Eggplant Bolognese with Zucchini Noodles (Low Carb)

By Jess

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This rich and hearty bolognese sauce easily makes a delicious, comforting meal. It’s a lighter bolognese, made with a mix of eggplant and ground beef, which is still sure to please the crowd. Serve the thick, savory sauce over a plate of zucchini pasta for a dish worthy of any special occasion.

Eggplant Bolognese with Zucchini Noodles- my all-time favorite low carb zucchini noodle meal! I love it, my kids love it, and all of my friends are OBSESSED with it.

Eggplant Bolognese with Zucchini Noodles- my all-time favorite low carb zucchini noodle meal! I love it, my kids love it, and all of my friends are OBSESSED with it.

A traditional recipe for bolognese relies heavily on meat as the center of the dish. But for those of you who are vegetarians, or would like to change things up, this recipe substitutes eggplant for half of the meat to make some healthy comfort food. You could easily make the recipe vegetarian by completely swapping the ground beef out for more eggplant. As a meat eater, I like this version because it’s a little lighter and at the same time adds another serving of vegetables into my diet.

Other than the eggplant, the recipe doesn’t veer too far from usual bolognese sauce. Bolognese is already based on mostly Paleo-friendly ingredients. The onion and ground beef are sautéed together first, and then the eggplant and garlic are added into the pan. This is a dish that shouldn’t be rushed; instead cook it long and slow. A little red wine is added to the pan to deglaze and bring more flavor to the sauce. Lastly, whole plum tomatoes are stirred into the mixture and everything is left to simmer for about 10 minutes. If you don’t eat it all right away, the sauce can be frozen to enjoy later.

beef bolognese

I usually serve the bolognese over zucchini pasta, instead of the traditional pasta noodles. I prefer zucchini mainly because it is so easy to prepare. Zucchini pasta is popular on the Paleo diet because it is consistently delicious and takes minutes to make. The bolognese would also taste good over spaghetti squash noodles, though they take longer to cook. This recipe is proof that a dish based on ‘pasta’ can still be good for you.

zucchini noodle recipe


    • 1 1/2 lbs. eggplant, diced
    • 1/2 lb. ground beef
    • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
    • Salt and freshly ground pepper
    • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
    • 3 cloves garlic, minced
    • 2 bay leaves
    • 4 sprigs thyme
    • 1 tbsp tomato paste
    • 1/2 cup red wine
    • 1 28-oz. can whole peeled plum tomatoes
    • 6 leaves fresh basil, chiffonade


  1. Heat the olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add in the onion and beef and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook for 8-10 minutes until the meat is browned. Stir in the eggplant, garlic, bay leaves, and thyme and sauté for an additional 15 minutes.
  2. Once the eggplant is tender, stir in the tomato paste. Add the wine and scrape any browned bits off the bottom of the pan. Stir in the tomatoes and slightly crush with a spoon. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Adjust salt to taste. Serve warm garnished with fresh basil.


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  1. Eggplant Bolognese with Zucchini Noodles does not mention zucchini or noodles. No instructions for these?

    • 2 zucs were good for my husband and I. After Zoodling them I sprinkle with salt and let sit for 30 minutes or so. They become a little limp. Rinse well and use just like that. I don’t like to cook them because I alway end up making mush. I imagine you can drop them in boiling water and immediately take out but it’s a time and clean up issue for me.

  2. Fabulous
    I just made it
    Doubled the recipe so I can freeze some
    I like to cook ahead so I always have a paleo meal ready
    Doubled the tomato paste since I like the taste of a little more
    Easy recipe and absolutely delicious!!!

  3. I’ve never made anything other than babaganoush with eggplant. Are you supposed to peel it first or do you eat the skin?

  4. Wow, this is absolutely wonderful. Matter of fact, so good we ate w/o zucchini noodles. Used 1 lb ground beef and maybe a cup of wine cause “isn’t it just better with more wine!!!?” Love that it’s relatively fast and easy to make. Thank you.

  5. This is a very tasty eggplant Bolognese sauce. I served it very hot over raw zucchini noodles and it was amazing.

  6. Absolutely delicious! I used raw zucchini pasta instead of cooked and I think it made the meal better. I also added one extra clove of garlic and a little extra tomato paste…I definitely think it’s better this way.

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