Zucchini Bolognase

I crawled out of the vineyard for one day just to spend some time writing and entering my data. I'm going to have to schedule days like these regularly because they are highly productive, and because there are a lot of graduate students around the building it's nice to socialize with people instead of grapevines for a change.

Even though my last post had zucchini in it, I have another for you as a preemptive measure for all those summer zucchini that will be ready to harvest in a short while. Plus, I love zucchini so much! I have since I was a kid, and when it's covered with tomato sauce, that's when I enjoy it the most! Here is my version of a grain-free, dairy-free "pasta" Bolognase that uses zucchini instead of pasta, also the sauce does not have any milk or cream like some Bolognase sauces do. This one is a lot quicker because I don't simmer the ragu for a long time, instead I take a little help from my pantry and use a good-quality, no salt added sauce (I use one from Sprouts, which has minimal grams of sugar as well, a bonus). You could also use your own homemade. As a matter of fact, once those summer tomatoes come in you could use them to make your own sauce that you can freeze and/or can for later! I may have to come up with a recipe for that...


Zucchini Bolognase
Printable Recipe

3 medium zucchini
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 lb ground beef, preferably grass-fed
1 small onion, diced
8 oz mushrooms, whatever kind you like, sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/4 cups chunky marinara (choose one made with with low-sodium, low-sugar, and good-quality oils)
2 tsp Italian seasoning
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
approximately 25 large black olives, sliced
salt and pepper, to taste

1. Using either a knife, julienne slices, mandolin slicer, or spiralizer (I used a mandolin) cut the zucchini into noodle shapes...large or small, either will work.
2. In a large saucepan, heat half the oil over medium heat. Add the zucchini noodles and cook until just softened and slightly translucent. Remove to the side.
3. Add the remaining oil and heat it through, then crumble in the ground beef and add the onion and mushrooms and cook until the meat is cooked through and the vegetables are soft. Add the garlic and cook for about another minute.
4. Add the marinara sauce and season the mixture with the Italian seasoning and pepper, and salt if you desire it. Bring to a simmer, then add the zucchini back in. Note, if a lot of water accumulated in the bowl the zucchini were in, do not add it to the sauce because it will make it watery. Add the olives and balsamic vinegar as well. Toss the zucchini with the sauce, simmer for a few minutes more, then serve.

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