If you’re craving pasta, but trying to eat more nutritious options, this vegetable bolognese zucchini noodle dish is the answer! The sauce is hearty and rich, made using veggies and walnuts, topped over a bed of spiralized zucchini noodles, also known as zoodles! Perfect balance.
Are zucchini noodles healthy?
Yes, absolutely. Zucchini is a great way to get your pasta craving under wraps in a nutritious, and delicious way. I find myself often subbing spiralized zucchini or sweet potato noodles for wheat pasta.
Vegetable noodle substitutes are low in calories and carbs when compared to wheat noodles. They’re an easy and delicious choice for weight loss or management. Plus they’re completely wholesome and offer a ton of nutrients when compared to wheat pasta.
Additionally, veggie noodles are naturally gluten free, making them perfectly suitable for people with a gluten intolerance.
How to prepare zucchini noodles
You’ll need a spiralizer. I use a Veggie Bullet, but any spiralizer will do!
Once you’ve spiralized your zucchini noodles, you want to drain as much water as possible to prevent soggy noodles later.
Place the zoodles in a colander inside a large bowl OR in your kitchen sink so that water isn’t dripping all over your counters.
Generously sprinkle the noodles with salt. This will get the water to drain from your noodles and leave you with perfectly textured zucchini noodles once cooked. I
typically do this in the morning and let them sit and drain most of the day. But, if you’re not working ahead, let them sit at least 30 minutes to get most of the water drained.
How to make vegan Bolognese sauce
There are many variations of vegan bolognese, some use tofu, some use soy grounds or other meat substitutes.
For my bolognese sauce, I’m using simple ingredients that you’ll might already have in your kitchen, whether you’re vegan or not.
- Walnuts for crunch and lovely texture. If you’re allergic to nuts, feel free to sub for pumpkin seeds instead.
- Sundried tomato. If you’re avoiding oil, I’ve often found these in vacuum sealed bags without oil, as opposed to the kind in jars.
- Onion, I like yellow onion for this one, but whatever you have on hand will work.
- Pepper, I like red or orange, but again, any bell pepper will work, or you may even use your favourite hot pepper if you want to add some heat.
- Cauliflower for bulk in a low calorie and low carb option.
- Mushrooms for “meaty” flavour and texture.
Work in batches, depending on the size of your food processor. Start by pulsing your nuts and sun dried tomatoes and transfer to a large, deep skillet. Then, process all the vegetables and add them to your pot or pan. Do NOT over process the veggies. You don’t want them pureed, but instead, you want a chunky, hearty delicious sauce.
Give everything a stir and cook the veggies on your stove top until softened and then add in your homemade tomato sauce, or store bought and let it simmer so flavours blend nicely.
You will be left with a very thick, rich and hearty sauce to top your noodles.
Then, warm your zucchini noodles (or zoodles) in a large skillet. You just want to heat them through, but do not over cook them.
Transfer your noodles to bowls. Try not to let them sit too long in the hot skillet to prevent them from getting soggy.
Ladle a generous amount of sauce over top each bowl and serve with hot peppers, fresh basil or vegan parmesan cheese if desired.
And just dig in! This dish will really satisfy! It was a big hit with my family, and picky eater approved.
More spiralizer recipes
- Sweet Potato Noodles w/ Vegan Alfredo Sauce [GF+Oil Free]
- Pesto Zucchini Noodles (Zoodles)
- Coconut Peanut Veggie Noodles [V+GF+Oil Free]
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- 8 medium zucchini
- 1 cup walnuts or pumpkin seeds
- 8 sun dried tomatoes
- 1 yellow onion peeled & quartered
- 1 red or orange pepper quartered
- 1 small cauliflower broken into florets
- 6 cremini mushrooms
- 4 cups homemade tomato sauce or store bought
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp oregano
- 1/4 tsp basil
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- Spiralize your zucchini using your Veggie Bullet or spiralizer of choice. Place them in a colander in a large bowl and generously sprinkle the zucchini with salt. Toss them with your hands and set aside. If working ahead, you may do this step several hours prior to cooking. The longer they sit, the more water will drain. If you're not working ahead, let them sit in the salt for at least 30 minutes.
- Add the walnuts and the sun dried tomatoes to your food processor and pulse until a crumbly texture is achieved. Do not over process. Transfer to your sauce pot or deep skillet.
- Working in small batches, add the remaining vegetables (onion, pepper, cauliflower, mushrooms) to your food processor and pulse until chopped, but not pureed. Transfer to the same pot as the walnut mixture and add all the seasoning.
- Sauté over medium/high heat for 5-7 minutes until softened and reduced. Then pour in the tomato sauce and let simmer for 10-15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a large skillet, add your zucchini noodles and sauté for approx. 2 minutes until softened. (Do NOT overcook, just warm them up.)
- Serve each bowl of zucchini noodles with a generous scoop of sauce over top. Garnish with fresh basil, chili flakes or vegan parmesan cheese if desired.