Cauliflower and Walnut Crumb Pasta

This cauliflower and walnut crumb pasta is quick and simple to make. Vegan with a gluten-free option that doesn’t require the use of gluten-free breadcrumbs. Requiring only 10 ingredients and ready in 30 minutes this meal is perfect for a quick weeknight supper.

Cauliflower and walnut crumb pasta in a large cast iron skillet with a wooden serving spoon.

If you’re in need of a super quick and delicious weeknight meal grab a large skillet, get some water boiling and make this dinner tonight. All you need are 10 ingredients and about 30 minutes to prepare a family-friendly vegan and gluten-free supper.

Cauliflower and walnut crumb pasta on a grey bowl sprinkled with freshly chopped parsley.

Walnut Crumb

To create a crumb for coating the pasta and cauliflower I decided to use finely chopped walnuts and a blend of dried herbs. This adds and earthy flavor and crunchy texture to the pasta that cannot be matched by breadcrumbs. It also makes this crumb gluten-free!

Simply place the walnuts, herbs, and spices into a food processor and pulse until the mixture resembles…you guessed it…breadcrumbs. To a hot skillet, add olive oil and sauté the walnut crumbs until their fragrant. About 4-5 minutes. Watch closely to prevent burning. Once done, remove from heat and set aside for later.

Feel free to use this walnut crumb in place of breadcrumbs in other recipes. It would be delicious on top of a macaroni and cheese, lasagna, or used between the fillo dough layers on my Vegan Spanakopita.

Cauliflower Pasta

To prepare the cauliflower pasta, begin by bringing a large pot of water to a boil. While the water is boiling, break up lasagna noodles into strips. Alternatively, use linguini noodles or any other long thin pasta shape. Be sure that your pasta is gluten-free in necessary. Cook pasta according to package directions.

While the water is boiling, heat olive oil over a large skillet. Once hot, add onions and garlic to the pan and sauté until translucent, about 3-4 minutes. Next, add cauliflower florets and optional red chili flakes. Allow the cauliflower to brown a bit for 4-5 minutes. Once the cauliflower has a nice golden color add 3/4 cup of water. The cauliflower should be allowed to steam for 10-15 minutes. If after 15 minutes the cauliflower is still hard, continue adding water a few tbsp at a time. When the cauliflower is tender, remove from heat.

When the pasta is done, drain and place in the skillet with the cooked cauliflower. Top with walnut crumb mixture and toss to combine. Sprinkle with chopped fresh parsley.

Cauliflower and walnut crumb pasta  in a large cast iron skillet.

And that’s it! Quick and easy! This cauliflower and walnut crumb pasta is a simple recipe that is sure to become your family’s go-to weeknight dinner. So grab a fork and enjoy friends!

Ingredient Health Benefits

Cauliflower- fiber, vitamin C, biotin, folate, sulforaphane to block cancer-causing chemicals

Garlic-phytochemicals

Onion- antioxidants; fiber; vitamin C; folate

Walnuts- Omega 3s, thaimine, B6, folic acid, phosphorus, magnesium, copper, Vitamin E, polyphenols

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Cauliflower and Walnut Crumb Pasta

Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time25 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Vegan
Keyword: 30-minutes, cauliflower, easy, quick, simple, walnuts
Servings: 4 people
Author: Erin

Ingredients

Walnut Crumb

  • ½ cup walnuts
  • ¼ tsp dried oregano
  • ¼ tsp dried parsley
  • ¼ tsp garlic powder
  • ¼ tsp onion powder
  • sea salt to taste
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

Cauliflower Pasta

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
  • ¾-1½ cups water
  • red chili pepper flakes to taste
  • ¼ cup walnuts, chopped
  • 8 lasagna noodles, broken into strips or pasta of choice
  • parsley for garnish

Instructions

Walnut Crumb

  • Place walnuts, herbs, and spices into a food processor and pulse until mixture resembles bread crumbs.
  • Add olive oil to a hot skillet and saute walnut crumb for 4-5 minutes until fragrant. Remove from heat and set aside for later.

Cauliflower Pasta

  • Prepare pasta according to package directions.
  • While the pasta cooks, in a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Once hot add onion and garlic and cook until onions are translucent. About 3-4 minutes.
  • Add cauliflower and chili pepper flakes to pan and saute for 4-5 minutes until slightly browned. Add ¾ cup water to the pan and allow to steam the cauliflower about 10-15 minutes. If the cauliflower is still hard, continue adding water ¼ cup at a time until the cauliflower is tender.
  • Add chopped walnuts and cooked pasta. Toss to coat. Serve warm and top with chopped parsley.
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Vegan Walnut Spanakopita

Vegan, with gluten-free options, this walnut spanakopita has a crispy crust and a creamy filling. Traditionally filled with pine nuts, this Greek dish has a new twist with the addition of walnuts. Filled with spinach, herbs and vegan feta cheese sandwiched between layers of crispy fillo dough and breadcrumbs it’s sure to be a crowd pleaser on a busy weeknight.

Close up of vegan walnut spanakopita on a black plate.

Spinach Filling

This vegan walnut and spinach spanakopita filling is beyond simple to make! But don’t let the ease of making it fool you. It’s packed with flavor, texture, and satisfaction. Creamy vegan feta, crunchy walnuts, and a blend of sautéed spinach and fresh herbs create a wonderfully simple and delicious meal. All you have to do is sauté scallions, shallots, and spinach. Mix with vegan feta cheese (I love this recipe), fresh herbs, and chopped walnuts and you’re ready to assemble the spanakopita.

Fillo Dough Tips

Before we start layering the fillo dough, just a few tips…

  • Make sure that your fillo dough has completely thawed before use. If the dough is the slightest bit frozen, it will crack and ruin all the layers making it un-usable.
  • Grab two large, thin dish towels and get them wet. Wring out the excess water and lay one down on your kitchen counter. Gently place your fillo dough on the moist towel and quickly cover with the other moist dish towel.
  • Whenever you remove the top dish towel to grab a layer of fillo dough, replace the towel as quickly as possible making sure that the edges and corners of the fillo dough are covered.
  • In case you haven’t noticed, the trick to working with fillo dough is keeping it moist and cool.
Aerial view of vegan walnut spanakopita on a black plate with the rest of the spanakopita in a baking dish next to it.

Spanakopita Assembly

All you need to assemble this walnut spanakopita are 3 simple ingredients: olive oil, Italian breadcrumbs, and fillo dough. Although these ingredients are few, they are all going to be layered together to create the ultimate crispy, crunchy, and salty crust. Be prepared to put in a little bit of work here but trust me, it’s going to be so worth it!

First Layer of spanakopita

Now that you have your filling made and the fillo dough is ready to use, let’s begin layering the fillo dough. It really is very easy. The most time-consuming part is the number of layers required to create that flaky crust. Begin by placing a layer of fillo dough in the bottom of your prepared baking dish. Gently brush a thin layer of olive oil over the fillo dough then sprinkle with breadcrumbs. Lay another fillo dough on top of the breadcrumb coating and gently brush with more olive oil. Sprinkle more breadcrumbs over the olive oil. Continue this pattern of fillo dough, olive oil, and breadcrumbs until you have used half of your fillo dough. End with a layer of fillo dough.

Second layer of spanakopita

Evenly and gently spread the spinach, walnut, cheese mixture directly onto the fillo dough.

Third Layer of spanakopita

Then continue layer the rest of your fillo dough as before: fillo dough, olive oil, breadcrumbs. Finish with a single layer of fillo dough and generously brush with olive oil. Sprinkle the top of your spanakopita with sea salt and bake at 400*F for 20 minutes watching close to prevent burning. You will know the spanakopita is finished when the fillo dough is golden brown and flakey.

Close up of vegan walnut spanakopita on a black plate being cut with a fork.

And that’s it! You’ve done it! You’ve successfully used fillo dough to make this incredibly delicious spinach-filled Greek dish. Remember to follow this fillo dough tips whenever using fillo dough. And now that you know how to use fillo dough the sky’s the limit! It’s uses go well beyond just spanakopita and baklava. Use it instead of a crust on top of your next pot pie. Cut it into thick strips, fill it with any sweet or savory mixture, and fold it into neat little triangles before baking.

I cannot wait to hear what you think of this vegan walnut spanakopita!

Enjoy friends!

Ingredient Health Benefits

Olive oil- Monounsaturated fats

Spinach- Fiber; vitamin K; calcium; iron; magnesium; manganese; folate; vitamin B; vitamin A; glycolipids (cancer cell growth suppressors)

Walnuts- Omega 3s, thaimine, B6, folic acid, phosphorus, magnesium, copper, Vitamin E, polyphenols

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Vegan Walnut Spanakopita

Vegan, with gluten-free options, this walnut spanakopita has a crispy crust and a creamy filling. Spinach, herbs and vegan feta cheese are sandwiched between layers of crispy fillo dough and breadcrumbs.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Fillo Dough Layering20 mins
Total Time50 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Greek, Mediterranean, Vegan
Keyword: greek, mediterranean, spanakopita, spinach, vegan, walnut butter
Servings: 4 people
Author: Erin

Ingredients

Filling

  • 5 green onions, white and greens, diced
  • 2 large shallots, diced
  • 12 oz fresh spinach
  • cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 cup vegan feta cheese + more for crumbling
  • ½ cup fresh herbs parsley, dill, etc.

Spanakopita Assembly

  • 1 package fillo dough
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • ½ cup Italian bread crumbs gluten-free if necessary
  • sea salt to taste

Instructions

Filling

  • In a large skillet, heat a tbsp olive oil over medium-high heat. Saute scallions and shallots for 3-4 minutes until soft. Add spinach and cook until wilted, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.
  • In a large bowl, combine shallot and spinach mixture with choped walnuts, vegan feta, and fresh herbs. Set aside and begin working with fillo dough.

Fillo Dough

  • Preheat oven to 400°F. Brush the sides and bottom of an 8×8 inch baking dish with olive oil.
  • Cut fillo dough to size and place a single layer of fill dough in the bottom of the 8×8 inch dish. Lightly brush fillo dough with olive oil and sprinkle with bread crumbs. Repeat this for a total of 10-12 times.
  • Evenly and delicately spread spinach filling on the top layer of fillo dough.
  • Layer fillo dough, olive oil, and breadcrumbs for additional 10-12 layers. One the final top layer of fillo dough, brush generously with olive oil and sea salt to taste.
  • Bake for 20 minutes watching to prevent burning. Allow to cool for 20-30 minutes before cutting and serving.
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Butternut Squash and Sage Pasta

A cozy bowl of butternut squash and fried sage pasta is just what you need on a crisp autumn evening. This dish can be ready in 30 minutes and only requires 10 simple, wholesome ingredients. As an added bonus, this pasta sauce is easily turned into a soup. Grab a fork (or a spoon) and dig in.

Fried sage and butternut squash pasta topped with cranberries and walnuts on a grey plate with another plate of pasta in the background.

Can we all just take a second to appreciate pasta? What about another second to appreciate the sauces that we serve them with? Ok. Now that we’ve taken care of that…you can start appreciating this amazing homage to autumn. My incredibly flavorful, insanely easy butternut squash and sage pasta. Oh, and did I mention this squash pasta sauce can double as a soup? Yeah. Two dinner options in one. You’re welcome.

Fried Sage

This is the real secret, behind the scenes, star of the show. Fried, fresh sage is one of the most amazing little additions you could make to any squash dish. It’s so easy and it adds such a subtle sweetness to this sauce. So how exactly do we do this?

Add enough olive oil to thinly coat the bottom of a small pan. Heat the oil over high heat to get it extremely hot. Test the oil by adding a small piece of torn sage leaf to the oil. If the leaf sizzles the temperature is perfect. If it doesn’t continue testing every 30 seconds or so until it’s hot enough.

Once the oil is hot enough, add the sage leaves to the oil and allow to cook about 2-3 minutes per side until crispy and fragrant. Watch the sage closely, making sure that it doesn’t burn. Remove the leaves from the oil and place on a towel to absorb the excess oil. Set the leaves aside until later and begin working on the sauce.

Fried sage and butternut squash pasta topped with cranberries and walnuts on a grey plate with fried sage on the side.

Butternut Squash Sauce

Now that the sage portion of the dish is ready, it’s time to start the sauce (or soup). To the heated oil that you used to fry the sage, add the diced onion and sauté until translucent. Add the butternut squash, herbs, and garlic. Cook on medium-high heat for 5 minutes stirring to prevent burning but allowing the butternut squash to get a bit of a char. Add the vegetable broth to the pan and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook until the butternut squash is tender.

Allow the squash to cool a bit before adding to a high speed blender. Puree the squash with some plant-based milk and vegan parmesan cheese until smooth. At this point your pasta sauce is ready to go! Cook your favorite pasta according to package directions and toss the al dente pasta with this sauce. Top with the crumbled fried sage, dried cranberries, and chopped walnuts.

Butternut Squash Soup

If you want to turn this sauce into a soup that’s totally doable and incredibly easy. When you’re blending the sauce simply add more vegetable broth to the blender and continue to blend until the sauce turns into your desired soup consistency. Top the soup with crumbled fried sage, dried cranberries, and chopped walnuts. If you really want to go over the top, serve this soup in a sour dough bread bowl. Totally drool-worthy.

I hope that you will try this recipe and that you love it as much as I do. Let me know what you think of this dish and if you prepare it as a pasta sauce or a soup.

Enjoy friends.

Fried sage and butternut squash pasta topped with cranberries and walnuts on a grey plate with fried sage leaves on the side.

Ingredient Health Benefits

Garlic-phytochemicals

Onion-antioxidants; fiber; vitamin C; folate

Rosemary-polyphenolic compounds

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Fried Sage and Butternut Squash Pasta

A cozy bowl of butternut squash and fried sage pasta is just what you need on a crisp autumn evening. This dish can be ready in 30 minutes and only requires 10 simple, wholesome ingredients.
Course: Main Course, Soup
Cuisine: Vegan
Keyword: 10-ingredients, butternut squash, dried cranberries, entree, fried sage, pasta, sage, vegan, vegan entree, vegan parmesan, vegan soup, walnuts
Servings: 6 people
Author: Erin

Equipment

  • Blender

Ingredients

  • 10-15 sage leaves
  • ½ cup yellow onion
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 butternut squash, cubed about 8 cups
  • ¼ tsp dried sage
  • ¼ tsp dried thyme
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg
  • 2-3 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 cup plant-based milk
  • ¼ cup vegan parmesan cheese

Additional Toppings

  • dried cranberries
  • chopped walnuts

Instructions

  • To a large pan, add enough olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan with a thin layer of oil. heat over high heat. Once hot, lower to medium-high and fry the fresh sage leaves. Fry for 2-3 minutes flipping half way watching closely to prevent burning. Remove sage from the oil and place on paper towels to remove excess oil. Reserve sage leaves for later.
  • In the sage olive oil, saute onions until translucent. Add garlic, butternut squash, sage, thyme, and nutmeg. Cook for 5-10 minutes until crispy.
  • Add 2 cups of vegetable broth and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer until vegetable broth has cooked off and the butternut squash is tender. Continue to add vegetable broth as needed in order to cook and soften squash.
  • Allow to cool slightly and blend in a high-speed blender with plant-based milk & vegan parmesan cheese*.
  • Serve over your favorite al dente pasta and top with crumbled fried sage, dried cranberries, chopped walnuts and more vegan parmesan cheese**.

Notes

*If making a soup instead of a sauce, add more vegetable broth 1 cup at a time to thin the mixture to your preferred soup consistency.
**This is my absolute favorite vegan parmesan cheese recipe.
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Baked Tofu and Cauliflower

This baked tofu and cauliflower florets entree is sure to become your next weeknight go-to. It’s simple, quick, and satisfying, requiring only 5 ingredients and 1 sheet pan. It’s vegan, gluten-free and has an oil-free option.

Baked tofu and cauliflower seasoned with sumac in a blue bowl with an orange napkin on the side.

There’s not really a whole lot to say about this dish other than that it’s way more delicious than you probably would think considering the scant ingredients required to prepare it. In fact, I’ll bet you’ve got almost everything you need to prepare it. The only thing you might not have in your pantry is sumac. But I’m going to tell you why you should considering adding sumac to your spice rack.

Sumac

Sumac is a spice gathered from a flowering plant that grows in temperate regions throughout the world. Although it has quite a few health benefits it’s best known for it’s anti-inflammatory properties. If you don’t have sumac, you can use lemon zest and salt as a substitute. Although your meal will have a similar flavor, it will not have the health benefits associated with sumac. Sumac has a very strong smell before it’s cooked but don’t let that deter you. It’s actually sweet when cooked and has a mild lemony flavor. I look forward to using it more often. And don’t worry, I’ll be sharing more recipes for it here in the near future.

Cauliflower

Now is the time to use cauliflower! It’s in season in the United States September through November so stock up on it now. This vegetable is just begging to be used in holiday recipes (did I mention this dish would make an insanely easy and quick Thanksgiving side- just remove the tofu). It’s the star of the show in this baked tofu and cauliflower dish so make sure you get a really firm, perfectly white head of cauliflower. Or get creative and use purple or yellow cauliflower too. I’ve even seen (and love) baby cauliflower. Better yet, go crazy and use a mix of all those listed above.

Baked tofu and cauliflower seasoned with sumac in a blue bowl with an orange napkin on the side and a sheet tray of baked tofu and cauliflower in the background.

I hope that you give this insanely simple entree a try. If you do, be sure to tell me what you think down in the comments.

Enjoy friends.

Ingredient Health Benefits

Cauliflower- fiber, vitamin C, biotin, folate, sulforaphane to block cancer-causing chemicals

Garlic-phytochemicals

Sumac- anti-inflammatory

Tofu- calcium, copper, magnesium, B vitamins, isoflavones

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Baked Tofu and Cauliflower

This baked tofu and cauliflower florets entree is sure to become your next weeknight go-to. It's simple, quick, and satisfying, requiring only 5 ingredients and 1 sheet pan.
Prep Time10 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Gluten-Free, Vegan
Keyword: cauliflower, sumac, tofu, vegan
Servings: 4 people
Author: Erin

Ingredients

  • 1 head of cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 14 oz extra firm tofu, pressed, cubed
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • olive oil omit if oil-free
  • sumac

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Place pressed and cubed tofu, and cauliflower florets on the prepared baking sheet. Toss with olive oil, minced garlic and sumac.
  • Evenly spread onto the baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and shake. Bake for an additional 10-15 minutes.
  • Serve warm with freshly minced parsley.
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Spicy Cauliflower Casserole with Cashew Crust

This spicy cauliflower casserole with a cashew crust is the perfect weeknight meal or side dish. Loaded with hearty cauliflower florets, spices, and cashews it’s sure to please those that want a little extra heat as well as crunch in their lives. Made with 15 ingredients and ready to bake in less than 30 minutes, it’s amazing fresh out of the oven or as leftovers. Vegan, gluten-free, and with an oil-free option it’s perfect for those with special diets.

Spicy cauliflower casserole on a plate with a dish of cauliflower casserole in the background.

I know, I know…it’s pumpkin season. I didn’t miss the memo (but if you’re looking for something pumpkin be sure to check out my pumpkin pancakes). It was just impossible to keep this recipe to myself. Fall it’s just about pumpkin and apples am I right? How about the good ol’ casserole dish that takes you back to cozy evenings spent inside? Well, that’s what this little baby is for! My spicy cauliflower casserole with cashew crust is sure to become a new cold weather favorite in your home. It’s one of my personal favorites and it’s still delicious even if you remove some of the heat. Because guys, let me tell you, it does have a little kick. That being said I’ve made notes below indicated how to lower that heat intensity if desired. Like I said, this dish is for everyone.

So now that I’ve got your mouth watering let’s talk about exactly what you’ll need to whip up this amazing dish.

Cauliflower casserole ingredients including spices, chickpea flour, siracha sauce, flax milk, coconut aminos, cashews and a head of cauliflower.

The Base

Let’s start with the base of this casserole which is made up of only a few ingredients. We’ll need to combine garbanzo bean flour (keeping it GF here!), flax milk (or any milk alternative of choice), sriracha sauce, coconut aminos, black pepper to taste and of course, the star of the show, cauliflower. Cut the cauliflower into bit-sized florets and steam in batches until it’s just soft, about 4-5 minutes. You could skip the steaming step if you’re short on time just know that the cauliflower won’t be as tender after it’s been baked. It’s a personal preference thing.

While the cauliflower is steaming, let’s talk about the rest of the ingredients. Now remember how I said that you can adjust the spiciness of this dish? Well, here’s where you’ll want to pay attention. If you prefer, you can totally leave out the sriracha sauce. This is where all the heat in the cauliflower portion of the dish comes from. So you can either add none, a little, or A LOT. If you do omit the siracha sauce just be sure to add an extra 1/4 cup of flax milk to the mixture.

Once you’ve determined your spice preference whisk your sauce ingredients together. You want the mixture to be somewhat thick, but still pourable. Add the prepared cauliflower to the mixture and toss to coat being careful not to mash your cauliflower. Set that aside and begin working on that amazing crust.

The Crust

To prepare the cashew crust of our spicy cauliflower casserole you’ll need cashews, spices, arrowroot powder (or corn starch), avocado oil (if using), a food processor, and less than 5 minutes. That’s it! Now, here’s where we can discuss the heat level of the crust. The two culprits of heat in the crust blend are curry powder (mildly spicy), and cayenne (can get pretty intense). I’d recommend leaving in the curry powder as it adds lots of additional flavors aside from the heat, but definitely reduce or omit the cayenne if you’re wanting to remove the heat.

Once you’ve determined your desired heat level add the cashews, spices (as you see fit), arrowroot powder, and avocado oil (omit if oil-free) to the food processor and pulse until the cashews are very well chopped. Make sure you don’t get too over-zealous here with the food processor or you could end up with spicy cashew butter (although, that might be pretty amazing…). You’re looking for a crumbly, slightly crunchy texture as shown in the image below. And with that it’s time to assemble!

Cashews and spices in a food processor.
Close up of ground cashews and spices in a food processor to show texture.

Preheat your oven to 350F, prepare a 9×11 inch baking dish with cooking spray and pour in the cauliflower mixture. Spread the mixture evenly in the dish press down slightly to ensure that it’s packed. Top with cashew crust crumble and gently press down. Bake for 30-40 minutes checking to make sure that the crust isn’t burning. If the cashews begin to burn cover the dish with a large rimmed cookie sheet to prevent further browning. The casserole is finished when the cauliflower is tender and the top is a nice golden brown color. Now comes the really challenging part…try to practice some self-control while you wait for the dish to cool slightly. Or, if you’re like me, serve it immediately and hope you tongue can handle the heat.

Enjoy friends!

Close up of forked spicy cauliflower casserole with a cashew crust on a plate.

Ingredient Health Benefits

Cauliflower: fiber, vitamin C, biotin, folate, sulforaphane to block cancer-causing chemicals

Lemons: excellent source of Vitamin c, contain Vitamin A, calcium, & potassium

Avocado oil: monounsaturated fats, protein, potassium, magnesium, folic acid, B vitamins, vitamin E, vitamin K

Flax: omega-3 fats, soluble and insoluble fiber

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Spicy Cauliflower Casserole with Cashew Crust

A creamy cauliflower casserole with a crunchy spicy cashew topping.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time40 mins
Total Time55 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Vegan
Keyword: cashews, casserole, cauliflower, entree, gluten-free, oil-free, side, spicy, vegan
Servings: 4 people

Ingredients

Cauliflower Casserole

  • 1 head cauliflower diced into bite-sized florets
  • cup unsweetened plant-milk of choice I use flax milk
  • 1 cup garbanzo bean flour
  • ¼ cup sriracha sauce (or to preference)
  • 2 tbsp coconut aminos
  • black pepper (to taste)

Cashew Crust

  • 1 cup raw cashews
  • 2 tbsp arrowroot
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • pinch cayenne pepper (or to preference)
  • 1/2 tbsp avocado oil (omit if oil-free)

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Prepare a 9×11 inch baking dish with cooking spray.

Cauliflower Casserole

  • Cut cauliflower into bit-sized florets. Steam cauliflower in batches for 4-5 minutes until tender.
  • While cauliflower is steaming, prepare the rest of the cauliflower casserole ingredients by whisking together in a large bowl.
  • Once cauliflower is steamed, add to mixture and gently toss until evenly coated.
  • Gently press into prepared baking dish.

Cashew Crust

  • Place all cashew crust ingredients into a food processor and pulse until a crumbly texture is reached. (See photos above.)
  • Sprinkle on top of the cauliflower mixture and gently press down.
  • Bake for 30-40 minutes checking to make sure that the crust doesn't burn. If over-browning occurs place rimmed baking sheet over casserole dish and continue cooking until cauliflower is tender and filling has set.
  • Serve warm and store leftovers in refrigerator for 3-4 days.
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Walnut and Tofu Bolognese Sauce

This walnut and tofu “meat” bolognese sauce will be your new go-to family dinner during the cold weather months. Vegan and refined-sugar free with gluten-free and oil-free versions, this recipe will surely satisfy everyone at the table. Made with loads of fresh vegetables and simple, pantry-staple ingredients this meal will become your family’s new favorite dish.

Two bowls on walnut and tofu "meat" bolognese sauce in white bowls.

There aren’t many dishes I miss since going vegan over a year ago. But a good, hearty bolognese sauce is one of them. Well….was one of them. Since this recipe has been in my life, I definitely don’t miss my old version. This walnut and tofu “meat” bolognese sauce has it all going on. It’s got plenty of protein just like the original but it’s made even better by including all the veggies. And, let’s be honest, any excuse to eat pasta is a good one. Let’s explore this vegan bolognese sauce a little more shall we?

Pasta and walnut and tofu "meat" bolognese sauce on a fork.

Baked Tofu “Meat”

So this bolognese sauce is made up of three parts: the sauce, the walnut “meat”, and the tofu “meat”. I have found that including both tofu and walnuts in this recipe really enhances the texture and assists in recreating a “traditional” bolognese sauce. The baked tofu is simply crumbled, marinated in spices and oil (or water for an oil-free version), and baked in the oven. Super, super simple right? So while that’s baking in the oven we can move on to the rest of the “meat” sauce.

Walnut “Meat”

To complete the texture of the vegan bolognese sauce we need to make the walnut “meat” sauce. This is just as easy as the baked tofu portion of the recipe mentioned above. Simply place the walnuts into a food processor and pulse until the texture resembles that of, you guessed it, ground beef. Once the vegetables are soft, the walnuts and baked tofu will be added along with the sauce and a few spices.

Two bowls on walnut and tofu "meat" bolognese sauce in white bowls.

The Vegetables

In this section of the recipe I like to keep things as close to the original meat version as possible. That being said I always use: onions, carrots, celery, and zucchini. Some people like to include mushrooms. Personally, I love mushrooms, just not in my bolognese sauce. But if you’re one of those mushroom bolognese folk then by all means, throw them in! This recipe is very forgiving so you can use whichever vegetables you have or, to save money, vegetables currently in season. Some other vegetable ideas include: eggplant, leeks, and winter or summer squash.

There you have it my friends! My super simple walnut and tofu “meat” bolognese sauce. Throw this sauce on your favorite whole-wheat or gluten-free pasta. You could even up the veggie intake more if you’d like and spiralize yourself some zucchini, sweet, potato or carrot noodles. The possibilities are endless and that’s part of the appeal of this recipe. Make it your own and customize it to your family’s preferences.

Enjoy and be sure to let me know what you think down in the comments below.

Two empty white bowls with pieces of walnut and tofu "meat" bolognese sauce left.

Ingredient Health Benefits

Basil- phenolic compounds

Carrot- vitamin A; fiber; manganese; B vitamins; potassium; vitamin C

Celery- vitamin A; vitamin C; B vitamins; calcium; iron; magnesium; phosphorus; potassium

Garlic- phytochemicals

Olive oil- Monounsaturated fat; polyphenols; anti-inflammatory properties

Onion-antioxidants; fiber; vitamin C; folate

Oregano- antioxidants

Tomato- vitamin C; potassium; polyphenols

Walnuts- omega-3s; B vitamins; phosphorus; magnesium; copper; phytochemicals

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Walnut and Tofu Bolognese Sauce

Vegan and refined-sugar free with gluten-free and oil-free versions, this recipe will surely satisfy everyone at the table. Made with loads of fresh vegetables and simple, pantry-staple ingredients this meal is sure to become your family's new favorite dish.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time50 mins
Total Time1 hr
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian, Vegan
Keyword: gluten-free, oil-free, pasta, refined-sugar free, sauce, tofu, vegan, walnuts
Servings: 4 people
Author: Erin

Ingredients

Baked Tofu

  • 16 oz extra firm tofu
  • tbsp coconut aminos/soy sauce
  • 3 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • tsp chili powder
  • tsp paprika
  • ¾ tsp garlic powder
  • tbsp olive oil (use water for oil-free version)

Walnut Bolognese Sauce

  • 1-2 tsp olive oil (use water for oil-free version)
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 medium onion, finely diced
  • 1 cup celery, finely diced
  • 1 cup carrot, finely diced
  • 1 medium zucchini, diced
  • 1 cup walnuts pulsed in food processor to resemble ground beef
  • 28 oz tomato sauce (Trader Joe's is my favorite)
  • ½ cup pasta water
  • 2 tsp dried basil
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • salt to taste

Pasta

  • 16 oz pasta of choice (use whole-wheat, gluten-free, or spiralized zoodles)

Instructions

Tofu Crumbled "Meat"

  • Preheat oven to 375°F. Begin by pressing the tofu in a tofu press or place between two cloth dishtowels and top with something heavy. Press for at least 10 minutes.
  • While tofu is being pressed, whisk together the coconut aminos, nutritional yeast, chili powder, paprika, garlic powder and olive oil. The mixture should resemble a paste.
  • Crumble tofu into the size of ground meat and mix with marinade until all tofu pieces are coated.
  • Spread into an even layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes stirring half way through cooking. Watch the tofu closely so that it doesn't burn.

Pasta

  • Prepare pasta according to package directions cooking until al dente. Reserve ½ cup pasta cooking water for bolognese sauce.

Walnut Bolognese Sauce

  • Prepare walnuts but pulsing in a food processor until course. Should resemble ground beef.
  • Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add olive oil, garlic, onion, celery, carrots and zucchini. Cook for 4-5 mintues until onion is transleucent and zucchini is soft.
  • Add pulsed walnuts, prepared tofu crumbled "meat", tomato sauce, basil, oregano, salt (to taste), and reserved pasta cooking water. Simmer for 10-15 minutes allowing flavors to combine.
  • Serve over pasta and top with vegan parmesan cheese.
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