Looking for a healthier twist on a classic? Then this quick and tasty tuna spaghetti bolognese is a nutritious and tasty alternative. Full of flavour, simple to make and using only basic ingredients, this blood sugar-friendly pasta dish makes a great mid-week meal in 30 minutes.
With its nod to a firm family favourite, this tuna spaghetti bolognese is a delicious twist on the classic Italian pasta dish. Inspired by my favourite pizza toppings, this recipe replaces traditional beef or pork with canned tuna, resulting in a lighter and healthier alternative that is just as tasty.
This recipe has also had a few other tweaks made to it so that it is gluten-free and switches out the refined white spaghetti for a more diabetic-friendly wholegrain pasta which is mixed with zoodles (courgette or zucchini noodles). This can help blood sugar control so that levels can rise and fall at a slower rate.
In this article, we will explore the nutritional benefits of tuna spaghetti bolognese, and provide a step-by-step guide on how to prepare this mouth-watering meal at home. So if you’re looking for a quick, nutritious and easy weeknight dinner, this tuna spaghetti bolognese is sure to become the next family favourite!
The nutritional benefits of tuna spaghetti bolognese
Tuna spaghetti bolognese is a delicious and easy-to-make dish that combines the classic flavours of bolognese sauce (and a few additions) with tender chunks of tuna. It’s a perfect way to get extra nutrition while enjoying a satisfying meal.
But here are some other great nutritional benefits to this tuna bolognese recipe:
High in Protein – Tinned tuna is an excellent source of protein, which is essential for building and repairing muscles and bones. A single serving of tuna spaghetti bolognese can provide up to 30 grams of protein.
Rich in Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Tuna is also high in omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown to improve heart health, reduce inflammation, and support brain function.
The tomato sauce used in this dish contains that has been linked to a lower risk of cardiovascular disease.
Provides Essential Vitamins and Minerals – Tuna spaghetti bolognese contains lots of essential vitamins, minerals and antioxidants like vitamins B, C, K, folate, iron, selenium and zinc. Along with lycopene, a powerful antioxidant from the tomatoes
Ingredients to make tuna spaghetti bolognese
The tuna sauce includes all the ingredients I love on a pizza to make a healthy and nutritious dish full of flavour. The salty, briny taste of the tuna and olives, against the vinegary zing of the capers, compliment the naturally sweet tomato sauce.
For the Tuna Bolognese Sauce you will need:
- Bring an essential flavour and gentle sweetness
- Frozen chopped onions work brilliantly in this sauce as well
- You can’t have a tomato sauce without this core flavour
- Again I sometimes use frozen in this recipe
- They are a brilliant source of the antioxidant lycopene, which has been linked to many health benefits. And when heated they release even more antioxidants
- Also a great source of vitamin C and K
- Inexpensive and protein-packed
- I prefer to buy tinned tuna in springwater
- These are unripened, green flower buds of the caper bush
- Usually pickled in vinegar which gives them a zingy flavour that goes so well with fish
- Preserved in salt or brine these small fruits add another mild salty dimension to the sauce
- I like to buy them already sliced for this sauce
For the spaghetti:
This recipe uses gluten-free pasta made from brown rice. But pasta made from lentils and peas is also another great option. I use these types of pasta over refined white pasta as we have found that it is much kinder on blood sugar levels as they have:
- had less of an impact on levels
- reduced insulin requirements for these meals
- and therefore reduced the error rate
To find out more about other changes we have made to help us better manage type 1 diabetes then check out my article all about Our Diabetes Toolkit
If aren’t gluten-free then try to use wholewheat pasta instead. As the fibre content is so much higher and will slow the release of glucose into the body.
- Spiralised courgettes help to add some extra veg into the dish and taste great
- They are a great source of potassium and vitamin C
- You can add them raw or lightly warmed through in a frying pan
How to make tuna spaghetti bolognese
A quick and simple recipe perfect for a midweek dinner
Start by sweating the chopped onion in a good glug of olive oil on a low heat for around 5 minutes. Then add the garlic and cook for a further 2 minutes.
Next, pour in the tinned tomatoes along with the olives and capers with a little of the vinegar and stir well. Now add the tinned tuna and gently stir trying not to break up the chunks too much. When the sauce comes to boiling pop the lid on and turn down the heat so it can simmer for 10-15 minutes.
While the tuna bolognese sauce is cooking add your pasta to a pan of boiling water and cook as per the packet instructions. For brown rice pasta, this should only take 10 minutes. Reserve a little pasta water when you drain the cooked spaghetti.
2-3 minutes before your pasta is cooked, gently heat through your spiralised courgettes in a frying pan, turning occasionally.
Step 4 – Bringing it all together
Weigh your drained cooked pasta into your dishes for carb counting. Then add the courgette. spoon in a little reserved pasta water and mix the spaghetti and courgette together.
Now add the tuna bolognese sauce on top and serve with some extra greens and a little grated hard Italian cheese.
A completely carb-count-free sauce. So all you need to count for is the serving of cooked spaghetti.
One extra note is that we have also found that we have to use a different carb ratio for this pasta as my daughter doesn’t seem to need as much insulin as she would for a wholegrain or white pasta!