Tastes Like a Cookathon, But…
It only takes 30 minutes to make.
And, oh my word. The amount of flavor packed in is truly a kitchen wonder. Loads of spices, a touch of cream, PANCETTA! (Yes, I know it’s unusual, but you have to trust me here). This saucy sauce works oh-so-well with all the noodles. Heck, it’s even great over veggies or meat.
Introducing my low carb bolognese. A MAJOR upgrade to your weeknight dinner routine. Hope you and your family are ready for a treat. ENJOY 🍝❤️!! – Linds x
Is This Spaghetti Meat Sauce Keto? Low Carb? Paleo? Gluten-Free?
- Keto + low carb – Yes, this delicious spaghetti meat sauce is totally low carb, as long as you serve it with a low carb pasta–see my recs below!
- Paleo – Skip the heavy cream, opt for organic/grass-fed meat, and this is a perfect paleo bolognese.
- Gluten-free- No gluten here, just be mindful of what you serve your pasta sauce over.
Ingredients for Spaghetti Meat Sauce:
Just a handful of classics–what makes this dish more flavor-packed than traditional keto spaghetti sauce is the addition of red wine, cream, and extra spices. Here’s what you’ll need to make this spaghetti meat sauce:
- The meat: You can use any sort of ground meat you prefer. If using lean meat such as turkey or chicken, add a tablespoon of oil to the pan before browning. I also add pancetta, which I know is not traditional–feel free to skip and add a tablespoon of olive oil to saute the onion instead.
- The wine: Great options are malbec, merlot, cabernet, pinot noir, and syrah.
- The cream: For a paleo or dairy free alternative you can use full fat coconut milk instead.
- The spices: We’ll use a combo of crushed red pepper flakes, Italian seasoning, rosemary, nutmeg, salt, and black pepper.
How to Make Keto Bolognese
1. Saute pancetta. Once cooked through, remove to a paper towel-lined plate.
2. Add the onion and cook in pancetta fat. Remove softened onion and set aside with pancetta.
3. Add beef, and break it into small pieces as it cooks.
4. Add garlic and seasoning. Saute until garlic becomes fragrant.
5. Add wine and scrape up brown bits.
6. Add pancetta and onion back to the pan along with tomato paste, sauce, salt, and pepper.
7. Cook uncovered as the sauce thickens. Add the cream and nutmeg and continue to simmer until it has thickened to your liking.
Keto Spaghetti Options
This keto bolognese is so flavor-packed, it doesn’t much matter what low carb spaghetti you use. My go-to is veggie noodles as they’re quick and easy. You can also use:
- Spiralized veggies such as zucchini or butternut squash noodles.
- Spaghetti squash – cut in half and roast cut side down on a baking sheet.
- Edamame noodles – higher in carbs, but my favorite noodle replacement.
- Sliced veggies, like eggplant (also makes great lasagna!), cabbage (another lasagna fave), or roasted zucchini, cauliflower, etc.
- Almond flour pasta or keto gnocchi – will take some extra work, but both are fun variations!
BTW, I don’t recommend using shirataki noodles–those work best as a rice noodle (vs. wheat noodle) replacement.
Top this keto bolognese as you would the traditional kind. Our must-have toppings are parmesan and fresh herbs like basil or parsley.
In addition to using different noodles (above), there are tons of ways to add your own spin to this dish. Here are some ideas for you:
- Change the meat. Any ground meat will do.
- Or go meatless! Consider using keto vegetables like cauli rice for cauliflower bolognese keto.
- Turn this into a casserole, sort of like zucchini lasagna or spaghetti squash casserole. Toss noodles in sauce, then place everything together in a baking dish and top with parmesan.
- Use this as a spaghetti meat sauce for other dishes like my zucchini ravioli or cauliflower baked ziti.
More Keto Pastas + Noodles
Keto BolognesePrint Recipe Pin Recipe
- 4 ounces pancetta (note 1)
- 1 cup yellow onion chopped
- 1 pound ground beef (note 2)
- 1 tablespoon garlic minced
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
- 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary minced
- 1 1/4 cups dry red wine (note 3)
- 1 28-ounce can crushed tomato
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 4 zucchinis spiralized (note 4)
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese grated
- fresh basil chopped
- Saute. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, cook pancetta (4 ounces) until crispy. Remove cooked pancetta to a paper towel lined plate with a slotted spoon, leaving the pancetta fat in the pan. Add the onion (1 cup) and cook until soft – about 7 minutes. Remove cooked onion to the pancetta plate.
- Meat. Add the beef (1 pound) and cook until no longer pink– breaking up with the back of your spoon as it cook. Add the garlic (1 tablespoon), crushed red pepper flakes (1/4 teaspoon), Italian seasoning (1 tablespoon) and rosemary (1 teaspoon) to the pan. Stir and saute until the garlic is fragrant, about 2 minutes.
- Simmer. Add the red wine (1 1/4 cups) and scrape up any brown bits that have accumulated on the bottom of the skillet. Add cooked pancetta, onion, crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, salt (2 teaspoons) and pepper (1/2 teaspoon), and stir to combine. Bring bolognese to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cook uncovered for 10 minutes.
- The noodles. If you like al dente noodles, don't cook the zucchini, just place it in bowls. If you like it a little softer, microwave on high for 1 minute– increasing by 30 second intervals until you achieve your desired texture. (note 5)
- Finishing touches. Add the nutmeg (1/4 teaspoon) and cream (1 cup) to the bolognese, stir, and continue to simmer for another 15-20 minutes. This will depend on the heat of your pan– you'll want to reduce the bolognese enough so the sauce can coat your noodles. Taste, and adjust to your liking (note 6). Divide the noodles into 4 bowls, and cover with bolognese. Sprinkle with parmesan, chopped basil (1/2 cup), and enjoy!
Fans Also Made These Low Carb Recipes:
- Pancetta – Ok, I know this isn’t traditional, but we love it. You can skip it, just add a tablespoon of olive oil to saute the onion instead. Or, sub in bacon sliced into 1/2″ pieces.
- Beef – you can use ground turkey instead. If so, add a tablespoon of olive oil to the pan first.
- Dry red wines include malbec, merlot, cabernet, pinot noir, and syrah.
- Zucchini noodles – looking for a zucchini noodle substitute? Try edamame noodles or spaghetti squash. Personally, I’m not a fan of shirataki noodles unless they’re cooked/sauteed.
- How much to cook the zoodles? This is totally up to you. Personally, I’m not a fan of al dente zucchini noodles, so I cook them for around 2 minutes. But there’s a fine line between cooked and soggy! Watch carefully, and be sure to stick to the 30-second intervals.
- Want more spice? Add additional crushed red pepper.