I will be honest, I don’t have a ton of experience with vegan cooking. However, every time that I have ever made a vegan recipe, I have loved it. Vegan Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese – AMAZING! Black Bean Brownies – so good! Cooking vegan requires a little additional thought and creativity. When I am normally cooking, if something doesn’t taste quite right there are so many non-vegan easy solutions. Add butter. If you need a quick protein, add chicken. Cooking with vegan ingredients, like anything else, is learning process! If you aren’t accustomed, it can be a challenge! But there is so much to learn, and so many yummy vegan recipes out there to enjoy! So let’s explore together – starting with this fantastic Vegan Bolognese.
A new vegetarian restaurant opened up in Columbus called Comune. We were invited to go for a friend’s birthday and I was SUPER excited, but also super nervous… for Jake. As you may know, he can be a bit of a picky eater. He is definitely willing to try new things! He just prefers things that are more simple.
Nonetheless, we were going to this restaurant and so I previewed the menu ahead of time. IMMEDIATELY, I noticed a vegan bolognese on the menu – heck yes. I’ve only had a few vegan bolognese recipes but they have all been delicious. What’s cool about them is they all use different sorts of ingredients that act as a sort of “meat substitute.” No – I don’t think any of them taste like meat! But they are totally satisfying and delicious. The vegan bolognese at Comune was no different. It was not tomato-based bolognese like most of the recipes that I have had but it was equally if not more delicious. Crunchy walnuts, maitake mushrooms, yummy greens, smoked almonds, and even butternut squash – all set atop a bowl of fresh homemade papparadelle. I MEAN YUM! Needless to say, I really liked it.
So, I decided that I wanted to try and make my very own vegan bolognese.
This recipe tomato-based because it seemed a little less daunting than attempting to match Comune’s delicious creation. I used baby bella mushrooms and raw walnuts for added texture
It is amazing how much WONDERFUL texture you can get from JUST the mushrooms and walnuts! No, they don’t take like meat – but the make the sauce so hearty and delicious. There are of course LOTS of onions because yum. Garlic, duh. And a few of my favorite seasonings (i.e. oregano, cumin, cayenne pepper, and red pepper flakes). I used a little white wine vinegar to thin out the tomato sauce, and make it taste a little bit less like straight up canned tomato sauce. And lastly, a little brown sugar! Because it tasted like something was missing!
I enjoyed mine over chickpea pasta but this bolognese would really taste delicious over any type of veggie noodles, traditional pasta, whole wheat pasta, rice pasta, actual rice – whatever your heart desires. Top with some fresh herbs for garnish and voila! Look at you! Vegan bolognese – check! Hope you love it as much as I do!
Meat equals hearty, but hearty does not have to equal meat! This delicious Mushroom & Walnut Vegan Bolognese proves just that! Enjoy over any type of pasta!
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion chopped
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 8 ounces baby bella mushrooms chopped
- 1 cup walnuts chopped
- 1/4 tsp oregano
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1/4 tsp cumin
- 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 can tomato sauce
- 1/2 cup dry white wine any kind
- 1 tsp brown sugar optional
In a large saucepan, heat olive oil over low-medium heat until shimmering. Add chopped onion - cook, stirring occasionally for 4-5 minutes or until onions become translucent., Add garlic and cook for and additional 2-3 minutes.
Add mushrooms to pan, stir to combine. Partially cover and cook for 4-5 minutes, or until mushrooms have shrunken and expressed liquid.
Add walnuts and all seasonings (oregano, cayenne, cumin, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper). Stir to combine then partially cover and cook for another 4-5 minutes (walnuts should begin to soften).
Reduce heat and add tomato paste, stirring to combine. Cook for 2 minutes, then add tomato sauce and white wine. Simmer on low heat for 4-5 minutes or until sauce has thickened. Add brown sugar, if desired.
Serve hot over a bed of noodles, zoodles, voodles ("veggie noodles") or rice! Enjoy!
Storage: Refrigerate in an airtight container separate for 4-5 days (will keep best when stored alone/without noodles or rice).