I love pasta. Sometimes I think I love it a little too much. It’s one of the things I am REALLY missing during the Whole30 diet. One of my favorite ways to kick a pasta craving is by substituting my carb-heavy lover for something low-carb and equally delicious, zucchini noodles!
Whole30 has made me think outside the box and despite the laundry list of ingredients I can’t eat, I’ve still been able to come up with dishes that aren’t lacking in flavor.
While brainstorming what to make for dinner a few nights ago, I remembered a delicious mushroom bolognese I had at a local restaurant. The dish I was inspired by was vegan, and while mushrooms are extremely hearty, I opted to add ground turkey to mine for additional heartiness and protein. Besides the ground turkey, this dish is vegan friendly!
How to cook zoodles
I’m excited to say I’ve completely mastered the process of cooking zoodles without letting them turn to mush. Since zucchini is largely made of water, it’s natural that they will exude some liquid while cooking. To help counteract this process, add some salt to the zoodles, about 1/2 tbsp per zucchini. Also, keep an eye on the zoodles the entire time they are cooking, using tongs to constantly turn them until they are just tender.
Recipe modifications and notes
- Sprinkle some parmesan cheese over sauce if you aren’t doing Whole30.
- Omit ground turkey for a vegetarian/vegan dish and add two mushroom caps.
- If meal prepping, double up on zoodles.
Whole30 Recipes: Mushroom Bolognese
- 4 portobello mushroom caps, cleaned and diced
- 16 oz ground turkey (omit for vegan and add 2 more mushroom caps)
- 20 oz zoodles, about 4 large zucchinis or two packages of already prepared zoodles
- 28 oz crushed red tomatoes (one can)
- 1 red pepper, diced
- 1 small yellow onion, diced
- 1/2 cup fresh chopped basil
- 3 tbsp minced garlic
- 2 tsp dried oregano
- 6 oz tomato paste (1 can)
- 2 bay leaves
- 1.5 tbsp crushed red pepper (more if you like a kick!)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Olive oil
- Prepare ingredients: clean mushroom caps by washing them well, removing stems and scooping out the “gills” – this is the dark brown underpart of the mushroom cap. Chop mushrooms, onion, pepper, basil, and spiralize zucchini if not purchasing it already prepared. In a medium mixing bowl, toss zucchini noodles with 2 tbsp of olive oil, salt and pepper.
- Make the sauce: heat a large heavy bottomed pan with 2 tbsp of olive oil (I used my Le Creuset dutch oven) over medium heat. Add ground turkey (if using), onions, mushrooms, garlic, salt and a little fresh ground pepper. Cook for 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms have completely cooked down and ground turkey (if using) is at least 90% cooked through. Stir in tomato paste and cook for 2 additional minutes.
- Sauce continued: stir in crushed tomatoes, red peppers, oregano, bay leaves, and basil. Simmer for 15 minutes, allowing the sauce to thicken.
- Cook the zucchini noodles: while the sauce is simmering, heat a large skillet with 2 tbsp of olive oil over medium heat. Add zucchini noodles and season with salt and pepper. Use tongs to toss zoodles regularly for 2 minutes, or until just tender. Be careful not to overcook them, or they will turn soggy. When finished, remove from pan immediately.
To Serve: Divide zoodles evenly between four bowls and top with mushroom bolognese. If not doing Whole30, top with parmesan cheese! Garnish with basil if desired.