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Cutting Calories for the 5:2 Diet – Spaghetti Bolognese:
I’m back in the UK after a couple of trips abroad and on the 5:2 diet trying to lose some of the weight I’ve gained and to continue to lose a bit more. For me, restarting a diet is the hardest time, so I try my best to cook something really tasty where I won’t feel I am being deprived. I’m really pleased with this recipe for a low-calorie spaghetti bolognese. I’ve tried using vegetable noodles in the form of courgette (zucchini) alone in the past and found the result lacked enough bite for a meal sauce (though I love eating courgetti with a homemade fresh tomato sauce).
So this time, I’ve mixed up the spiralised noodles a bit with 50% carrot and 50% courgette and the result is great. The calories in the bolognese sauce are reduced by using extra low-fat mince and by increasing the quantity of vegetables – particularly mushrooms. I haven’t compromised on the olive oil or the red wine that I use in my normal recipe – and the end result is super tasty but with half the calories!
An ultra-low calorie recipe for spaghetti bolognese with delicious spaghetti made from courgettes and carrots
- 2 tsb olive oil
- 300 g low fat beef mince I used 1% fat mince
- 300 g mushrooms finely diced
- 1 medium onion finely diced
- 1 medium carrot finely diced
- 1 stick celery finely diced
- 500 ml red wine
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 tsb oregano
- 1 can chopped tomatoes
- 1/2 medium courgette
- 1/2 medium carrot
- 1/2 tsb olive oil or use 1 cal olive oil spray
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
Brown the mince in the olive oil and set aside, retaining the meat juice and oil in the pan
add the finely diced onion and crushed garlic. Sweat over a moderate heat for 2-3 minutes, then add the diced carrot and celery. Continue to cook for 2-3 more minutes.
Add the mince and the diced mushrooms into the pan and sprinkle over the oregano. Stir well then pour over the red wine and the chopped tomatoes. Season well with salt and pepper
Bring the mixture to a gentle simmer, cover and cook for at least 60 minutes till the sauce thickens and reduces. Stir occasionally and add more water if it starts to stick. Adjust the seasoning as necessary.
This makes enough for 6 portions of sauce, so once it is cooked, I usually freeze what I don't want to use immediately before finishing the dish with the vegetable noodles
To make the noodles, spiralise half a courgette and carrot per person. I use a fairly 'thick' setting as otherwise the noodles tend to collapse too much as they cook
Take a deep frying pan or wok and add just enough oil to stop the noodles sticking. Heat to a moderate temperature and cook, stirring constantly, till the courgette starts to go translucent. Season with a little salt and pepper
Serve the noodles piled up with sauce on top and freshly grated parmesan
I’ve worked out the calories per portion of sauce and it comes to a very respectable 212 calories per portion. If you choose to eat this with the vegetable spaghetti you’ll be adding around 50 calories a portion compared with 160 or so for normal pasta. So, your entire meal can be less than 300 calories – even if you add a little parmesan!
What I like best about this dish is that it doesn’t feel as if it is diet food. It’s just good, soul food that is perfect for a chilly autumn evening. And if you are feeding kids or adults who are not dieting, you can always serve their portion with traditional pasta instead of the veggie noodles
Like the idea of this recipe? why not pin it for later!