July 14, 2014

Zucchini Pasta with Bolognese Sauce

Zoodles! Zucchini Noodles! Zuccachini (ok, I just made that last one up), whatever you call them- they have taken the healthy recipe game by storm.

I’ll admit, when I first heard of zucchini pasta, I wasn’t exactly running to the kitchen. Sure, I love zucchini, but I couldn’t fathom the idea of another pasta swap. Besides the fact that I cook more pasta than probably any other dish, most of the pasta swaps I’ve tried before have…. quite frankly sucked. And I say that in the nicest way.

Tofu noodles? Blech. Cooked bean sprouts? Yes, I’ve tried them, and they taste as disgusting as they sound. I assumed zucchini noodles would be more of the same.

But, since we know what happens when we ass-u-me, I tried them. And then I proceeded to eat the entire batch before anyone could even say- “I told you so”. Ha!

Well, joke’s on me because zucchini noodles are really, really good. Even to me, the pasta queen.
How to: Zucchini Noodles with Lentil Bolognase
After trying a few different methods, I really recommend purchasing a spiralizer. If you’re going to be eating this often, it’s an inexpensive tool that cuts prep time by 1/2. Maybe even 2/3s.

There are a few different models on the market, but I prefer this Bitoni Spiralizer over other more expensive models. For only $30 you get three different blades to create endless noodle options: long strands, spiral slices, or wide, fat, noodles.

Of course, you can serve zucchini noodles raw but when I am eating them as a hot dish, I prefer them cooked. Heat your oven to 375 degrees F, toss the noodle strands with a smudge of olive oil and roast in a single layer for 10 minutes.

Prefer them au natural? That works too.

Whether or not you take the zoodle plunge, this lentil ragu has topped my list of favorite hearty sauces. The red lentils almost disappear when cooking, adding depth and richness to this simple bolognese. If you’re not quite ready for full on zucchini noodles, try this dish with 1/2 the zucchini and 1/2 cooked pasta.

Enjoy this healthy pasta swap! Let’s compare this to a normal serving of pasta with red sauce:

Whole Wheat Pasta with lentil ragu: 412 calories, 3g fat, 18g fiber, 20g protein, 34% daily value iron

Zucchini noodles with lentil ragu: 230 calories, 2.7g fat, 15g fiber, 15.5g protein, 26% daily value iron

Almost 1/2 the calories of regular pasta with similar fiber, protein and iron counts. Your choice- if you’re looking for a lower calorie pasta swap, zucchini noodles are it!

How to: Zucchini Noodles with Lentil Bolognase

If you try this recipe, let me know! Leave a comment, rate it, and tag your Instagram photos with #delishknowledge . I absolutely love seeing your creations. Happy cooking! 

How to: Zucchini Noodles with Lentil Bolognase

Zucchini Noodles with Lentil Bolognese

  • Author: Alex
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 50 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hours 10 minutes
  • Yield: 4 -6 1x
  • Category: Main
  • Cuisine: Italian/American


Healthy pasta! Zucchini noodles with Lentil Bolognase. You’d never guess this meal was vegan!

  • Author: Alex
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 50 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hours 10 minutes
  • Yield: 4 -6 1x
  • Category: Main
  • Cuisine: Italian/American
  • Author: Alex
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 50 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hours 10 minutes
  • Yield: 4 -6 1x
  • Category: Main
  • Cuisine: Italian/American


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil 
  • 1 onion, finely chopped 
  • 2 carrots, finely chopped 
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped 
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped 
  • 1 tablespoon sugar or maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar 
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed dried red pepper 
  • 1 cup dried red lentils
  • 1 15 ounce can crushed tomatoes 
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 bay leaves 
  • 4 cups vegetable broth 
  • 4 zucchini, peeled and spiralized using a spiralizer 
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil 
  • salt/pepper 


  1. For the Bolognese:
  2. Add the oil to a large stock pan and heat over medium heat.
  3. Add the onions, carrots, and celery along with a pinch of salt and cook for 5 minutes until soft and reduced.
  4. Add in the garlic, sugar, balsamic vinegar and dried herbs and cook for another 5 minutes, stirring often so the garlic doesn’t burn.
  5. Add the lentils, tomato paste, bay leaves and vegetable broth and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 30-40 minutes until lentils are soft.
  6. Remove the bay leaf and season to taste with salt and pepper. Depending on what brand of vegetable broth/stock you used- you might need a pinch of salt or none at all!
  7. For the noodles:
  8. While the sauce is cooking, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F and prep the zucchini.
  9. Toss zucchini with oil and small pinch salt/pepper.
  10. Place on a baking sheet in a single layer and cook for 7-10 minutes until just soft.
  11. Serve bolognese over zucchini noodles.

did you make this?

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Alex Caspero is a Registered Dietitian, Plant-Based Chef and Yoga Instructor. She aims to cut through the nutrition noise by providing real-life, nourishing tips for body and mind. Learn more about Alex.


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  1. Purchased the spiralizer and prepared the zucchini noodles with a homemade tomato sauce. My husbands comment was -isn’t there anymore? I believe I have set the record for the longest strands of zucchini “pasta” at 48″. I am checking my garden each morning for more zucchini. We could eat this everyday!

  2. The lentil bolognese turned out really good, but I have a lot leftover. Any idea if this would freeze well? Thanks!

    • I’m glad you liked it Audra! I froze it for a few weeks and it turned out fine! As with all sauces, I wouldn’t recommend freezing it for longer than 6 months. Place the cooled sauce in a freezer-safe plastic bag and push down to remove as much air as possible!

    • No meat! But even those who like regular bolognese won’t miss it. The lentils are so rich and meaty! I am obsessed with my veg spiralizer as well – I love it!

  3. I was similarly ambivalent about zoodles, but they’re actually really good! I just used my mandolin slicer, so not quite as pretty as spiralized zoodles, but whatevs! They taste the same!

    • Tastes the same! I was using a peeler for the first few times I made it. Then I was gifted this one and it made a huge difference in the prep time, but just as delicious 🙂

  4. I only recently learned the word zoodles (love that) – AND – I’ve been looking for a good spiralizer, etc., because the one I have is…just awful. So thanks for this yummy post!

    • Awesome Annie! Hope you like it! Yeah, I’ve tried a few- this is my favorite one for the price. It has little suctions on it that grip to the cutting board so it doesn’t slide. I’ve only used it for zucchini and cucumber though, haven’t tried it with harder vegetables.

  5. I’ve never baked my zoodles, definitely something I will need to try! Love my spiralizer though (I got it as a shower gift in March)… I’ve only used it for a few veggies and the zucchini has definitely been the most successful.