Veg Bolognese – Alcohol Free Version

Have you tried the Garden Bolognese recipe from Jillian Harris’ cookbook Fraiche Food Full Hearts? I absolutely love it! I love that it is loaded with veggies, and makes a ton that lasts days. It also freezes well, making it perfect for meal prep. But the only thing I didn’t love was that it uses red wine in the recipe. I prefer not to cook with alcohol (its a muslim thing :p). So I wanted to come up with an alcohol free version that tasted as close to the original as I could make it. It took a bit of trial and error, but I think this recipe comes really close to the original in flavour.

It is still dairy free, vegan and all that jazz. I cleaned up the ingredients a bit, so this version is also sugar free, so is also paleo and keto friendly. I also like to up the veggie content even more by eating this with zucchini noodles mixed in with regular pasta. That way I eat less pasta overall, but still get my pasta fix and feel satisfied after eating a bowlful – or two. If you think you hate veggies, mushrooms, carrots, celery – or any of the other veggies in this sauce, think again. This sauce will convert you over to the veg side, give this bolognese a go. I swear it is hard to hate this. It is just so hearty and delicious.

So here it is – my alcohol free version of a Garden Veggie Bolognese sauce. I’ve also shared the vegan parm that I use to top this sauce. I prefer it over regular parm and I always have the ingredients on hand so I can make this anytime! Give it a go and let me know what you think!

Veggie Bolognese – alcohol free version

An alcohol free version of the ever popular Garden Bolognese. Can be made Whole30 and Vegan friendly – don't worry though even the meat lovers will have a hard time hating this one! Trust.
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time1 hour
Total Time1 hour 15 minutes
Course: Main Course
Keyword: dairy free, gluten free, Paleo, Vegan, Vegetarian, Whole30
Servings: 8


For the Bolognese Sauce

  • 4 tbsp olive oil (divided)
  • 1 large onion
  • 3 medium carrots
  • 3 stalks celery
  • 2 tbsp butter (sub for more olive oil for dairy free version)
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 1 1/4 lbs mushrooms (a mix of white, brown and/or portabello works well)
  • 4 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup veggie stock
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 can diced tomatoes (28 oz)
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
  • 2 tbsp italian seasoning
  • salt & pepper
  • 1/4 cup non-dairy creamer (I like nut pods, or oat milk)

For the Pasta

  • 18 oz spaghetti (skip this if Whole30, and increase the amount of zucchini noodles)
  • 1 1/2 cup zucchini noodles

Vegan Parm

  • 1/2 cup raw cashews
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • pinch sea salt
  • pinch garlic powder


For the Bolognese Sauce

  • Start by finely chopping all the veggies. I recommend using a food processor – finely slice the onion and mushroom, grate the carrot and celery on the coarse grater setting. Set aside.
  • Mince the garlic, set aside.
  • In a large saucepan, heat 2 tbsp oil on medium heat. Add the onions, carrots and celery. Cook for 5-8 minutes till the veggies are softened. Remove from the pan, and set aside.
  • Put the same pan back on the heat. On medium heat, add 2 tbsp oil and 2 tbsp butter (or more oil) and add the mushrooms. Don't mess with them too much. Let them cook for a few minutes without stirring. This will help them develop a nice brown coating.
  • After a they start browning, give them a stir and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, for a total of 10 minutes, till they are brown all over and softened.
  • Add the minced garlic, cook for 1 minute till the garlic is fragrant.
  • Add 4 tbsp tomato paste, 1/2 cup stock, and 2 cups water. Stir, making sure all the brown bits on the bottom of the pan are scraped up into the sauce. Cook for 5 minutes till the liquid reduces by half.
  • Add the cooked onion mixture back into the pan. Add 1/2 cup nutritional yeast, 2 tbsp italian seasoning, 1 can diced tomatoes, with all juices.
  • Reduce heat to medium low, and continue to simmer, stirring occasionally till the mixture has thickened and reduced slightly, about 20-30 minutes. Feel free to adjust the liquid level to your liking, if it is too thick, add more water or stock. If it is too thin, cook it out a bit longer.
  • Add 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar, season with salt and pepper. Simmer for 5 more minutes.
  • Turn off the heat and add 1/4 cup non-dairy creamer, stir to combine.

Vegan Parm

  • Combine the 1/4 cup cashews, and 2 tbsp nutritional yeast, salt and garlic powder in a blender and blend till the mixture starts to turn into a fine powder – like parmesan.
  • This can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 months.

To Serve

  • When you are ready to serve, boil a large pot of water for the pasta. When it comes to a boil, add the spaghetti and cook till just starting to soften, but still a bit firm (al dente) according to package directions.
  • Drain the past, and while it is still hot, add the zucchini noodles, so they will cook in the residual heat of the pasta. Stir to combine.
  • When ready to serve, pour the pasta over the sauce and serve immediately with a sprinkle of the vegan parm.


The bolognese sauce freezes really well. Just freeze into a ziploc bag, or plastic container till the next time you need a quick pasta sauce. Defrost in the fridge the night before, or microwave for a quick defrost, before serving over fresh pasta.

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