Spaghetti Bolognese is an Italian favorite. Here’s a light version that’s quick, easy and won’t break the calorie bank.

Using ground chicken gives a new flavor twist and lightens the dish. The secret to the rich flavor is to thinly slice the onions, celery and carrots, and cook them until they are sweet.

Another hint is to add orange zest to the sauce. This adds a little sweetness and an intriguing flavor.

A simple Italian salad completes the meal.


If you have a food processor, use the slicing blade to slice the vegetables.

If pressed for time, serve a washed, ready-to-eat salad instead of the Italian Salad dish.

Shopping list:

To buy: 1 bunch celery, 1 package carrots, ¾ pound ground chicken breast, 1 bottle dry white wine, 1 bottle olive oil spray, 1 bottle reduced-sodium marinara sauce, 1 orange, 1 package spinach or vegetable flavored spaghetti, 1 bottle reduced-fat Italian dressing, 1 container pitted green or black olives, 1 bunch parsley (optional garnish), 1 head romaine lettuce, 1 small head radicchio lettuce and 1 container cherry tomatoes.

Staples: onion, garlic, salt and black peppercorns.


Place water on to boil.

Start Bolognese Sauce.

Boil spaghetti.

Assemble the salad.


Olive oil spray

1 cup thinly sliced onion

½ cup thinly sliced celery

½ cup thinly sliced carrot

4 medium cloves garlic, crushed

¾ pound ground chicken breast

¼ cup dry white wine

2 cups reduced-sodium marinara sauce

Orange zest from 1 orange (about 2 teaspoons)

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

¼ pound spinach or vegetable flavored spaghetti

2 tablespoons chopped parsley (optional garnish)

Place a large pot with 3 to 4 quarts water on to boil for pasta. Heat a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat and spray with olive oil spray. Add onion, celery and carrot. Sauté 5 minutes, without browning. Add garlic and ground chicken, crumbling the ground chicken with the edge of a spoon.

Keep turning the chicken and cutting it with the spoon edge until it is broken into small pieces. Sauté 2 minutes. Add white wine and cook until all of the liquid is absorbed, about 1 minute.

Add the marinara sauce and orange zest and gently simmer, uncovered, 10 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Meanwhile, add spaghetti to boiling water and cook 9 minutes or according to package instructions. Drain and serve sauce over pasta. Sprinkle with chopped parsley if using.

Makes 2 servings.

Per serving: 636 calories (16.3 percent from fat), 11.5 g fat (1.8 g saturated, 3.6 g monounsaturated), 131 mg cholesterol, 50.9 g protein, 75.6 g carbohydrates, 8.9 g fiber, 205 mg sodium.


2 cups romaine lettuce, cut into bite-size pieces

2 cups radicchio lettuce, cut into bite-size pieces

½ cup pitted green or black olives

1 cup cherry tomatoes

2 tablespoons reduced-fat Italian dressing

Add the ingredients to a salad bowl and toss with the dressing.

Makes 2 servings.

Per serving: 63 calories (46.8 percent from fat), 3.3 g fat (0.4 g saturated, 1.8 g monounsaturated), 1 mg cholesterol, 2.2 g protein, 8.4 g carbohydrates, 3.5 g fiber, 145 mg sodium.

Gassenheimer is an author of more than 30 cookbooks including her newest, "The 12-Week Diabetes Cookbook." She writes about food for Tribune News Service and may be contacted at