This recipe for chunky, savory vegan 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.
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.
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.
Already we’ve made this vegan meat sauce 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.
If you like this vegan meat sauce, try these other sauce recipes!
Vegan Lentil Bolognese: Similar to this recipe, only a TON more protein from one of the most amazing legumes out there – lentils!
Vegan Roasted Red Pepper Sauce: Roast up some red peppers in your oven or over an open flame for this tasty sauce recipe.
Nut-free basil pesto: We made this one for anyone that might have nut allergies, or anyone that just wants to try something new! Sunflowers are the star of this pesto sauce.
This vegan/vegetarian bolognese sauce is made with cauliflower, 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.
- 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
Preheat your oven to 400°F/200°C
In a food processor, add cauliflower florets*, raw walnuts, garlic powder, oregano, salt and pepper. Pulse until all ingredients are evenly ground (see picture).
Pour the mixture onto a lightly greased baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes, stirring halfway through to prevent over-browning.
Heat marinara sauce over medium-low heat in a pot. Add cauliflower walnut mixture and stir to combine. Serve warm on pasta.
*Make sure your cauliflower florets are chopped into small enough chunks so they’ll break up in the food processor.
This looks really good! I’m going to have to give it a try. Thanks!
I love the idea of cauliflower bolognese! I can’t wait to try this.
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. 🙂
Amy Katz from Veggies Save The Day
I love the idea of using cauliflower and walnuts! Looks so delicious.
This looks AMAZING!! I have yet to try a homemade vegan bolognese, definitely trying this!
Jasmin // VeeatCookBake
This looks like the perfect Bolognese sauce. Thanks for sharing.
My sister made it today and it is amazing. Thank you for recepie. ?
Glad you liked it! <3
Why so high in sodium? Salt?
Hi Adela, sorry about that. The marinara sauce sodium amount wasn’t right, I just updated it. Thank you for catching that.
Made this tonight though replaced pasta with zucchini (zoodles). It is a scrumptious recipe, thanks for sharing!
So happy you liked it, Jacqui! I love zucchini noodles, too.
I tried this recipe and it was amazing….I will definitely be using it again! 10/10!!
Thank you Simona! So happy you liked it.
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.
Awesome! So glad you liked it 🙂
All I can say is WOW! This recipe is fantastic. Easy to make and so delicious. I have been vegan for about two months and was missing a good old spaghetti and meat sauce dinner and here it is. Can’t wait to try some of your other recipes. Thanks so much for creating and sharing this.
Thanks, Susan! So glad you liked it ♡
Hi — Just a note to say I made this recipe tonite and it was wonderful! This is a keeper for my file of go-to standards now. It’s absolutely delicious and mimics my mother’s old-style meat sauce. My only addition was some fresh basil — otherwise I made it exactly as written here. Thank you so much!
Thank you so much for the comment, it truly made my day! So glad you liked the sauce <3
Do you cook the cauliflower first
I just made this and WOW. Where has this been all my life??! Growing up meat bolognese was my favorite dish. I tried recreating it with mock meats after I went vegan 5 years ago and it just was not the same and I didn’t like eating such a processed product. Your recipe brought me right back to my childhood favorite. Thank you!
So glad you liked it Allison!