Vegetarian bolognese has a whole new meaning
I absolutely love my vegetables, but I’m not at big fan of zucchini. There’s something about the way it often gets really watery after being cooked. The zucchini just gets really soft and soggy – so not my favorite texture. Even thinking about it is making me cringe. Maybe I just don’t like the way some restaurants prepare it or maybe I had one bad experience with it early on.
Regardless of my fears of zucchini, my neighbor gave me a zucchini and yellow summer squash fresh from the farmer’s market last week. I decided it was time to try another idea I found on Pinterest: zoodles.
Zoodles are typically made with zucchini and a vegetable spiralizer, but I made my zoodles with a zucchini, yellow summer squash and a cheese grater. I also had a container of fresh ricotta and was inspired to create a vegetarian bolognese.
Here’s what I did…
Makes 2 Servings
- 1 medium sized zucchini
- 1 medium sized yellow summer squash
- Olive oil
- Italian Seasoning (garlic, rosemary, etc)
Makes about 6 Servings
- 1 Jar of Marinara Sauce (I used Muir Glen Organic’s Cabernet Marinara)
- 1/2-1 cup of meatless “beef” crumbles, like Gardein’s The Beetles Ground
- 10 baby carrots, diced
- 10 White Button Mushrooms, chopped
- Fresh Ricotta for topping
- Since I don’t have a spiralizer, I found the idea to use a cheese grater to create the noodle shape for my zoodles. Use the side with the thickest grater and grate your squashes by moving them in long strokes over the grater. The gif on this blog post is a great representation of how to grate the squashes.
- Coat a skillet with olive oil and cook the zucchini and squash noodles over medium heat. Add a pinch or two of the Italian Seasoning of your choice and stir.
- Cook for about 5-10 minutes, stirring constantly. You don’t want to fry them for too long because they could burn. The zoodles will be done when they start to shrink down and become softer. Use the picture below to gage when they are done.
- While the zoodles are cooking, pour the marinara sauce into a large sauce pan and add the carrots and mushrooms. Let the sauce sit on medium to low heat for 15 minutes, stirring often.
- Add the meatless beef crumbles to the sauce and cook for another 10 minutes on medium heat. Add as much of the crumbles as you want, but the more you add, the heartier your dish will be. Like my chili recipe, the sauce can stay on the heat for a longer amount of time. Just make sure the carrots are cooked and slightly soft before taking it off the heat.
- Assemble the dish by stirring the vegetarian bolognese into a big bowl of zoodles and top with fresh ricotta cheese.
- The sauce makes enough for about 6 servings, but the zoodles don’t make as much. When cooking for more than one, use one zucchini/squash for every person eating the dish. The zoodles I made this time were enough for 2 servings.
- Ricotta cheese is always delicious. Don’t miss out on the extra protein and flavor by skipping it.
- Since there was no actual pasta in this meal, I decided to get my grains with a side of a French baguette. Not only is it yummy, but you can also use the baguette to soak up any leftover sauce on the sides of your bowl.
- Have left over zoodles? Put them on top of your salad tomorrow for lunch!
I actually like zucchini now – in the form of zoodles anyway. Zoodles are an outstanding idea for a pasta replacement. Bolognese sauce is something I really enjoyed eating, back when I was a meat eater. This is the first time I tried a meat-substitute to make bolognese, and it was sooooo good. In general, I like the taste and texture of meat substitutes better, so the beefless crumbles were a great addition to the meal. I was enjoying this dish for days after as leftovers.
Zoodles are another successful “To Try Summer 2016” idea!