AIP Bolognese and Zoodles Recipe
Following AIP means a lot of ingredients are off limits (at least to start with) but just because you can’t eat wheat, or eggs, or tomatoes, doesn’t mean a whole cuisine is out, it just means you have to get a little creative. So is it possible to have noodles with no grains, no eggs, and no tomatoes? Yes it is, with our AIP bolognese and zoodles! Our tomato-free sauce is tangy with just a hint of sweetness, the bolognese is meaty and the zoodles are tender and satisfying. With a little imagination and some creative ingredient substitution, you really can have your noodles and eat them too!
Making “Tomato” Sauce without Tomatoes
Tomatoes are in the nightshade family, which means that they are off limits on AIP. Luckily, we have an alternative that doesn’t skimp on flavor or nutrition. Beets and carrots can be combined to create a flavor and color that closely matches cooked tomatoes. This pairing is also featured in our tomato-less ketchup recipe! A dash of honey and red wine vinegar round out the tomato flavor by adding sweetness and tanginess.
In order to more closely match the flavor and texture of tomato sauce, we first caramelize the carrots and beets to bring out their natural sweetness, then cook until fully softened. Finally, we puree to get the familiar sauce texture.
This recipe shows how important it is to think of each characteristic of an ingredient when making a substitution. There is no simple substitute for tomatoes, instead each aspect needs to be considered individually to find the right replacement!
Ragù vs Bolognaise
Did you know that the Italian bolognese sauce has only a few spoonfuls of tomato? It is a type of sauce called a ragù or a meat-based sauce, and it is a meat-forward sauce rather than a tomato forward one. It is also traditionally made with red wine and a little bit of milk.
In the US however, bolognese almost always refers to a sauce like ours, a tomato-based sauce with ground meat, usually beef. It all depends on where you are! If you want American bolognese in Italy, you better order ragù alla napoletana, a tomato and meat sauce from the south of Italy.
More AIP Italian Recipes to Cook for Your Family and Friends
Or check out this list of 25 AIP-Friendly Italian Recipes!
Our AIP-friendly bolognese sauce is so good you won’t even miss tomatoes.
For the sauce
- 2 teaspoons (10 ml) of olive oil
- 1 carrot (50 g), peeled and grated
- 2 beets (164 g), peeled and chopped small
- 1/2 Tablespoon (8 ml) of red wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon (5 ml) of honey
- Salt, to taste
For the bolognese and zucchini “noodles”
- 1 Tablespoon (15 ml) of olive oil
- 1 medium onion (110 g), peeled and chopped small
- 2 cloves of garlic (6 g), peeled and minced
- 14 oz (400 g) of ground beef
- 1 cup (240 ml) of beef broth
- 1/4 teaspoon (1/4 g) of dried oregano
- Salt, to taste
- 3 zucchinis (360 g), spiralized or use a vegetable peeler to create noodle-like strands
- Chopped fresh parsley, to serve
- To make the sauce, heat 2 teaspoons (10 ml) of olive oil in a pan. Add the carrots and beetroot to the pan and cook over medium heat until slightly caramelised and softened. Add 1 cup (240 ml) of water and bring to a simmer, covered, over very low heat for 1 hour until the vegetables are completely softened. Remove from the heat and stir in the vinegar and honey. Allow to cool, then puree until smooth sauce in a food processor or blender. Season with salt, to taste, and set aside.
- To make the bolognese, heat 2 Tablespoons (10 ml) of olive oil in a large pan and add the onion and garlic. Cook over medium heat until softened. Add the ground beef and increase the heat, cooking the beef until no longer pink. Add the reserved beet-and-carrot sauce, beef broth and dried oregano. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, partially covered with a lid, for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking. Once all the liquid has cooked down, remove the pan from the heat and season with salt, to taste.
- To make the zucchini “noodles,” place a dash of water into a large pan over high heat. Add the “noodles” and cook until all the moisture in the pan has evaporated and the zucchini have cooked through, about 1 or 2 minutes. Season with salt, to taste.
- Serve the bolognese sauce over the cooked zucchini “noodles” and garnish with chopped fresh parsley.
All nutritional data are estimated and based on per serving amounts.
- Calories: 744
- Sugar: 14 g
- Fat: 54 g
- Carbohydrates: 25 g
- Fiber: 5 g
- Protein: 37 g