Happy New Year!
Truthfully, I’m don’t really get that big into the holidays. Thanksgiving is wonderful, I mean it is all about eating, but it’s usually around my birthday so it kind of rains on my parade. And Christmas is fun too, but I’m not one of those people that listens to Christmas music the whole month long and decorates the house with enough lights to see from space. And I don’t go all out for New Year’s Eve, I’m usually lame and stay in.
But New Year’s Day – now that’s my jam! It feels like such a fresh new start, like the year is so full of possibilities. You make plans to do all the tasks you’ve been putting off, organize your mess of a closet and even make an effort to start living a healthier life. At least that’s what runs through my mind… at least until February.
So why not start off 2015 with a super delicious, incredible healthy dish. This was my first time making zucchini noodles (I know, totally late on that trend) and I was a little skeptical if they’d be able to compete with actual noodles. I’m a fan of spaghetti squash and all, but it really doesn’t come close to real pasta.
So I was super surprised at how much I loved the zucchini noodles. I think the difference maker is how thick they are compared to spaghetti squash. The noodles held on to the sauce well and you could even twirl them like regular noodles.
Speaking of the sauce – this bolognese is out of this world. I have been eating it on EVERYTHING! It’s hearty with such a burst of flavors. Plus it’s completely alcohol free. You usually make bolognese with a red wine, but I subbed in mushroom broth since I’m trying to do this healthy eating thing, and you really can’t tell a difference.
This dish is dairy free, gluten free with no added sugars without sacrificing any flavor. The perfect way to start your new year!
- 2 large zucchinis, cut with vegetable spiralizer
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 2 large carrots, chopped
- 3 ribs celery, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic
- 8 ounces baby bella mushrooms, washed and chopped
- 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- kosher salt
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 pound ground pork
- 18 ounces tomato paste
- 4 cups mushroom broth
- 3 bay leaves
- 1 bunch thyme, tied in a bundle
- In a food processor, puree the onions, carrots, celery, garlic and mushrooms into a coarse paste. In a large pan over medium heat, coat a pan with oil.
- Add the pureed veggies and season generously with salt. Bring the pan to a medium-high heat and cook until all the water has evaporated and the veggie paste starts to become brown and fragrant, about 20 minutes. This is an important step and shouldn't be rushed, this is where a lot of flavors develop.
- Add the ground pork and beef and season again with salt. Brown the meat, allowing to cook for another 15-20 minutes. This step is also where tons of flavor develops, so don't rush it.
- Once the meat has cooked, add the tomato past and cook another 4-5 minutes. Add the mushroom brown and cook until the liquid has reduced by half.
- Add about 4 cups of water to the pan. Toss the bay leaves and thyme buddle and stir to combine everything.
- As the water evaporates you will gradually need to add more water, about 2 cups at a time. Don't be shy about adding water during the cooking process, you can always cook it out. The continually reducing of water, again, builds big flavors in the sauce.
- Stir and taste frequently, seasoning with salt as needed.
- Simmer for 2-3 hours, adding water as described above.
- To serve, pile a dish with the zucchini noodles and top with the hot bolognese.
- Serve immediately.