Pasta lovers, no fear, plant-based bolognese is here. This vegan bolognese recipe is made with cauliflower and sunflower seeds! Nut-free, soy-free, oil-free, gluten-free…but not taste-free. Exploding with flavor and texture, you’re definitely gonna come back for seconds.
This recipe was inspired by a Meal Mentor plan that used cauliflower rice in place of meat in a bolognese recipe. That was an instant hit with my picky husband so I knew it was a winner. It was delicious, but I felt it could use a little something – a little more texture. A little while back, I tried Pinch of Yum’s Cauliflower Walnut Taco Meat and got the idea of using nuts or seeds as “meat”.
I tested a variation with cauliflower + sunflower seeds and FELL IN LOVE with the combination for a vegan bolognese sauce. Seriously, I couldn’t stop eating it! A little soft, a little crunchy. Incredible texture. Plus, it will leave you feeling more satisfied than just a simple marinara sauce. Grab your food processor and let’s goooo!
How to Make Vegan Bolognese Sauce with Cauliflower & Sunflower Seeds
First, can we just take a moment to appreciate the beautiful spiral-y pasta I found?! GORGEOUS. I love, love trying out different types of pasta. My husband is not of a fan of this because he is a strict angel-hair-or-vermicelli kinda guy but he deals.
Anyway, so, the vegan bolognese. We need to make the meat. In a food processor, combine cauliflower florets, sunflower seeds, and seasonings. Pulse until the mixture is ground (resembling ground meat.)
Then I like to saute the mixture in a non-stick pan (I love using ceramic pans) without any oil. The purpose of this is to par-cook the cauliflower and also toast the seeds up a bit. Your next task is to mix in the tomato paste, vegetable stock, and balsamic vinegar and simmer. No tomato chunks here, though you can certainly add a can of diced tomatoes if you’d like!
Don’t want to put it over pasta? Put it over potatoes – for real, it’s SO GOOD. Make some homemade fries or roast up some potatoes. I even had some leftovers on top of vegan breakfast hash. Potatoes are so dang healthy for you, why not?!
In a food processor, pulse together the cauliflower, sunflower seeds, garlic powder, onion powder, and Italian seasoning until ground.
Saute the cauliflower meat in a large non-stick pan on medium-high heat for about 8 minutes.
Turn to medium heat and add the remaining ingredients. Whisk well. Let simmer for about 10 minutes. Serve!