Mexitalian Marinara Sauce + Zoodles 


Mexitalian Marinara Sauce with Zoodles


I came up with this recipe way back in 2008, living in Germany while the hubs was deployed. I don’t usually experiment with his food but when it’s just me (and the kids) I go nuts.

I was getting everything ready to prep and didn’t have fresh parsley or basil but I had cilantro and thought about how similar spaghetti and chili are in the beginning of a recipe. I started it the way I cook chili but finished it the way I cook spaghetti.

This will make your house smell amazing and your family won’t know whether they’ll be eating spaghetti, tacos, or chili.


Mexitalian Marinara Sauce & Zoodles 


  • 1-1.25lbs Ground Beef
  • 1 medium Onion, chopped
  • 3 Cloves or 1 Tbsp Garlic, minced
  • Olive Oil (just a little drizzle for the onions)
  • 1-2 cups Mushrooms, sliced or chopped
  • Balsamic Vinegar, just a splash
  • 2 Cans Tomato Sauce
  • 1/2 small can Tomato Paste
  • Optional – Black olives, chopped (I only need 1/2 small can of chopped black olives)
  • Optional, small can Diced Green Chiles OR fresh green peppers
  • 2 tsp + Cumin, depending on your love of cumin
  • 2 tsp Chili Powder
  • 1 tsp Oregano
  • 1/2 tsp dried Rosemary or 1 tsp Fresh, chopped
  • 2 tsp White Pepper or Black is OK too
  • Sea Salt, to taste
  • 1.5 tsp sugar or 2-3 small rough cut cubes
  • Fresh Parsley OR Cilantro, chopped
  • Optional- Parmesan/Romano
  • Zucchini, Spiralized into ribbon noodles (or any thick setting) – about 1 med zucchini per serving


  1. Over med-high heat, heat a bit of oil on a deep pan, dutch oven, or slow cooker.
  2. Sauté onions + garlic for 1 min, stirring while they brown.
  3. Add oregano + rosemary, continue browning for about 1 min.
  4. Add mushrooms, stirring and browning for about 1-2 more min – cover in between stirring.
  5. Scoot all the veggies to the sides of the pan and add the beef.  Season the raw meat, with 1/2 the chili powder, cumin, pepper and a heavy pinch of salt – break it up as it browns.
  6. Once beef if browned and broken up the way you like, sprinkle in the remaining chili powder, cumin, and pepper. Stir in balsamic vinegar, cook it into the beef along with the spices for a min.
  7. Add green chiles (or peppers), pour in the tomato sauce and paste – stir thoroughly to ensure the paste is mixed in evenly.
  8. Drop in the sugar, give a quick stir, cover. Turn the heat to a gentle simmer for 1-3 hours, stirring occasionally (longer is better as with most tomato-stew type recipes) or if using a slow cooker:
    1. 3-4 hrs on high heat
    2. 6-8 hrs on low heat
  9. When you serve over the Zoodles, top with fresh parsley or cilantro and (optional) cheese.


The Zoodles take no time at all so I recommend making them right as you are serving each person.

  1. Boil a small pot of lightly salted water.
  2. Drop in enough Zoodles for one serving.
  3. Boil 1 min, just barely they hold their shape and color.
  4. Using tongs (silicone tipped are best) pull out of boiling pot + serve immediately.
  5. Keep pot boiling + repeat.

Cooking the Zoodles this way ensures they stay hot and fresh for each person, you can absolutely cook them all at once if need be.


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