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Vegetarian bolognese

  • Author: Mansee
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 4-6 1x


A vegetarian take on a favorite pasta dish. Filled with cauliflower and mushrooms, the final product is just as cozy as the traditional. 


  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 lb mushrooms, cleaned and finely chopped
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 small carrot, peeled and diced
  • 6 garlic cloves, grated or minced
  • 2 sprigs thyme, leaves stripped
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 small head cauliflower, grated or chopped in food processor
  • 3/4 lb pasta (any shape!)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Fill a large pot with water for the pasta and let it come to a boil while you start the sauce.
  2. Heat oil in a large pan over medium-high heat.
  3. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned, about 4-6 minutes.
  4. Add onions and carrot and a 1/4 teaspoon salt and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, for another 4 minutes or until onions are soft and just start to turn a light brown.
  5. Add garlic and thyme leaves and cook for an additional minute.
  6. Push everything to one side to allow for a clear space. If the pan looks dry, add a tiny bit more oil. Add tomato paste and cook for 2 minutes, until paste deepens in color and starts to smell a little toasty. Mix to combine with mushrooms and onions.
  7. Add cauliflower and oregano and stir well to combine. Reduce heat to medium-low, and stir every couple of minutes, while you boil pasta. It's okay if cauliflower starts to stick to the pan - it's building flavor!
  8. Cook pasta according to package instructions in heavily salted water, shaving about 2 minutes off the cook time. You want the pasta to be very al dente, but not dry on the inside when you bite into it. DO NOT DRAIN.
  9. Once pasta is cooked, increase heat under sauce to medium. Using tongs or a slotted spoon, transfer pasta to pan and stir to combine.
  10. Add 1 cup of pasta water, along with butter and half the cheese. Stir continuously until butter and cheese melt and pasta absorbs water. If pasta still looks a little dry, continue adding a tablespoon or two of pasta water at a time while stirring until it reaches your desired consistency.
  11. Add remaining cheese and toss to combine. Taste for seasoning (the pasta water and cheese is salty!) and adjust as needed.
  12. Serve with MORE parmesan, if desired (it's definitely desired).