Zucchini Noodles with Portobello Bolognese

February 23, 2016 | | | | |

This post may contain affiliate links. Read about my affiliate policy.

Zucchini Noodles with Portobello Bolognese platedApparently, I’m rather hard to shop for.

According to my roommate and most of my family members, they never know what to get me for Christmas/my birthday, and it seems to be a very real source of stress for them. This is ridiculous. As I regularly tell Logan et al., I’m extremely easy to please, and I love any and all presents that I receive!

And as Logan regularly tells me, I am a liar. This statement is usually followed by a laundry list of past presents that I have hated (i.e. tickets to Sleep No More, flannel shirts, camera equipment, etc.). Touché, Logan.

Sidenote: Hate is a very strong word, and I have never hated a present in my life. That would just be ungrateful (it’s the thought that counts, after all). However, I did “intensely dislike” Sleep No More. That shit was weird and scary, and I wasn’t nearly drunk enough to enjoy being jostled through dark rooms by strangers in masks. Sorry.

Zucchini Noodles with Portobello Bolognese in bowls.Anyhoo, to mitigate my loved ones’ gifting anxiety, I’ve started telling them point blank what I’m after on the aforementioned high holidays. I now answer all, “Is there something you’ve had your eye on?” queries with a specific item and where to find it. Which is exactly what I did when my little brother emailed me 48 hours before Christmas this year. In response to his very loving, “Yo. What do you want for xmas? Need to know soon. Thanks.” I said, “I would like The Inspiralizer, please and thank you. They sell it at the Williams-Sonoma across the street from Mom’s. You’re so on top of things this year!”

Full disclosure, I already had a perfectly good spiralizer, but word on the street was that The Inspiralizer (created by the amazingly talented Ali) blew my current Paderno out of the water. Because I am a culinary hoarder like to stay current, I’d been coveting this fancy new gadget for a while, and I was thrilled when Elliot handed me a box wrapped in red Williams-Sonoma paper on Christmas morning.

I thanked the kid for fulfilling my Christmas wish and gave him a bear hug, but I didn’t actually unwrap the Inspiralizer. We decided to skip that part of the gifting ritual since I already knew what it was, and we had more important things to do. Like annoy our mother. And watch DJ Khaled Snapchat.

Zucchini Noodles with Portobello Bolognese plated close upI’m mildly ashamed to admit that said Williams-Sonoma package sat in my hallway (still wrapped) until two weeks ago, when I walked past it (for the infinitieth time) on my way to the supermarket. Feeling guilty/inspired, I decided it was time to put my bro’s thoughtful gift to good use and make something spiralized, stat. So, I bought a bunch of zucchini and the fixings for turkey Bolognese and prancersized home to make zoodles with my fancy new Inspiralizer.

(That is the first and last time I will type “zoodles.” The word makes me uncomfortable.)

With a pile of zucchini washed and ready to go, I eagerly tore the paper off the box, only to be greeted by a familiar logo. [insert shrieks of horror] It wasn’t The Inspiralizer!!! It was…


Zucchini Noodles with Portobello Bolognese garnished with Parmesan cheese I was slightly disappointed, sure, but I refused to let that deter my spiralizing mission. I simply set the pristine box aside (for reasons you’ll soon understand), unearthed my faithful old Paderno on the highest shelf in my pantry, and got to work making zucchini noodles. I then posted a pic of my spiralized turkey Bolognese on Instagram (which was bomb), and since several of you expressed interest in the recipe, I’m finally sharing it today. Or a version of it. I give you…Zucchini Noodles with Portobello Bolognese.

Bowl of Zucchini Noodles with Portobello Bolognese with plenty of parmesan cheeseThis, friends, is a ridiculously delicious and insanely nutritious bowl of “pasta.” The veggie-heavy, herb-laced sauce is shockingly hearty thanks to the meatiness of Portobello mushrooms, and tossed with al dente zucchini noodles, it’s feel good comfort food at its finest. I firmly believe that this vegan recipe will hit the spot, but if you or a loved one is prone to “where’s the meat?!” meltdowns, go ahead and replace the mushrooms with ¾ pound ground chicken, turkey or lean beef. (Just add it to the pan once the vegetables have softened, and cook for 6-7 minutes until no longer pink.) You can also do half meat/half shrooms if you like. Whatever floats your boat.

Before you get cooking, a quick note on zucchini noodles. They become mushy and release a ton of water when they’re overcooked, so you want to avoid that sad fate at all costs. Be prepared for things to move quickly, and remember that the noodles will continue cooking in your bowl (thanks to the heat from the sauce). You need to get them out of the pan when they’re just tender, which only takes about 2 minutes, max. Personally, I like to keep a big mixing bowl next to the stove. As soon as the noodles are al dente, I transfer them to the bowl, which gives me time to plate a little more leisurely without the zucchini turning to mush. (Attempting to divide long-ass noodles among four bowls with a heavy skillet in hand? Hot mess.)

Zucchini noodles twisted around a fork with portobello bologneseAnd now, GIVEAWAY time!! Because I love you, and I want you to enjoy spiralized deliciousness, I’m regifting my brand new Paderno 4-Blade Spiralizer to one of you glorious humans! (Why should I have two spiralizers when so many peeps have none?) To enter, simply subscribe to Domesticate ME! (if you haven’t already) by entering your email address in the box at the top of this site’s sidebar, and leave a comment telling me either: A.) Something you’d like to spiralize (it can be a specific recipe or simply a fruit or vegetable you’d like to turn into noodles), OR B.) Your favorite book. (I need something new to read…)

The giveaway will close on Sunday, February 28 at 11:59pm EST. A winner will be chosen at random and announced in next Tuesday’s blog post. Godspeed. The giveaway is now CLOSED.

Zucchini Noodles with Portobello Bolognese: (Serves 4)

Plated zucchini noodles with portobello bolognese and wineIngredients:
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
6 portobello mushroom caps, stems and gills removed, and finely chopped
½ cup minced carrot
½ cup minced celery
½ cup minced yellow onion
3 large cloves garlic, minced
Kosher salt
Fresh ground pepper
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes (I strongly recommend San Marzano)
2 teaspoons dried oregano
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper (optional)
½ cup fresh basil leaves, finely chopped (plus extra for serving)
4 medium zucchini

Preparing your Zucchini Noodles with Portobello Bolognese:

-Okay, just in case you’ve never handled a Portobello before, I thought I’d talk you through the prep. First, make sure you wash the caps really well. Pop off their stems, and then use a spoon to scrape off the dark “gills” on the undersides of the caps. Once they’re nice and clean, finely chop the shrooms. Boom, done.

Portobello mushroom caps with the gills removed.-Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a medium sauté pan over medium heat. When hot, add the mushrooms, carrots, celery, onion, and garlic. Add a good pinch of kosher salt and a little fresh ground pepper. (It will seem like a lot of mushrooms, but don’t worry—they cook down a lot.)

Vegetables in a saute pan for portobello bolognese sauce.-Cook for 8-10 minutes until the vegetables are soft and the mushrooms have released all of their liquid.

Sauteed vegetables for portobello bolognese sauce.-Stir in the tomato paste and cook for 2 more minutes (to cook off the bitterness in the paste). Then stir in the crushed tomatoes, oregano, crushed red pepper (if using), and basil. Simmer gently for 15 minutes until the sauce has thickened and the flavors have combined. Taste and season with a little extra salt if necessary.

Finished portobello bolognese sauce in the pot.-While the sauce is simmering, spiralize your zucchini with the blade that makes spaghetti-size strands. (The noodles will be verrrrrry long, so I like to trim them into shorter strands with kitchen scissors.)

Bowl of raw spiralized zucchini noodles.-Heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil in your largest skillet or sauté pan. When its good and hot add the zucchini noodles. Season with salt and pepper and cook, tossing regularly with tongs for 2 minutes until just tender. Immediately remove the zucchini noodles from the pan. (You need to get these out of the pan quickly, peeps. Overcooking them will make them watery and gross.)

Uncooked zucchini noodles in the pan.-Divide the zucchini noodles among 4 bowls and top with a generous amount of Bolognese. Garnish with freshly chopped basil and serve immediately. Feel free to get some grated Parmesan involved if you like.Finished portobello mushroom sauce on top of zucchini noodles.

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  1. RM on July 8, 2020 at 5:44 am

    I’ve been eating portobellos for many years and have never scraped the gills off. That seems unnecessary?

    • Serena Wolf on July 8, 2020 at 6:04 am

      Just a personal choice, and you can absolutely skip it! I find that the gills often dye certain dishes a brown color and if not washed correctly can add a little grit/too much “earthy flavor.”

  2. Zoë DeVito on May 9, 2016 at 7:37 pm

    I have always loved zuchinni noodles but never thought to top them with a vegan bolognese. AMAZING idea! I featured this recipe in my recent post “30 Portobello Mushroom Recipes in 30 Minutes or Less”! http://vegan.supply/30-portobello-mushroom-recipes-in-30-mins-or-less/ Thank you!

  3. Inspiralized on March 3, 2016 at 10:31 am

    Hilarious, love this!

  4. Kaja on March 1, 2016 at 5:00 pm

    wow, i love this recipe! full of vegetables and so colorful.. 😉 i have to buy spiralizer, immediately!

  5. Amy Z. on February 28, 2016 at 5:00 pm

    I’d love to spiralize carrots and onions. The zucchini noodles look delicious too!

  6. Leslie on February 27, 2016 at 11:52 am

    I definitely recommend Devil in the White City by Eric Larson. Macabre, fascinating and informative, all at once!

  7. Lesha on February 26, 2016 at 6:02 pm

    I’m a subscriber ([email protected]). I’d spiralize a zucchini. – HilLesha

  8. Chrystal on February 25, 2016 at 6:48 pm

    Hi Serena! Recommending brotherhood in Death by J.D. Robb. Paperback or Kindle–take your pick. Also I have an 11 year old daughter named Rileigh (ri-lee)that loves your recipes she even made the Le Croque Madames with me and they came out on point! Although, I don’t let her read all of your blogs the whole way through (for obvious reasons, LOL) I enjoy your well-timed and perfectly unexpected profanity as much as the next foodie fanatic. Never stop blogging! I would die! My daughter says you should pick her to give the spiralizer to because she loves “Zoodles” and she’s going to be a “famous chef like (you) one day.” She eats my food everyday, what am I, chopped liver??

    • Serena_Wolf on March 8, 2016 at 4:38 pm

      Chrystal–YOU WON!!! I’m so sorry, I actually thought I posted this comment last week, and then realized when I didn’t hear from you that it hadn’t gone through! (Sorry.) When you have a minute would you mind sending me an email at [email protected] with your full name and mailing address? I need to get this spiralizer to you and Rileigh!! xox

      • Chrystal on March 9, 2016 at 12:35 am

        Sent! 🙂

        We thank you!!!!

  9. Ashley on February 25, 2016 at 12:26 pm

    I have never spiralized anything before and I purchased a spiralizer for my sister and Christmas and was a bit puzzled. So I am looking forward to spiralizing ANYTHING!
    One of my favorite go-to all time favorite books… Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. Classic in my eyes.

  10. Lynne T. on February 25, 2016 at 8:50 am

    If you are looking for a great book to read, I highly recommend Night Road by Kristen Hannah. I read it in one week.

  11. Marina D on February 24, 2016 at 3:56 pm

    Other than zucchini, I would love to spiralize sweet potato to make sweet potato noodles! 🙂

  12. Elizabeth Hillcrest on February 24, 2016 at 3:30 pm

    Your post is so timely — I have been dreaming of zucchini noodles lately. I’m all about julienned beets and carrots in my salad, but they’re hard to do with my mandoline. Perhaps a spiralizer will work better?

    Book recommendation: http://www.twodollarsaday.com/, which is “a revelatory account of poverty in America so deep that we, as a country, don’t think it exists.” A fast and engaging (if sobering!) read that will give you a little food for thought as “silly season” a/k/a the election ramps up.

    ETA I’m such a fangirl, girl. Keep posting, publishing, etc. I eat it right up!

  13. Alex Orlov on February 24, 2016 at 1:56 pm

    YES. I have a hand spiralizer but it can’t handle the big bad sweet potatoes I want to try spiralizing.

    Book rec– This is my current subway read (http://www.amazon.com/Americanah-Chimamanda-Ngozi-Adichie/dp/0307455920) and it’s very solid. Part romance, part discussion of racism in America, part coming of age-ish… Haven’t finished yet so don’t blame me if you hate it! 🙂

  14. hlapla1 on February 24, 2016 at 1:55 pm

    I want to spiralize sweet potato. I’ve got one of those hand-held spiralizers and the potato is an effing forearm workout.

  15. tuchler814 on February 24, 2016 at 12:04 pm

    The Martian is worth a read. Better (i.e. nerdier) than the movie.

  16. Taylor Ann Marie Cochrane on February 24, 2016 at 11:53 am

    I would spiralize every vegetable that I could. I’m low-carbing it to help some major blood sugar issues going on with me. I feel pretty good. A spiralizer would help my sad-pasta-less existence.

    Read The Last Unicorn by Peter Beagle. You know… if you’re into unicorns… and magic.

  17. Kristen on February 24, 2016 at 11:25 am

    I just finished Queen of the Night and it was great.

  18. Dixya Bhattarai RD on February 24, 2016 at 11:22 am

    i have been wanting a spiralizer for such a long time…i could totally see myself making this.

  19. Mimi on February 24, 2016 at 11:09 am

    Fabulous! Love your sauce. My daughter has begun using the spiralizer I gave her two years ago, and loves it. And she hates zucchini!

  20. Erin Ellis on February 24, 2016 at 10:41 am

    I subscribe to your email list. I would love to spiralize zucchini because my kids love it, and so do I. My favorite book is She’s Come Undone. Thank you for the wonderful giveaway.


    ErinLoves2Run at gmail dot com

  21. Steph on February 24, 2016 at 9:17 am

    Philipa Gregory books!

  22. chelsea on February 23, 2016 at 5:18 pm

    Books! Try “Prodigal Summer” (sex+nature+badass ladies) or “The Rosie Project” (funny geeks + badass lady)

  23. Shug on February 23, 2016 at 1:37 pm

    Zucchini or squash noodles with lemon pepper chicken!

    I just finished All the Light We Cannot See – definitely worth the read

  24. Kay Battista on February 23, 2016 at 1:33 pm

    oh my goodness, I would love to spiralize sweet potato!!

  25. Angela C on February 23, 2016 at 1:26 pm

    Beets and carrots make for a beautiful spiralized combination!

  26. Delaney Gordon on February 23, 2016 at 12:39 pm

    This looks awesome! I’ve been wanting to try spiralizing for a while, but don’t have the kitchen tools to accomplish it. I’d probably start with making some bomb zucchini noodles, and this recipe looks great!

    Also, I’d 100% recommend The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon. It’s a pretty fantastic read!

  27. grace on February 23, 2016 at 12:37 pm

    can you spiralize apples? i’d like to make a spiralized apple crisp of some sort. 🙂

    • RM on July 8, 2020 at 5:44 am

      They make apple corer/peeler/slicer gadget, it actually spiralizes-ish, but not so thin that your crisp would be mushy. Like 1/4 in spirals. I use them for apple pie, sauce, sooo much faster than doing it all by hand!

  28. Julie on February 23, 2016 at 12:33 pm

    BOMB. I’d love to win this!! I’d start by making this recipe!

  29. Sarah on February 23, 2016 at 5:18 pm

    I don’t have anything creative to spiralize other than the usual suspects but I have been wanting one for quite some time! However, I have been attempting to avoid adding anything else to my large gadget stash in my tiny kitchen. The only gift the hubs wanted for Christmas was a citrus juicer so I had to re-arrange our entire kitchen just to find a space for one more thing-which has made him a very happy man!

    Fun fact: did you know they call it “courgetti” in the UK? Sounds much better than Zoodles!

  30. Brooke Schwartz on February 23, 2016 at 5:16 pm

    At the risk of sounding completely unimaginative, I would like to spiralize this recipe ^^^. I have the desire to jump on the spiralizing bandwagon and your delicious recipe sounds right up my ally!
    As for books, have you read any by JoJo Moyes? Everything before “After You” is amazing. Particularly, “Me Before You” and “The Last Letter from Your Lover.” I must echo Kelli Walker’s comment and highly recommend the Outlander series. There are 9 books so far and each sit at about 1000 pages. They are a COMMITMENT. That being said, I’ve read the whole series start to finish about 8 times and skimmed them at least 3 more than that. They are my comfort books. Happy reading!

  31. GF on February 23, 2016 at 5:14 pm

    Serena! I would love this spiralizer. I already am a subscriber (been with ya for awhile now!) As for the other parts of entry:
    1) I would LOVE to spiralize zucchini and make zoodles!
    2) Last time, I recommended “Station Eleven,” to you, so I’ll change it up and recommend “Reconstructing Amelia.” I’m bad at picking favorites, but it’s definitely up there!

  32. Kelli Walker on February 23, 2016 at 4:20 pm

    Number 1: I LOVE the word zoodles. I feel like there was a Disney movie or childhood cartoon where the word zoodles was used………..but I can’t remember. It was definitely in a song and was not used to describe zucchini noodles. Off topic sorry.
    Number 2: I want to spiralize the shit out of this recipe.
    Number 3:Mad props for this book challenge. I’m reading through looking at everyone’s suggestions. Girl, you need to read Outlander. I know I know its long, it involves time travel….but then….it stops being all sci fi and it gets GOOD. Like I read that 800 page book in a week and it took me 2 weeks to finish Mindy Kaling’s 150 page book, and I LOVE Mindy Kaling. This book is just THAT good. So read it, and then go watch the Outlander TV series on Starz and drool over the hunky guy they got to play Jamie. You will NOT regret this decision.

  33. Lou on February 23, 2016 at 2:47 pm

    ive only ever spiralized zukes! so I want to try everything people have listed below… including spaghetti squash and sweet potatoes. YUM-O

  34. Gracie on February 23, 2016 at 2:26 pm

    Sweet potatoes!! As far as books, Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple or Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

  35. Becky Young on February 23, 2016 at 2:19 pm

    Hi Serena,

    I love making Spaghetti squash with alfredo sauce. One day I started adding sauteed green peppers, red onion and zucchini to it as well and it was AWESOME. I dig this combo. So as a first meal with a spiralizer, instead of spaghetti squash as my base I would make zucchini noodles, with garlic alfredo sauce, peppercorn steak slices, and the sauteed onion and peppers. Mmmmm

    By the way, you asked me once if a book I was reading was any good. It was a book on Anxiety. Not a leisure read, but I’ve been meaning to write you back because you asked if Dale Carnegie had pearls of wisdom you might want to check out. I say yes. It was originally written in the 40’s or 50’s so the language and example stories alone are fascinating. I do think it’s a good book. I often return to it when I need a refresher. Like many things,not everything in it will appeal, so you have to find within its pages what speaks to you.
    How-Stop-Worrying-Start-Living, By Dale Carnegie.

    By the way, I’m in Canada. Not sure this contest is open to Canuck Neighbors…..eh? (LOL)

    Anyway, I mostly wanted to share that book. 🙂


  36. KP on February 23, 2016 at 2:17 pm

    Girl, I want to spiralize some sweet potatoes for real.

    Bonus, I really liked Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty and I’ve been wanting to read Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff and also Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll.

  37. Emily Fender on February 23, 2016 at 1:49 pm

    Read Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed- its the most amazing beautiful thing I have ever read and you will love it!

  38. Teresa D on February 23, 2016 at 1:47 pm

    My coworker and I are newly obsessed with spiralizing. I won the veggetti in my family’s gift exchange and while fun and awkward to incorporate into conversations at work, it just doesn’t do the job on larger veggies and also requires manual strength…

    Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

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