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Zucchini noodles in a white bowl topped with bolognese sauce

Zucchini Noodle Bolognese

  • Author: Jessie
  • Prep Time: 30 mins
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 30 mins
  • Total Time: 2 hours
  • Yield: Serves 4 1x


Easy spiralized Zucchini Noodle recipe with homemade bolognese sauce.



  • 2 large carrots, roughly chopped
  • 2 large celery stalks, roughly chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 small yellow onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 lb. grass-fed ground beef
  • 1/2 cup tomato paste
  • 2 cups hearty red wine (I used a Cabernet Sauvignon)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 cups water
  • 4 large zucchinis
  • 1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese (optional), for garnish


  1. In a food processor, pulse carrots, celery, garlic, and onion together to chop everything into very small, fine pieces – it should look kind of like you’ve grated everything through a very small cheese grater.
  2. In a large, flat-bottomed saucepan or dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium-high heat.
  3. Add your carrot-celery-onion mixture to the pan and sauté – stirring only occasionally – for 10-15 minutes until veggies have softened and started to brown.
  4. Add salt, pepper, and ground beef to pan and break the beef apart with a spoon or spatula. Sauté for another 10 minutes or so, stirring occasionally, until beef is cooked through and lightly browned.
  5. Add tomato paste and stir to combine.
  6. Add 1/2 cup of the red wine to pan to deglaze, and be sure to scrape any brown bits off the bottom of the pan (that’s where all the flavor is!)
  7. Add the remaining red wine and the bay leaves and stir to combine.
  8. Reduce heat to medium and bring mixture to a simmer. Cook until wine has reduced by half, about 15 minutes.
  9. When wine has reduced, add 1 cup of water and stir to combine. Bring the sauce back to a simmer and cook until water has reduced by half, about 20 minutes.
  10. Add the last cup of water to sauce and stir to combine. Bring back to a simmer and reduce the liquid by about 3/4 (you want a relatively low liquid content because zucchini contains so much water). This should take about 25 minutes.
  11. While the sauce reduces for the final time, slice or spiralize your zucchini. I use my mandolin fitted with the smallest slicing blade to get noodle-like slices, but you could also use a spiralizer (<–affiliate link).
  12. Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add the zucchini noodles and a pinch of kosher salt.
  13. Cook for 1-2 minutes until zucchini has just begun to soften, then transfer noodles to a colander and let them drain for a few minutes while you finish the sauce. I find this quick pre-cooking helps release some of the water in the zucchini so they’re less soggy (but still taste al dente!) and don’t release too much water into your bolognese sauce.
  14. When the sauce is ready, remove the bay leaves and discard.
  15. Place drained zucchini into serving dishes and top with bolognese sauce. Top with parmesan cheese and serve immediately.


Not a zucchini noodle fan? Use regular spaghetti!

For a vegetarian option, swap sliced portobello mushrooms for the beef in this recipe.

Zucchini noodles release a lot of water, so make sure you’ve drained them as instructed in the recipe before serving.


  • Calories: 549