Vegan Meat Sauce

Vegan Cauliflower Walnut Bolognese by Pasta-based. Detailed view of a forkful of cauliflower walnut bolognese sauce/vegan meat sauce with farfalle pasta.

This recipe for chunky, cauliflower walnut meat sauce is one of those weeknight recipes we threw together that came out amazing on the first try. Inspired by a recipe we once made for cauliflower walnut taco meat. This is the Italian version of that. It’s meaty texture is enough to fool any vegan skeptic. It reminds me of the same meat sauce my mom made growing up, except there’s no meat involved.

Vegan Meat Sauce | Cauliflower Walnut Bolognese by Pasta-based.

The recipe calls for only a few ingredients. Cauliflower, walnuts, and marinara sauce are the stars here. A few additional spices bring the depth of flavor you’re looking for in a bolognese. We think this recipe would go well on many different pasta types but if you want to be particular, farfalle are the perfect kind.

Vegan Meat Sauce | Cauliflower Walnut Bolognese by Pasta-based. Cauliflower and walnut finely pulsed in a food processor and spread on a baking sheet ready to go into the oven.

Farfalle means “butterflies” in Italian, although a common name people call them are “bowties.” Choosing the right pasta to complement your sauce can sometimes make (or break) a dish. Farfalle are a good shape to catch the “meaty” bits. Another good contender would be rigatoni. Also, this recipe would go extremely well in a vegetable lasagna.

Vegan Meat Sauce | Cauliflower Walnut Bolognese by Pasta-based. A big scoop of cauliflower walnut bolognese poured on top of a bowl of pasta.

Already we’ve made this recipe a few times more. I know it will be on the list of rotating sauces for pasta night. It’s packed with flavor and has that good chunkiness like a traditional bolognese. Topped with spicy red pepper flakes, fresh basil, and vegan parmesan cheese.

HOW TO MAKE CAULIFLOWER WALNUT BOLOGNESE IN LESS THAN ONE MINUTE:

5 from 9 votes
Vegan Cauliflower Walnut Bolognese by Pasta-based. Detailed view of a forkful of cauliflower walnut bolognese sauce with farfalle pasta.
Cauliflower Walnut Bolognese
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
20 mins
Total Time
30 mins
 

This vegan/vegetarian bolognese sauce is made with caulifower, walnuts, and marinara sauce. It's so easy to make, requires less than 10 ingredients and 30 minutes. Chunky, flavorful, "meaty," healthy, and perfect for pasta night.

Course: Dinner, Pasta, Sauce
Cuisine: Italian, Vegan, Vegetarian
Keyword: bolognese, cauliflower, italian, meat sauce, pasta, sauce, vegan
Servings: 4 servings
Calories per Serving: 218 kcal
Author: Matt + Steph from Pasta-based
Ingredients
  • 2 cups cauliflower florets (about 1/2 a medium cauliflower)
  • 3/4 cup raw walnuts
  • 3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 4 cups marinara sauce
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 400°F/200°C 

  2. In a food processor, add cauliflower florets*, raw walnuts, garlic powder, oregano, salt and pepper. Pulse until all ingredients are evenly ground (see picture).

  3. Pour the mixture onto a lightly greased baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes, stirring halfway through to prevent over-browning.

  4. Heat marinara sauce over medium-low heat in a pot. Add cauliflower walnut mixture and stir to combine. Serve warm on pasta.

Recipe Notes

*Make sure your cauliflower florets are chopped into small enough chunks so they'll break up in the food processor.

Nutrition Facts
Cauliflower Walnut Bolognese
Amount Per Serving (1 cup)
Calories 218 Calories from Fat 126
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 14g 22%
Saturated Fat 1g 5%
Sodium 426mg 18%
Potassium 1057mg 30%
Total Carbohydrates 19g 6%
Dietary Fiber 6g 24%
Sugars 11g
Protein 7g 14%
Vitamin A 21.2%
Vitamin C 50.3%
Calcium 7%
Iron 19.4%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

February 12, 2018
March 20, 2018

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16 Comments

  1. Reply

    Debbie

    February 19, 2018

    This looks really good! I’m going to have to give it a try. Thanks!

  2. Reply

    Sarah McMinn

    February 19, 2018

    I love the idea of cauliflower bolognese! I can’t wait to try this.

  3. Reply

    Jen

    February 19, 2018

    Whoaaaa! You’re killing me with all of these amazing recipes. I tried your biscotti last week and fell in love. Adding this one to my list. I love me some good chunky pasta. 🙂

  4. Reply

    Amy Katz from Veggies Save The Day

    February 19, 2018

    I love the idea of using cauliflower and walnuts! Looks so delicious.

  5. Reply

    Jasmine

    February 19, 2018

    This looks AMAZING!! I have yet to try a homemade vegan bolognese, definitely trying this!

  6. Reply

    Jasmin // VeeatCookBake

    February 20, 2018

    This looks like the perfect Bolognese sauce. Thanks for sharing.

  7. Reply

    Adela

    February 22, 2018

    My sister made it today and it is amazing. Thank you for recepie. 💛

    • Reply

      pasta-based

      February 23, 2018

      Glad you liked it! <3

  8. Reply

    Adela C

    March 8, 2018

    Why so high in sodium? Salt?

    • Reply

      pasta-based

      March 9, 2018

      Hi Adela, sorry about that. The marinara sauce sodium amount wasn’t right, I just updated it. Thank you for catching that.

  9. Reply

    Jacqui

    April 18, 2018

    Made this tonight though replaced pasta with zucchini (zoodles). It is a scrumptious recipe, thanks for sharing!

    • Reply

      pasta-based

      April 24, 2018

      So happy you liked it, Jacqui! I love zucchini noodles, too.

  10. Reply

    Simona Eastlake

    May 16, 2018

    I tried this recipe and it was amazing….I will definitely be using it again! 10/10!!

    • Reply

      pasta-based

      May 16, 2018

      Thank you Simona! So happy you liked it.

  11. Reply

    Mark

    June 10, 2018

    First off, this recipe is the greatest! A little background. My wife and I went vegan and gluten free a month ago for health reasons. After having spaghetti once a week for all my life I was at a loss till I found this. It is so good I have already made it twice! A little gluten free pasta and you are good to go. My 2 year old even likes it. I am definitely raving about this to everyone I know. Thanks for putting this out here. I can hardly wait to try the other recipes on your site.

    • Reply

      pasta-based

      June 11, 2018

      Awesome! So glad you liked it 🙂

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