Satisfy Your Cravings with Keto Beef Ragu over Zucchini Noodles: A Healthy Recipe Guide

Keto Beef Ragu over Zucchini Noodles: A Hearty Italian Classic Goes Low-Carb

Imagine the rich, deep flavors of a traditional Italian beef ragu, tenderly cooked and bursting with taste. Now, envision it paired with the light, fresh strands of zucchini noodles, creating a perfect harmony of hearty and healthy. That’s exactly what you get with this Keto Beef Ragu over Zucchini Noodles recipe. It’s a dish that promises to satisfy your cravings for a classic pasta meal without compromising your ketogenic lifestyle.

Perfect for a cozy dinner or a special occasion, this low-carb pasta alternative is not just about indulging your taste buds but also about embracing a nutritious meal that fits right into your keto diet. With this recipe, you’ll learn how to create a keto-friendly version of beef ragu that maintains all the traditional flavors you love.

Keto Beef Ragu over Zucchini Noodles

The Origins and Keto-Friendly Nature of This Beef Ragu Recipe

Originating from the culinary traditions of Italy, a classic beef ragu is a staple that has warmed many homes with its comforting embrace. This Keto Beef Ragu over Zucchini Noodles recipe takes inspiration from that timeless dish, transforming it into a low-carb delight. The secret lies in the careful selection of ingredients that align with the ketogenic diet, focusing on high fat and low carbohydrate content.

At the heart of this dish is the beef chuck roast, a cut that’s not only flavorful but also rich in healthy fats, making it ideal for keto. The vegetables, such as onions, celery, and carrots, are used in moderation to impart depth without adding too many carbs. Crushed tomatoes and tomato paste provide the classic ragu base, while herbs like oregano and basil add layers of flavor. The optional red wine deepens the ragu’s complexity, but can be replaced with beef broth to cater to different preferences.

Replacing traditional pasta, zucchini noodles are the perfect low-carb substitute, offering a similar texture and a fresh taste that complements the robust ragu. This switch not only significantly reduces the carb content but also increases the nutritional value with additional vitamins and fiber.

Preparing Keto Beef Ragu

Mastering the Method: Tips for the Perfect Keto Beef Ragu

Creating the perfect Keto Beef Ragu over Zucchini Noodles is an art that involves patience and attention to detail. The key to a flavorful ragu is the searing of the beef. This crucial step locks in the juices and provides a foundation of taste that will carry through the entire dish. Make sure your pot is hot enough and give the beef chunks enough space to brown properly.

When it comes to the vegetables, sautéing them until they’re softened is essential. This process, known as “sweating,” helps to release their natural sugars, contributing to the overall richness of the sauce. As for the herbs, feel free to adjust the quantities to suit your taste, but remember that they’re potent – a little goes a long way.

The simmering stage is where the magic happens. Allowing the ragu to cook slowly and gently will enable the beef to become tender and the flavors to meld beautifully. If you’re using red wine, it’s an opportunity to deglaze the pot and incorporate any delicious browned bits into the sauce. For those opting out of wine, additional beef broth will still provide a savory depth.

When preparing the zucchini noodles, the goal is to achieve an al dente texture. Overcooking can lead to a mushy outcome, so keep a close eye on them and remove them from the heat as soon as they’re just tender.

Keto Beef Ragu Ready to Serve

Variation: Spicy Keto Beef Ragu

If you enjoy a bit of heat in your meals, consider adding a kick to your ragu with some red pepper flakes or diced chili peppers. Start with a small amount and adjust according to your spice tolerance. The heat will not only add another dimension to the dish but can also boost your metabolism – a win-win for keto dieters!

Variation: Creamy Keto Beef Ragu

For a richer, more indulgent version, stir in a splash of heavy cream towards the end of the cooking process. The cream will add a luxurious texture and a slight sweetness that balances the acidity of the tomatoes. Plus, it’s a great way to up the fat content for those looking to increase their fat intake on a keto diet.

Variation: Mushroom Keto Beef Ragu

Mushrooms are a fantastic low-carb addition that can extend the ragu while adding an earthy flavor. Sauté some sliced mushrooms and fold them into the ragu as it simmers. They’ll absorb the sauce’s flavors and contribute a meaty texture that complements the beef.

Substitutions for a Customized Keto Experience

While this recipe is designed to be keto-friendly, you may find yourself in need of substitutions due to preferences or availability. Here are some keto-approved swaps that you can make without compromising the low-carb integrity of the dish:

Beef Substitution: If beef chuck roast isn’t your cut of choice or if you’re looking for something leaner, you can opt for ground beef or even ground turkey. Keep in mind that leaner meats may require additional fats, like butter or extra olive oil, to maintain the keto ratio.

Vegetable Substitution: If you’re aiming for an even lower carb count, you can reduce the number of carrots and celery or replace them with other low-carb vegetables like bell peppers or mushrooms. This will still give you the texture and flavor without the extra carbs.

Alcohol-Free Substitution: For those who prefer not to cook with wine, you can substitute it with an equal amount of beef broth or even a splash of balsamic vinegar for a similar depth of flavor.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Can I make the beef ragu ahead of time?

A: Absolutely! The flavors of the ragu actually improve with time, making it a great make-ahead dish. Store it in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or freeze it for up to 3 months.

Q: How can I avoid watery zucchini noodles?

A: To prevent watery noodles, cook them briefly and avoid overcooking. You can also pat them dry with paper towels before sautéing to remove excess moisture.

Q: Is red wine keto-friendly?

A: In moderation, dry red wine can be included in a keto diet. However, for this recipe, it’s optional, and you can use beef broth instead.

Q: Can I use a slow cooker for the beef ragu?

A: Yes, after searing the beef and sautéing the vegetables, transfer everything to a slow cooker and cook on low for 6-8 hours.

Q: What other noodle alternatives can I use?

A: Besides zucchini noodles, you can use shirataki noodles or thinly sliced cabbage as keto-friendly alternatives.

Keto Beef Ragu over Zucchini Noodles

Savor the rich and hearty flavors of this Keto Beef Ragu served over spiralized zucchini noodles for a nutritious, low-carb twist on a classic Italian dish.
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Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 20 minutes
Course Dinner
Cuisine Italian
Servings 4 servings
Calories 450 kcal


  • Large pot or Dutch oven
  • Spiralizer
  • Large skillet
  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Cutting board and knife


For the Beef Ragu:

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1.5 pounds beef chuck roast, cut into chunks
  • ½ medium onion, finely chopped about 1/2 cup or 75 grams
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ cup celery, finely diced
  • ½ cup carrots, finely diced
  • 1 can crushed tomatoes 14.5 ounces or 411 grams
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • ½ cup red wine optional

For the Zucchini Noodles:

  • 4 medium zucchinis about 2 pounds or 908 grams
  • 1 tbsp olive oil


  • Heat the olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat.
  • Add the beef chunks to the pot and sear until browned on all sides, approximately 5-7 minutes. Remove the beef and set aside.
  • In the same pot, add the onion, garlic, celery, and carrots. Sauté until the vegetables are softened, about 5 minutes.
  • Stir in the crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, beef broth, oregano, basil, salt, and pepper. Bring the mixture to a simmer.
  • Return the beef to the pot and pour in the red wine if using. Stir to combine.
  • Reduce heat to low and let the ragu simmer, covered, for 1.5 to 2 hours, or until the beef is tender and the sauce has thickened.
  • Once cooked, use two forks to shred the beef in the pot. Adjust seasoning if needed.
  • While the ragu is simmering, spiralize the zucchinis using a spiralizer to create noodles.
  • Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
  • Sauté the zucchini noodles for 2-3 minutes, until just tender. Be careful not to overcook, as they will become watery.
  • Divide the zucchini noodles among plates.
  • Top with a generous portion of the beef ragu.
  • Serve immediately.


For a non-alcoholic version, substitute red wine with additional beef broth.
If a thicker sauce is desired, simmer the ragu uncovered during the last 30 minutes.
Leftover ragu can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 3 months.


Calories: 450kcalCarbohydrates: 12gProtein: 35gFat: 25gFiber: 4gNet Carbs: 8g
Keyword Keto Beef Ragu, Keto Dinner, Low Carb Pasta, Zucchini Noodles
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