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Zucchini Spaghetti with Easy Beef Bolognese

Zucchini Spaghetti with Easy Beef Bolognese Sauce is a simple and delicious recipe for sautéed zucchini noodles topped with a thick and hearty sauce made with lean beef. This easy dinner recipe is a family favorite in our house!
*This post was updated August 2019 from the original version posted November 2012.
Zucchini spaghetti topped with fresh parmesan cheese and parsley on a plate
spaghetti with zucchini noodles

How To Make Zucchini Noodles

This delicious low-carb spaghetti recipe is gluten-free and easy to make. If you don’t have a spiralizer, I highly recommend it for the easiest method of making noodles out of vegetables. I’m pretty obsessed with mine. This gadget also slices apples and potatoes very thin. It has a lot of different functions and is very simple to use.

I was immediately sold, especially when I saw the price tag (I’ll include a link to the one I have below and a few more top-rated slicers, so you can add that one to your kitchen tools ASAP). It’s very reasonable for all of the great features and it’s simple to clean and operate. I absolutely love it!! Here are my zucchini “noodles” freshly sliced for spaghetti.

making zucchini noodles with a spiralizer

Before you put the zucchini into the slicer, cut off each end so it will rest flat against the slicing blade and the end piece that holds it steady. Cut a slit about 1/4 of the way through the zucchini so you don’t end up with super long noodles.

how to slice zucchini before using a spiralizer to make noodles

After spiralizing, there is very little waste of the vegetable, you end up with a mushroom-shaped portion leftover that you can eat raw or slice up for another dish. You can also chop it up and saute it into your sauce.

leftover zucchini after spiralizing for zucchini noodles
If you don’t want to buy a countertop spiralizer but still want evenly spiralized noodles you can also use a handheld version. You can also use a julienne peeler for really thin noodles (this will alter the cooking time) and a mandoline slicer for long, thin strips that are perfect for a healthier zucchini lasagna recipe. There are so many great things that you can make with vegetable “pasta”!

How To Make Zucchini Noodles That Aren’t Soggy

I’ve changed my method over the years for cooking zucchini noodles. In the past, I would quickly boil them and drain thoroughly before seasoning and serving. They tasted good but ended up a little soggy. You can also eat them raw. This zucchini salad is made with raw zoodles and so delicious! 
For a pasta substitute, I do like zucchini noodles cooked. Vegetables have a high water content, so one way to draw some of that water out is to salt the noodles before cooking. After spiralizing, put the zoodles in a large colander and place the colander on top of a bowl. 
Salt the noodles with kosher salt (not too much or they won’t be edible) and allow them to sit and drain for about 15-20 minutes. This is a great time to cook your sauce. Pat noodles dry with a paper towel and then they’re ready to cook.
My favorite new method for cooking zucchini noodles is a simple stovetop method. You sauté them raw with shallots and olive oil. Heat the extra virgin olive oil over medium heat and add shallots to the pan. 
Sautéed shallots in olive oil for making zucchini noodles
Stir for about 20 seconds then add the raw zucchini noodles. Sauté for 2-3 minutes until zucchini is cooked to desired tenderness. We like ours with a little texture. 
Zucchini noodles cooking on the stovetop

How To Make Easy Bolognese Sauce For Zucchini Spaghetti

You want to get your sauce started first, or even make it the night before (if you’re short on time) before cooking the zucchini noodles. This is a great sauce to whip up for weekly meal prep. Heat 1 1/2 tbsp of butter and 1 1/2 tbsp olive oil in a med-large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until soft. Then add the carrot and celery and cook for another 5 minutes. 
Sautéed vegetables and garlic for zucchini spaghetti
Add the lean ground beef and season with 1 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper. Cook until meat is no longer pink, about 10 minutes. Add canned tomatoes (I highly recommend Tuttorosso brand for quality and taste), beef bouillon base, red pepper flakes, fresh parsley, and basil. The beef base that I use is a brand called Better Than Bouillon and it’s the only roasted beef base I use. Trust me on this one. It adds amazing flavor! It has a paste-like texture.
Fresh herbs also make such a difference in the flavor of the sauce. Go with fresh whenever possible! I grow herbs just to have them readily available for cooking.
Easy Bolognese sauce for zucchini spaghetti made with fresh herbs    
Simmer on medium-low heat, uncovered, for 30 minutes while you prepare your noodles. The sauce will thicken as it cooks.

What Else Can I Serve With Zucchini Spaghetti Noodles?

I do have a tasty, from scratch Marinara recipe that you could prepare for this dish if you are looking for a meatless spaghetti sauce. If you want a more traditional saucy spaghetti sauce with meat that cooks low and slow, this Best Homemade Spaghetti Sauce recipe is another favorite.

An easy and delicious recipe for zucchini spaghetti with a lean beef bolognese sauce

This meal is a staple in our meal prep rotation! It’s easy and delicious!

Zucchini spaghetti is best with this simple and delicious beef bolognese sauce

If you don’t have a spiralizer, I love this one. It makes creating veggie noodles a breeze!

spaghetti with zucchini noodles on a plate

Zucchini Spaghetti with Easy Beef Bolognese

Sautéed zucchini noodles are the base for a simple and hearty lean beef bolognese sauce
5 from 3 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main
Cuisine: Italian
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 6
Calories: 318kcal
Author: Amee


  • 1 1/2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tbsp butter
  • 1 medium sweet onion diced
  • 2 cloves garlic peeled and chopped (I used 2 large cloves or 4 small cloves)
  • 2 carrots peeled and chopped finely
  • 1 celery stalk chopped finely
  • 1 lb lean ground beef 90% or less
  • 1 tsp coarse salt
  • 1/2 tsp fresh cracked pepper
  • 28 oz can crushed tomatoes Tuttorosso brand recommended
  • 1 tbsp fresh basil leaves chopped finely (I use a heaping tbsp)
  • 1 tbsp fresh parsley chopped finely (again a heaping tbsp)
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes *optional (adds a nice slight heat)
  • 1/4 cup Pecorino Romano cheese freshly grated (can also use Parmesan)
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 6 medium zucchini
  • 2 large shallots chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp Organic Better Than Bouillon Beef Base adds great flavor to this dish


  • In a medium-size skillet, heat 1 1/2 tbsp olive oil and butter over medium heat
  • Add onion and garlic and cook until onion is soft
  • Add carrot and celery and sauté for another 5 minutes
  • Add ground beef and season with salt and pepper
  • Cook until meat is no longer pink, about 10 minutes
  • Add canned tomatoes, concentrated beef base, red pepper flakes (if using), parsley and basil
  • Simmer on medium-low, uncovered, for 30 minutes
  • While sauce is simmering, prepare your noodles
  • Place sliced noodles in a colander over a large bowl
  • Salt the zucchini (not too much, you want it to be edible) and let it sit for 15-20 minutes
  • Pat zucchini dry and set aside
  • Heat remaining 2 tbsp olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat
  • Add shallots and stir for about 20 seconds
  • Stir in zucchini and cook 2-3 minutes, until desired texture is achieved
  • Ladle sauce over sautéed zucchini and garnish with extra parsley and Pecorino Romano cheese


Calories: 318kcal | Carbohydrates: 22g | Protein: 23g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 59mg | Sodium: 729mg | Potassium: 1287mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 13g | Vitamin A: 4349IU | Vitamin C: 52mg | Calcium: 143mg | Iron: 5mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @ameecooks or tag #ameecooks!
Amee Livingston
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  1. I love this slicer, it’s so user-friendly and inexpensive! I used it again tonight for dinner. 🙂 Tricia, it’s the World Cuisine Tri-blade slicer and the link is above the comment thread. 🙂

  2. Just curious… what other vegetables could be used as noodles? I love zucchini but trying to think of other veggies I’d use if I bought the slicer.

  3. One way that I like to cook zoodles – put the sauce in the pan first, place the colander on top and the zoodles inside the colander, and the lid of the pan on top. You’re using the steam from the sauce to cook the zoodles. This method also saves you one pan. 🙂

5 from 3 votes (3 ratings without comment)

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