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Paleo 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

Zucchini spaghetti
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.
Serves 6

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
Kilojoules: 1290
Calories: 307

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.

Smoked paprika
Pinch of nutmeg
Gremolita (chopped parsley + lemon zest + garlic )
Thyme, parsley, basil
Porcini mushrooms




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17 Responses to “Paleo Spaghetti Bolognese”
  1. Sonja says:

    Sounds delish, although the last time I attempted to use a mandolin, I got carried away and sliced off the top of my finger! I think I need to find some demo’s on youtube!

    • Lauren says:

      Sonja, I’ve done the same thing using my mandolin! There’s a little device called a Spirooli that is fantastic for making vegetable noodles. They are so easy to use, only cost about $35, and there is no risk of slicing fingers!

  2. Judy says:

    Love your recipes, I recently visited a very holistic health retreat in Queensland and all your recipes meet my love of food, healthy and low carbs. I also love your ‘Pure Native WPI Whey Protein’ others I have tried you can taste the artificial sweetener in them and they are too sweet, yours taste great even if I only add water. Keep these
    great recipes coming. Love them, they make my life easy.

  3. Care needs to be taken when using a mandoline. Better quality versions come with a safe guard. :)

  4. Erin says:


    I’d just like to say that stumbling across your website has been a godsend! My boyfriend normally rolls his eyes when I tell him I’m cooking “clean” recipes for dinner, but he is so excited for many of these recipes. I find your recipes aren’t too expensive for me, a uni student, where often eating clean can clean out the bank! Thanks so so much. I am a vegetarian with a request: any ideas on how I can make a nut roast using clean and healthy ingredients? I love nut roast but often many ingredients, such as stock, are high in sodium etc :)

    Thanks once again x

  5. Sarah says:

    Hi! I’ve just attempted this last night and it taste so good (though i think i went a bit too far with the wine). I am trying to lose weight and me being Vietnamese, is hard to find a low carb and calories diet but this is fantastic!
    Thank you sooo much!

  6. Sarah Clark says:

    Love this recipe, especially all the vegies. I also put a cup of red lentils, gives it a thick creamy texture.

  7. Leanna says:

    What can I substitute the red wine with?

  8. Sonia says:

    Instead of making the zucchini spaghetti, spaghetti squash is a great alternative. They are finally becoming more available in Aussie greengrocers like Harris Farm. So easy to cook and scrape out and looks like spaghetti and tastes a little like al dente, slightly sweet spaghetti.

  9. Adele says:

    This Bolognese is absolutely delicious! And you don’t even miss the pasta with the zucchini.. Fantastic!

  10. Claire says:

    Have you ever tried making pasta using alternative flours (besan, quinoa etc) and did it work??

  11. Amanda says:

    Hi Teresa,
    I love this recipe and have made it many times, but I notice that you’ve made a few changes, namely the inclusion of the apple and increase to the amount of tomatoes. Just wondering if you could please give some info on what prompted the changes? I understand recipes evolve but was particularly curious about the apple!
    Many thanks,

    • Hi Amanda…I’m always tweaking my recipes based on new creations in my kitchen….I wanted a more saucier and richer tomato sauce…I also wanted to balance the tomato acidity by adding the apple – it’s delicious ! T:) x

  12. kylie says:

    So happy I found this website – all family converted from your typical jar stuff I just added about 2 cloves of garlic – defiently a winner at my house :-)

  13. Emma says:

    Hi Teresa,
    Just wondering can you freeze the zucchini noodles too?

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