Growing up my parents would serve me and my brothers boxed spaghetti drowned in Prego sauce. It was easy and it was cheap. Having three boys is not easy on the pocket book especially when it comes to grocery shopping.
Fast forward to after college and I was still eating spaghetti on a pretty regular basis. I did upgrade my marinara sauce but I still found comfort in the fact that it was a cheap and easy meal. This was before my paleo enlightenment, so cut me some slack.
It's been years since I've had spaghetti but the other night we decided to whip up some paleo "spaghetti" using zucchini noodles. I had my doubts but the results were delicious.
I truly believe that if my parents put this on my plate as a kid I would have eagerly gobbled it up. So if you have kids, this might be a quick and easy recipe to feed them some healthy grub.
Zucchini Noodles and Meat Sauce (a.k.a. Paleo Spaghetti)
Prep Time: Approx 10 Minutes
Cook Time: Approx 25 Minutes
Ingredients for the meat sauce:
1 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
2 medium carrots, sliced thin
4 stalks of celery, sliced thin
1 cup of mushrooms, diced
5 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tsp red pepper flakes (less if you don't like it spicy, more if you want it hot)
2 tbsp fresh basil, finely chopped 1 tsp fresh oregano, finely chopped
1 pound of ground meat (pork, beef or turkey will all work)
salt and pepper to taste
1 28 oz can organic diced tomatoes, drained
1 12 oz can organic plum tomatoes, drained
Instructions for the meat sauce:
1. Heat the olive oil in a medium/large heavy saucepan or dutch oven over medium-low heat. Add onion, carrots and celery and saute until soft, stirring frequently, about five minutes.
2. Add mushrooms and garlic and cook until garlic is fragrant and mushrooms are softened, about one minute. Add red pepper flakes, basil and oregano and stir until combined. Add the meat to the pan by breaking it up into small, even clumps with your hands.
3. Continue to stir over medium-low heat until meat is browned and cooked through, about 10 minutes. Then add diced tomatoes. Add the plum tomatoes by squeezing them with your hands into the pot, breaking them down into small chunks.
4. Stir until combined, bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat to low, cover the pan and let simmer for 20 minutes.
5. While the sauce is simmering, make the zucchini noodles.
Ingredients for the zucchini noodles:
4 medium/average zucchini, washed and trimmed of butts
1 tsp salt
Instructions for the zucchini noodles:
1. Using a julienne peeler or mandolin slicer, cut the zucchini into thin, spaghetti-style strips. Rotate the zucchini, slicing until you get to the seedy, watery middle and then stop. Do not use the seedy, watery core of the zucchini. Instead save it for another purpose (maybe zucchini bread or stir fry).
2. Place the zucchini noodles in a microwave-safe glass dish, sprinkle with salt and stir to coat evenly. Cover the dish and microwave for 2 minutes. Stir the noodles and microwave again until desired tenderness. For our microwave this is another 2.5 minutes.
3. Place zucchini noodles in a bowl and top with meat sauce. Bam! Deliciousness.
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