein included**
My cooking if often governed by my mood and what I have available at any given moment. In this case, I happened to have extra Zucchini that I wanted to turn into something fresh and light. Thankfully, if you do not have zucchini, it is readily available year-round, inexpensive ($1.48/lb or $3.26/k), and very healthy (nutrient-rich and high in antioxidants).
I'd recommend approximately 1 medium zucchini per person for a main dish and only half of the zucchini for a side-dish. And if you have extra zucchini spirals, you can easily store them and use them throughout the week.
Easy Zucchini Pasta with Bolognese Sauce
You can also make my Easy Lasagna made with zucchini, which is one of my favorites and only takes 40 minutes. This lasagna recipe is so popular I typically make two and freeze one in an aluminum foil pan for a lazy day.
Easy Zucchini Pasta with Bolognese Sauce
- 2 medium zucchini
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil - cold pressed or cold extracted
- ½ medium onion - peeled and cut into 1 inch pieces
- 4 cloves garlic - peeled
- 1 cup red wine - budget wine
- 1 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes
- 1 tbsp dried parsley - fresh optional, double
- `1 tbsp dried oregano - fresh optional, double
- 1 tbsp dried basil - fresh optional, double
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp black pepper
- ¼ cup heavy cream
- ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- Place onion and garlic into your food processor. Pulse until evenly chopped or use "chop" button if available.
- Cut ends off zucchini, and cut into pieces no taller that the feed chute of the spiralizer. Place zucchini into the feed chute and spiralize all of the pieces. Set aside.
- Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat, and add onion and garlic mixture and saute until soft, about 2-3 minutes.
- Pour wine into skillet and stir until combined.
- Add crushed tomatoes, oregano, salt, pepper and parsley and simmer for 15 minutes. Feel free to use fresh herbs but please double the amount.
- Add heavy cream, basil and Parmesan cheese to the sauce and continue to simmer for 5 minutes stirring frequently.
- While the sauce is simmering, saute the zucchini noodle in a skillet with 1 tbsp olive oil over medium heat for 2-4 minutes. This depends on the thickness of your zucchini spirals so I recommend tasting them at the halfway mark. You might want to do this in batches.
- Serve sauce over zucchini noodles and top with extra grated Parmesan.
- The alternative to using a food processor is to finely chop your ingredients. If you go the manual route, I advise adding an extra 5 minutes when you saute. This will help reduce the onion and garlic into a more consistent sauce.
- Again, this is possible without a food processor. Peel and slice the zucchini from end to end into pasta sized noodles.
- Cooking the onions makes them sweet and caramelized. You can't achieve the same result by sautéing them over high heat for a few minutes. But if you are in a rush, turn up the heat and cook the onions faster.
- Red wine (Cabernet Sauvignon or Chianti) gives the sauce added richness and robustness, which adds depth. Adding the wine early then let the wine cook down and reduce almost all the way. The alcohol will cook off, leaving behind wonderful aromatics and flavors.
- Whenever possible, use fresh herbs like oregano and basil! Just double the required amount as fresh herbs are not a strong as dried herbs. It is also rather easy to grow essential herbs like oregano and basil at home.
- If you are out of heavy cream, sour cream makes a great substitute. Otherwise, see my notes below on Milk + Butter (1) or Soy Milk + Olive Oil (2).
- When sautéing, your zucchini spirals or noodles aim for pasta like tenderness. Depending on the thickness, I recommend tasting them midway through.
- Milk + Butter - Combine ¾ cup (178 ml) of milk and ¼ cup (57 grams) of melted butter with mix thoroughly to make 1 cup (237 ml) of heavy cream.
- Soy Milk + Olive Oil - combine ⅔ cup (159 ml) of soy milk with ⅓ cup (79 ml) of olive oil.
If you'd prefer an easy homemade tomato sauce, I have a basic recipe that works great every time. Again, feel free to tweak it by adjusting the herbs or even using fresh herbs.