Skinny chicken Bolognese with zoodles
A few years ago, I travelled to Bologna and had the very best Bolognese I’ve ever tasted. It was in a tiny little backstreet restaurant – thick, rich ragu with tagliatelle (not spaghetti – the traditional way is with wider pasta noodles because they take on more of the sauce). It was just amazing and one of the best things I’ve ever tasted. I went back the next night and ordered the exact same thing!
It’s a pretty perfect food memory and I’m not sure that I could recreate the recipe. To be honest, I probably don’t want to think about the amount of butter, salt, red meat etc that went into making that dish! So I decided I’d go in a different direction. I’d make a Bolognese that would still be delicious but would be healthier.
This recipe uses chicken mince instead of beef and I’ve replaced the pasta with spiralized zucchini. That makes it lighter, much lower in calories and gluten free. Spiralizing is a super easy way to reduce the gluten and calories in your meal, but still feel full. You can buy the spiralizer I use by following this link – I really recommend it.
In addition to the “zoodles” I’ve included lots of vegetables in the ragu sauce, so this can provide up to 4 portions of fruit and veg per serving! If you were wanting to be extra healthy, you could skip the Parmesan cheese but really, is life worth living without cheese?
I think this recipe is a great way to let you enjoy a family favourite but in a lighter way. I hope you like it!
Ingredients (serves 4)
– 400 g chicken mince
– 2 carrots
– 1 white onion
– 2 cloves garlic
– 100 g cherry tomatoes
– 2 medium zucchinis
– 1 tablespoon Worchestershire sauce
– 500 ml passata
– 100 ml chicken stock
– 1 teaspoon each dried oregano, thyme and rosemary
Black pepper and grated Parmesan cheese to serve
1. Prepare the vegetables. Peel and finely chop the onions and garlic. Peel and dice the carrots and halve the cherry tomatoes. Dice a quarter of one of the zucchinis, then spiralize the remaining zucchini on the fine noodle setting.
2. Heat a little oil in a large saucepan. Cook the onions for about two minutes, then add the garlic and stir together until they begin to soften.
3. Add the diced carrot, tomatoes and zucchini with the Worchestershire sauce. Stir together then cover and leave to sweat for 5 minutes.
4. Stir in the chicken mince and cook until the meat is white and firm. Pour over the passata, stock and herbs and combine well.
5. Cook on a low heat for 15 minutes with the lid on. Stir well, then cook for a further 15-20 minutes until the sauce is thickened and reduced. Season to taste.
6. During the last 5 minutes of cooking time, heat a little oil in a large frying pan (or I used roasted garlic butter for extra flavour). Cook the zucchini noodles in the frying pan until slightly softened -I like mine still with a bit of bite to them. Drain and pat dry with a little kitchen paper, or your sauce will turn watery.
7. Serve the Bolognese sauce with the cooked zoodles and top with black pepper and Parmesan cheese.
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