Weight Watchers Spaghetti Bolognese is a lightened up version of the classic bolognese. It’s completely filling and delicious, and it’s perfect for those who are watching their calories.
What is Bolognese?
Bolognese sauce is a meat-based sauce originating from Bologna, Italy. It’s usually served with flat pasta shapes like lasagna, pappardelle or fettuccine. Bolognese sauce typically has chopped veggies such as carrot, onion and celery. Wine and milk are also common additions, as are fatty pork, tomatoes and tomato paste. It’s cooked low and slow to create a thick and rich meat sauce.
Outside of Italy, meat-based sauces are sometimes referred to as Bolognese. While Spaghetti Bolognese is not something typically seen in Italy, it’s a dish that is quite popular in other parts of the world. It seems that people have discovered that Bolognese can be enjoyed with thin spaghetti pasta too!
Weight Watchers Spaghetti Bolognese:
How is this recipe different from the original? To make this one Weight Watchers friendly, there is no fatty pork added in, and the recipe calls for using lean ground beef only. There are plenty of vegetables in this- carrot, onion, mushroom and tomatoes- so those add some bulk to the sauce. A little bit of skim milk is added in, but no wine. And whole wheat spaghetti is used in place of regular pasta. There is also a small amount of pasta used in the recipe.
If you’re following the program, Weight Watchers Spaghetti Bolognese will cost you 8 Freestyle SmartPoints per serving. Plan on a little bit of pasta with a good topping of sauce. It’s filling! I know 7 points in a high point meal, but you’re going to have a high point meal with any pasta dish.
How to make Weight Watchers Spaghetti Bolognese:
It sounds fancy, but it’s really very easy to make. The beef is cooked in a nonstick skillet, and then the garlic and onions are added in. Carrots and mushrooms are added in next and cooked some more. At this point, you’re going to add a can of diced tomatoes. If you want a more chunky sauce as you see pictured, just add the tomatoes. If you like a more saucy sauce, you can add a can of tomato puree instead (or give the diced tomatoes a whir in the blender before adding).
You’ll also add tomato paste, oregano and basil. This mixture is simmered for about 10 minutes. Then you’ll add milk and simmer some more until the sauce is thickened. If you want this sauce to be a little bit more like authentic bolognese sauce, you can add in 1 slice of chopped bacon when you cook the beef. And add 1/4 cup of white wine to the sauce when you add the milk. Keep in mind that this will up the WW Freestyle point count to 10. This recipe can also be made gluten-free by using gluten-free pasta in place of the whole wheat spaghetti.
You can eat this Weight Watchers Spaghetti Bolognese if you are not on Weight Watchers. It’s simply a lighter way to make this classic recipe. My whole family enjoys it– and they’re not following any sort of diet!
If you’re looking for more Weight Watchers friendly recipes, you might enjoy trying my Hoisin Pork Stir Fry or this Crispy Chicken Schnitzel. Sausage Stuffed Zucchini, Cheeseburger Soup and Sweet and Spicy Chicken Lettuce Wraps are good Weight Watchers dinner recipes too!
Weight Watchers Spaghetti Bolognese
- 12 ounces lean ground beef (95% lean)
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 2 medium garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 large carrot, chopped (no need to peel)
- 3 cups fresh mushrooms, chopped
- One 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- ½ teaspoon dried basil
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- ¼ cup skim milk
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 8 ounces whole wheat spaghetti, cooked according to package directions
- fresh basil, for garnish (optional)
- Heat a large, nonstick skillet over medium-heat. Spray with nonstick cooking spray and add beef; cook, stirring frequently until browned (5 minutes or so).
- Add the onion and garlic; cook, stirring occasionally, until softened (about 5 minutes). Stir in the carrot and cook about 2 minutes. Stir in the mushrooms, tomatoes, tomato paste, basil and oregano; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer, and continue to cook- covered- for 10 minutes. Add the milk and cook- uncovered- until the sauce is thickened, about 15 minutes. Add the salt and pepper, to taste.
- Divide the cooked spaghetti among 4 bowls and top with the sauce. Garnish with fresh basil, if using.
- *If you're preparing this recipe as GLUTEN FREE, use your favorite gluten free pasta in place of the whole wheat spaghetti.
- *I made this recipe as directed, but when I make it again I think I'm going to give the chopped tomatoes a whirl in my food processor before adding it to the pan. It's a little chunky as the recipe is written, and I think pureeing the tomatoes would give it more of a sauce consistency.
- *The sauce freezes perfectly. Divide it into into individual servings and de-frost when you have a busy night and don't feel like cooking!
- *I have a son who absolutely hates mushrooms. I used small portabello mushroom caps for this recipe and chopped them finely. They're a very "meaty" mushroom and they cooked up well with the meat in the recipe.