Eggplant Bolognese With Zucchini Noodles
This Summer I started dabbling with a spiralizer. Having been hearing so much about spiralizing veggies in lieu of pasta, I had to give it a try. I was surprised to have found that I really loved the consistency of zucchini noodles. Coming from this pasta loving girl, that is saying a lot. But, we all know that a good pasta dish needs a good sauce recipe. Here is one i've been playing with!
Tricks to a perfect zucchini noodle dish: After you spiralize a zucchini, its a good idea to squeeze some water out of them. Just place in some paper towels and squeeze. This helps keep your dish from getting too watery. If i'm making a warm dish, then I throw the zucchini into the pan just for a few minutes to warm up.
Having grown up on Italian food, most of my recipes are based around some sort of sauce and then a hodgepodge of whatever I have on hand in the fridge. This recipe is no different.
Last week I had picked up some eggplant and had a TON of cherry tomatoes I needed to use up from my garden. Even though it was 90 degrees out, I was craving a yummy bolognese type of sauce. I had no meat on hand, so this recipe ended up being all veggie, which is perfect for those vegetarians out there!
Chop a large eggplant into small chunks.
Heat up some oil in a pan and begin to saute a medium sized chopped onion once translucent, and 3 cloves of garlic chopped (I did mention I was Italian so add as much or as little garlic as you like. I for one think you can never have enough.) Truth be told I actually had some roasted garlic on hand so I used those and they were DELISH!!
Once your kitchen starts smelling like you are at your grandmothers on pasta Sunday (because thats a thing), you can start adding in your veggies. I added the eggplant and let those caramelize a bit (aka get a little brown). I would normally add some diced carrots at this point too but I did not have any. If you are up for some meat, this would also be when you would start adding your meat to the pan. It helps to get some browned to add some major flavor.
If you have any red wine that is hanging around, pour a little in the pan to help bring up all the brown bits from the pan. Take a sip while you're at it too, after all, we know your wine addiction is what got you in the kitchen to cook!
Now here is where you can personalize your bolognese to your liking. Some add in tomato paste only. That will make it less saucy and more chunky and dark. I usually add tomato paste and a can of crushed tomatoes. That makes it last a little longer but does make it more saucy. I had none of those on hand so I just used a can of tomato soup that I had in the pantry. There are no rules in making a sauce like this so use whatever you like and experiment a bit.
Throw in some chopped basil, and a bunch of cherry tomatoes (keep them whole) and you are good to go!
Once its simmered a bit, add in some of your spiralized zucchini or shaghetti squash, sprinkle on some parmesan cheese and you are good to go with some feel good, guilt free, as good as nana's (k that's not possible) bowl of pasta.
There you have it. A perfect vegetarian, gluten-free, paleo-friendly, SUPER delish meal. I am not going to pretend to be a cook of any sort, but I will say that sauces are my thing.
What are some of your favorite go-to, easy, healthy meals? We'd love to add to our cookbook!