Although there is a wide variety of vegan spaghetti bolognese recipes you can choose from, we stand by our statement that the best-tasting one is made with cauliflower and walnut mince. Not to mention the quickest, as you will be ready at the same time when your pasta is cooked.
Have you tried lentils, mushrooms or tofu but still haven’t found the one, this hearty meatless spaghetti bolognese recipe is delicious and will not disappoint.
Best ground beef for vegan spaghetti bolognese
Who would have thought that you can make the traditional bolognese dish without meat? Ground beef is basically the main ingredient. In Italy, they even call it bolognese ragu, which means meat-based. But guess what, you can do it meat-free and without any compromise in taste or texture.
So, how can you make the perfect vegan spaghetti bolognese?
Well, if you are not interested in using fake meat and looking for a true plant-based alternative, in our opinion the best substitute for vegan ground beef is cauliflower and walnut mince.
Let us tell you why we love this version the most.
- Mushroom bolognese would be most people’s first choice as they are easy to work with, cheap and familiar ingredient. Although we think that mushroom does not deliver on the texture side perfectly. It remains too spongy.
- Tofu could be another alternative, although most people bit hesitant to use it. It is not easy to make tofu crunchy and you can easily end up something too gooey.
- Lentils are another popular alternative due to its familiarity. But they are lentils, easily recognizable. Nobody confuses them with meat.
- Quinoa or millet is almost perfect. They give almost the right texture. The only thing missing is that they are so tiny compared to ground beef.
So, this seemingly weird combination works because cauliflower gives the minced texture, while walnut adds the meaty richness. And voila you have your vegan ground beef.
Now, how to make creamy bolognese sauce?
To save time, you can definitely use a store-bought seasoned tomato-based vegan pasta sauce, but if you would really like to step up your game why don’t you cook it from scratch. Here is our Hearty Marinara Sauce recipe or below our Creamy Bolognese Sauce recipe to choose from. All of them goes great with this vegan spaghetti bolognese with cauliflower and walnut mince.
Let’s go step by step.
Step 1 – Making vegan ground beef
All you need to do is mince the walnut and the uncooked cauliflower separately in a food processor like this one. No need to peel the walnuts. As for the cauliflower, we recommend using only the florets as the trunk can be hard and fibery.
Step 2 – Cooking vegan ground beef
Start it off as you would usually do to make a bolognese sauce. Cook on medium heat the diced onions and the finely chopped garlic cloves in olive oil until they are soft and getting transparent. It should take only 2-3 minutes.
First, add the minced cauliflower and cook them for 3-4 minutes. Stir occasionally.
Now, add the minced walnut and cook your vegan ground beef again for 3-4 minutes. Stir occasionally.
Step 3 – Making the sauce for vegan spaghetti bolognese
Now, spice it up! Add the tomato sauce (unsweetened and unseasoned smooth tomato purée) and the Italian seasoning (dried oregano, dried basil, salt, pepper, and sweet paprika powder). Then cook this mixture again for 4-5 minutes.
Step 4 – How to make creamy bolognese sauce
Add one cup of our homemade Easy Vegan Alfredo Sauce made with cashew nuts and dairy-free milk to this classic tomato sauce and you arrive at a whole new level of creaminess. I dare you to trick your meat-eating family and friends when they try your meat-free spaghetti bolognese.
Step 5 – Choose your pasta to your delicious vegan bolognese sauce
Traditionally, you should use tagliatelle. I didn’t know it either that the classic Bolognese ragu should be served on tagliatelle until my sister and her husband visited Bologna and learned about it. Anyway, no harm is done if you use spaghetti noodles as we usually do. Before serving, sprinkle them with vegan parmesan and fresh basil. Or much better, you can even make your own. Here is an easy vegan parmesan recipe at Megan’s blog.
We eat gluten-free (read more about it here) therefore, we use gluten-free spaghetti. The sauce itself is gluten-free, but if it is important for you to eat gluten-free too, you can choose from so many different alternatives like this quinoa spaghetti or a more protein-packed edamame spaghetti or chia flour pasta. Not to mention zucchini noodles for a low carb spaghetti bolognese. Endless possibilities right?
If you try this recipe, let us know. Leave a comment and rate it below.
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What more you need to try it? If you’re ready, watch this short video:
Vegan Spaghetti Bolognese (with Cauliflower Walnut Mince)
- Peel and chop onion and garlic. Mince walnut and cauliflower (only the rose) separately in a food processor.
- Heat up a larger frying pan, add olive oil and cook onion and garlic for a few minutes. Stir occasionally.
- First, add minced cauliflower and cook for 3-4 minutes. Then add minced walnut and cook for another 3-4 minutes.
- Add tomato sauce and season again if required. Cook until cauliflower softens and you reach the desired meaty texture.
- Add our homemade vegan alfredo sauce made with cashew nuts at the end to get a perfectly creamy bolognese sauce.
- Before serving, sprinkle it with vegan parmesan cheese. Enjoy!