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
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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.