Hearty, rich and incredibly delicious veggie Bolognese sauce topped over a bed of spiralized vegan zucchini noodles for the ultimate, guilt-free comfort dish! When that pasta craving hits, but you’re watching your calorie intake, make this your go-to meal.
This recipe was originally published in November 2018. It has been updated for content and photos.
I’m a huge fan of using veggies as a pasta replacement. It’s a great way to satisfy that carb craving, without over indulging.
Why you’ll love this dish
- Low in calories, especially when compared to wheat pasta, this zucchini pasta wins, every time.
- Cooks up in no time! In fact, you barely cook these zucchini noodles at all. Just warm them up and they’re ready to eat.
- Zucchini noodles are naturally gluten free, making them suitable for anyone with a gluten allergy.
- Utterly and completely delicious!! Seriously, you have to try this combo.
How to make it
(This is a summary with step by step photos, full recipe measurements and instructions are in the recipe card below.)
Gather your ingredients and start by preparing your zucchini pasta.
How to prepare your zoodles
You’ll need a spiralizer. I use a Veggie Bullet, but any spiralizer will do!
Spiralize your zucchini and then place them in a colander with a bowl underneath. Then sprinkle generously with salt and set aside for 30 minutes or longer. (photos 1-3)
NOTE: Do not skip this step. The salt will help excess moisture to escape the zucchini, preventing soggy noodles later.
How to make your Bolognese sauce
While you wait for your noodles, begin preparing your sauce.
Start by adding the walnuts and sun dried tomatoes to your food processor and then pulse until crumbly, without over processing. You want a chunky texture, not a puree. (photos 4-5)
Transfer the mixture to a deep skillet and set aside. (photo 6)
Now process the cauliflower and mushrooms, working in small batches to prevent over processing. Again, you want a chunky texture, so just pulse until chopped. (photos 7-10)
NOTE: As you process, if you have a couple of stubborn large pieces, just remove them and add to the next batch, rather than continuing to process, or you may end up with mush.
Transfer each processed batch to the same pan with the walnuts and sun dried tomatoes. Then add the seasoning. (photo 11)
Mix well and sauté until softened and reduced, approx. 5-7 minutes. (photo 12)
Then add your tomato sauce, mix well and simmer for 10-12 minutes. (photos 13-14)
Cooking your zoodles
Transfer your zucchini noodles to a clean, dry, dish towel and press out any excess liquid that was released while sitting in the colander. Then transfer to a large pan. (photos 15-16)
You really don’t want to “cook” your zucchini noodles, but instead, warm them up lightly, so that they’re not cold. Overcooked zucchini will get very mushy, so be mindful of that. Gently heat them on stove top for about 1-2 minutes. Then remove the pan from the heat. (photo 17)
Serve your vegan zucchini noodles with a generous amount of bolognese sauce on top. Then garnish with hot peppers, fresh basil or vegan parmesan cheese if desired.
Do not overcook them! In fact, just gently heat them up, for 1-2 minutes and then serve immediately.
For those of you on an oil free diet, look for sun dried tomatoes in vacuum sealed bags, without oil, as opposed to the kind in jars.
Yes! Simply swap the walnuts for raw pumpkin seeds (pepitas) instead.
You may decrease the amount of walnuts, or sub them for pumpkin seeds, or a mix of both.
Store your zoodles separate from the sauce, in sealed containers in your fridge for up to 3 days. Keep them separate to prevent the noodles from getting too soft.
- Make sure not to over process your veggies for the Bolognese sauce. This sauce tastes best when chunky and hearty.
- Do NOT overcook your zucchini noodles. They taste best with a little bite to them, and not when too soft.
- Transfer your zoodles to bowls immediately after warming them. Don’t let them sit too long in the hot pan, or they may get soggy.
More healthy comfort dishes
- Healthy Broccoli Potato Soup
- Lasagna Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms
- Easy Mushroom Zucchini Pasta
- Vegan Enchilada Casserole
- Cauliflower Buffalo Wings
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- 6 medium zucchini
- 1 cup walnuts or raw pumpkin seeds
- ½ cup sun dried tomatoes
- 4-5 cups cauliflower florets approx. half a medium cauliflower
- 8 ounces cremini mushrooms approx. 8-10 small mushrooms
- 32 ounces (4 cups) tomato sauce or tomato puree of choice
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon dried basil
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- vegan parmesan cheese
- chili flakes
- fresh basil or parsley
- Spiralize your zucchini using your Veggie Bullet or spiralizer of choice. Place them in a colander inside 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 not working ahead, let them sit in the salt for at least 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, add the walnuts and sun dried tomatoes to your food processor and pulse until a crumbly texture is achieved. Do not over process, you want it chunky. Transfer to a deep skillet.
- Working in small batches, add the cauliflower and mushrooms to your food processor and pulse until chopped, but not pureed. Transfer to the same pan as the walnut mixture and add all the seasoning.
- Mix well and sauté for 5-7 minutes until the veggies are softened and reduced. Then pour in the tomato sauce and simmer for 10-12 minutes.
- Meanwhile, add the zucchini noodles to a pan and sauté for about 1-2 minutes until warm. Do NOT overcook, or they will get soft and mushy, just until warmed up. Serve with the bolognese sauce and enjoy.