Low Carb Spaghetti Bolognese
One of my favourite one-pot meals is spaghetti bolognese. I love it because it’s nourishing and comforting, easy to prepare and budget friendly.Iit keeps for a a few days in the fridge or freezes well into portions if you’re a little time poor. This recipe is also in my 80/20 book. My secret to the perfect bolognese starts with choosing lovely ingredients. My meat comes from grass fed beef because I love the greater depth of flavour it gives to the overall dish, plus it has a better nutritional profile compared to grain fed varieties and you notice the difference when you eat it. If I’m going vego – then I use finely chopped tempeh or brown lentils and porcini mushroom for added depth and flavour. My base mirepoix (soffritto) or aromatics include a simple mix of onion, carrot and celery that are sautéed lightly – you can also add other vegetables and aromatics such as mushroom , thyme, parsley or a hint of smoked paprika or nutmeg. I add my beef and cook it through the vegetables over a medium heat until browned. A generous splash (1 cup) of full-bodied red wine is added for extra depth and pureed tomato is added along with generous spoonfuls of tomato paste. The important thing to do is to slowly cook your spaghetti bolognese over a slow heat for 1 hour or until the flavours have married perfectly in the pot.
I make zucchini noodles when making bolognese and substitute that for traditional pasta. You can also use other vegetables such as carrot, leek, pumpkin or a combination of all of them. The best way to cook them is to briefly sauté in a pan over medium heat with 1 tablespoon pesto and a generous handful of baby spinach. Finish off your bolognese with freshly chopped parsley and a generous grating of Grana Padaano or Parmigiano-Reggiano.
What’s great about it:
Research shows that grass-fed beef on a gram by gram fat basis, has a more desirable SFA (saturated fatty acid) lipid profile when compared to grain-fed beef. Grass-fed beef is also higher in precursors for Vitamin A and E and antioxidants such as GT (glutathione) as compared to grain-fed contemporaries. Zucchini makes the most perfect and healthy low carb pasta and what I love about this vegetable is that it takes about one minute to cook and will take on the flavour of any aromatics you add to the pan. A spoonful of parsley and basil pesto teamed up with a generous amount of baby spinach provides the body with anti-inflammatory nutrients to nourish the immune system.
2 onions, chopped
2 carrots, grated or finely diced
2 sticks celery, finely diced
1 red apple, grated
500 g lean grass fed beef mince
1 cup (250 ml /8 1/2 fl oz) water or red wine
2kg chopped diced roma tomatoes or passata
2 generous tablespoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
pinch ground cinnamon
sea salt and pepper to taste
300 g (10 1/2 oz) baby spinach leaves
1.2 kg zucchini
Pesto (see method)
Sauté’ the onion, carrot and celery and apple in a little olive oil over medium heat until softened.
Add the beef and cook for 5 – 10 minutes until browned.
Stir through the tomato paste and red wine or water and cook for about 3 minutes.
Add chopped tomato, cinnamon and paprika.
Cover the pot and cook over a low heat for 1 hour until the sauce is thick and rich
Season to taste and set the pot aside until ready to serve.
To make the zucchini noodles – Run the zucchini along a mandolin to form nice long spaghetti strips.
Toss zucchini in a pan over a medium heat for 1 – 2 minutes with a little pesto and spinach. For each serve allow 200 g zucchini and 50 g spinach.
Divide zucchini spaghetti onto serving dishes and top with bolognese sauce, chopped parsley and grated Parmigiano-Reggiano.
Serve immediately and enjoy.
Nutrition per serve
Protein: 27 g
Total Fat: 14.2 g
Saturated: 3.9 g
Carbs: 10.4 g
Sodium: 147 mg
Fibre: 7.8 g
For vegetarian options substitute your beef with the following:
Assorted mushroom including porcini for extra flavour and depth.
chopped or grated tempeh or lentils.
Extra veggies such as shredded kale are lovely in the sauce.
Pinch of nutmeg
Gremolita (chopped parsley + lemon zest + garlic )
Thyme, parsley, basil