Pumpkin Bolognese Sauce for a Flat-Belly Diet

You'd never guess that this beef Bolognese sauce is filled with pumpkin, which is rather flavorless but adds lots of body to dishes. Serve this over a bed of whole-grain pasta or spaghetti squash.

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 15–20 minutes

Yield: 6 servings

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 large Vidalia onion, diced

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 cup diced mushrooms

1 cup matchstick carrots

2 stalks celery with leaves, thinly sliced

16 ounces 95 percent lean ground sirloin beef

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon oregano

3 sprigs thyme, de-stemmed

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1 cup canned pumpkin

28 ounces canned crushed tomatoes

  1. In a Dutch oven or large pot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Sauté the onion, garlic, mushrooms, carrots, and celery until tender.

  2. Add the ground beef, and cook until no longer pink.

  3. Stir in the cinnamon, oregano, and thyme until combined.

  4. Mix in the vinegar, pumpkin, and crushed tomatoes, and bring to a boil. Then reduce to a simmer until ready to eat.

Pumpkin is low in calories and an excellent source of vitamin A, which promotes good vision and healthy skin. It may also help to protect skin from sun damage and promote brain health. One cup of cooked, mashed pumpkin contains nearly 250 percent of your recommended dietary allowance for vitamin A, all for only 49 calories!

Per serving: Calories 241 (From Fat 96); Fat 11g (Saturated 3g); Cholesterol 45mg; Sodium 510mg; Carbohydrate 21g (Dietary Fiber 5g); Protein 17g.

Tip: This dish makes a yummy make-ahead meal for your hectic workweek. Whip up a batch of this sauce on the weekend, and serve it as an easy weeknight or to-go lunch.

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