Pumpkin Spaghetti with Caramelized Onions, Chickpeas and Garlic Kale

This pumpkin spaghetti with caramelized onions, chickpeas and garlic kale is made from fewer than 15 ingredients. It’s a creamy and satisfying meal that’s loaded with nutrients. Make the sauce ahead of time for meal prep or to simplify a weeknight meal.

Pumpkin spaghetti with caramelized onions, chickpeas and garlic kale in a large cast iron skillet with forks and spoons digging in.

I’ve been really addicted to squash lately. Ok, well, not lately. I go through this every autumn. Beginning in September, I roll out the squash dinner meals, eat leftovers for lunch, and even dump pumpkin into my overnight oats. Usually my squash obsession dies down after the New Year. Not this time though. I decided to up the nutritional value of my spaghetti sauce by including some pumpkin. Because, who says pumpkin can’t go on well into the winter months? Here’s why I think you should continue using squash through the winter months too.

Why you’ll love it

  • Simple- Most of the ingredients you’ll need for this dish you probably have on-hand in your pantry and fridge. And you need fewer than 15 ingredients to prepare it as well!
  • Easy- There’s nothing complicated about this recipe. If you can mince, boil water, and open a can, you’re good to go. Plus, you can easily whip this meal up in less than 30 minutes.
  • Flavorful- With such a rich diversity of ingredients, this dish simply does not lack in the flavor department. It’s comforting, inventive, and sure to please.
  • Textured- The sauce is creamy. The pasta is chewy. The chickpeas are crispy. The kale is tender. With so much going on, this dish is sure to leave you feeling satisfied.
  • Customizable- Only have spinach? Swap it for the kale. Don’t like spaghetti but love penne? Go for it! Need to use up leftover kabocha squash? Substitute it for the pumpkin. Garbanzo beans not your style? Use black beans instead. Let your preferences be your guide with this dish.

Caramelized Onions and Chickpeas

Begin by caramelizing the sliced yellow onions. To a large skillet over medium-high heat add a tablespoon of olive oil. Once the oil is hot, add the sliced onions and lower the heat to medium stirring to coat. Reduce heat to low and let the onions sit for about 15 minutes, stirring every 5 to ensure even cooking and prevent burning.

Once the onions are caramelized, add the drained and rinsed chickpeas. Heat the beans through then remove them from the heat and set aside.

Pumpkin spaghetti with caramelized onions, chickpeas and garlic kale in a large cast iron skillet with forks and spoons digging in.

Pumpkin Spaghetti Sauce

While the onions are caramelizing, make the pumpkin spaghetti sauce. In a large pot, heat the oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes. Allow the excess oil from the tomatoes to heat then add the diced onion, minced garlic, and sage. Cook for 3-4 minutes until the onions are tender.

Next, add the pumpkin puree, tomato sauce, 2 cups of vegetable broth, basil, and cinnamon. Stir to combine, reduce to medium-low and allow the sauce to simmer for about 15 minutes.

Using and immersion blender (or transfering to a high speed blender) puree the mixture until smoooth. Taste the sauce and season with salt and pepper. At this point you can add coconut cream or cashew cream (I love this recipe from Rainbow Plant Life) for additional creaminess and richness. Alternatively, if the sauce is too thick, you can add more vegetable broth (½ cup at a time) until the desired consistency is reached.

Pumpkin spaghetti with caramelized onions, chickpeas and garlic kale in a large cast iron skillet with forks and spoons digging in.

Garlic Kale

Preparing the garlic kale couldn’t be simpler. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, add a tsp of olive oil. Once heated, add the chopped kale and minced garlic. Stir to coat and sauté for 3-4 minutes until the garlic is fragrant and the kale has slightly wilted.

To serve, prepare pasta to package directions and toss with pumpkin spaghetti sauce. Place pasta on top of the garlic kale and caramelized onions and chickpeas. Top with vegan parmesan cheese and dig in.

I hope that this pumpkin spaghetti sauce with caramelized onions, chickpeas, and garlic kale will keep you enjoying squash well into the winter months. Be sure to leave comments below if you make this dish.

Enjoy, friends!

Ingredient Health Benefits

Garlic- phytochemicals

Olive oil- monounsaturated fats

Onions- antioxidants, fiber, vitamin C, folate

Pumpkin-fiber, potassium, selenium, vitamin A

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Pumpkin Spaghetti Sauce with Caramelized Onions, Chickpeas and Garlic Kale

This pumpkin spaghetti with caramelized onions, chickpeas and garlic kale is full of wholesome ingredients and loaded with nutrients. Ready in 30 minutes, it's perfect for a busy weeknight dinner.
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time35 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Gluten-Free, Vegan
Keyword: basil, cashew cream, chickpeas, coconut cream, garbanzo beans, gluten-free, healthy, kale, pasta, pumpkin, quick, sage, simple, spaghetti, sun-dried tomatoes, tomatoes, vegan, wholesome
Servings: 4 people
Author: Erin

Ingredients

Pumpkin Spaghetti Sauce

  • 1 cup sun-dried tomatoes, packed in oil, drained
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp sage, dried
  • cups pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 2-4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 tsp basil, dried
  • 1 dash cinnamon
  • ½ cup coconut cream or cashew cream* optional
  • 16 oz spaghetti, gluten-free if necessary

Caramelized Onions & Chickpeas

  • 1, 15oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced

Garlic Kale

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 cups kale

Instructions

Caramelized Onoins and Chickpeas

  • In a skillet, heat 1 tsp of olive oil and add sliced onions. Toss to coat and then allow to caramelize. This will take about 10-15 minutes. Stir the onions occasionally to prevent sticking and burning. The onions are finished when they are a golden brown color and fragrant.
  • Add drained and rinsed chickpeas. Warm over medium heat for a few minutes. Set aside.

Pumpkin Spaghetti Sauce

  • Bring a pot of water to a boil and prepare spaghetti according to package directions.
  • In the meantime, place a large pot over medium-high heat. Add drained sun-dried tomatoes and allow the excess oil to heat. Once hot, add onion, garlic, and sage sauteeing until soft and fragrant. About 3-4 minutes.
  • Add the pumpkin puree, tomato sauce, 2 cups of vegetable broth, basil, and cinnamon. Stir to combine and allow to simmer for 15 minutes.
  • Using and immersion blender (or transfering to a high speed blender) puree the mixture until smooth. Taste and season with salt and pepper and add optional cashew/coconut cream. Alternatively, if the sauce is too thick, add more vegetable broth ½ cup at a time until desired consistency is reached.

Garlic Kale

  • In a large skillet heat 1 tsp of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add garlic and kale, sauteeing until fragrant and the kale has slightly wilted. About 3 minutes.
  • To serve, plate prepared spaghetti and top with caramelized onions, chickpeas, and garlic kale. Top with vegan parmesan cheese if desired.

Notes

*For the cashew cream I recommend following this recipe from Rainbow Plant Life.
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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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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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Lasagna Stew with Pumpkin Ricotta

Throw it all in the slow cooker and forget about it! That’s all you have to do with this slow cooker lasagna stew topped with pumpkin ricotta. Vegan, oil-free, nut-free, and easily gluten-free with only 10 minutes of prep required. Take your next weekday dinner up a notch with this fall twist on a classic comfort dish.

Slow cooker lasagna stew with pumpkin ricotta in a blue bowl with vegan parmesan and pumpkins in the background.

I love lasagna! On busy weeknights though…I don’t love the layering work required. Enter this slow cooker lasagna strew with pumpkin ricotta. It’s seriously just like de-constructed lasagna. And this version has an autumn twist! So grab your slow cooker and food processor. Get ready for a delicious meal that requires only 10 minutes of preparation.

Slow Cooker Lasagna Stew

This recipe is really great for those short on time or beginners who don’t have much kitchen practice yet. Simply dice you onion and toss it into the slow cooker with the drained and rinsed lentils, canned tomatoes, vegetable broth, and herbs. Set your slow cooker to high and let it do the work for you. Test your lentils after 5 hours to make sure that they’re pretty well cooked. Next, break up your lasagna noodles, stir them into the stew, and make sure they’re covered with liquid. Cook for an additional hour until the noodles are al dente and the lentils are soft.

Lasagna Stew Tips

Be sure to use regular lasagna noodles. By that I mean, noodles that require boiling. If all you have are no-boil lasagna noodles I suggest adding them about 30 minutes before the stew is finished. If you cook them for 60 minutes they will be mush.

Also, when you add the noodles you may need to add more vegetable broth. I would start by adding 1/2 a cup. Then determine if the consistency is to your liking. Adding extra liquid will also ensure that there is enough to cook the noodles.

Vegan Pumpkin Ricotta

If you’ve never made vegan ricotta don’t be intimidated. It’s amazingly simple, satisfying, and delicious. I have amped up the flavor of this slow cooker lasagna stew by adding a fall flavored pumpkin ricotta topping. And it’s creamy and savory without the use of nuts or oil. Let’s dive in, shall we?

Ricotta tips

First, make sure that your tofu is extra firm and is thoroughly pressed to remove excess liquid. Real ricotta cheese has very low moisture. So, in order to achieve that texture with our vegan version, we need to get as much of the liquid out of the tofu as possible. I have found that pressing my tofu for about 30 minutes achieves the best vegan ricotta texture and low moisture level. The tofu can be pressed ahead of time and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Secondly, this is a savory pumpkin ricotta. You can definitely make this a sweet version by adding more pumpkin pie spice and maple syrup, while reducing 0r eliminating the use of sage and fresh basil. This sweet type of ricotta would work better in a dessert recipe though seeing as how this recipe is meant to be a savory dish.

Finally, once you have pressed your tofu and determined your spice preferences, throw all the ricotta ingredients into your food processor. Pulse the mixture and be sure to stop occasionally to scrape down the sides. Make sure that the ricotta is evenly seasoned and that all the tofu clumps have been worked out.

Slow cooker lasagna stew with pumpkin ricotta in a blue bowl surrounded by vegan parmesan and pumpkins.

I hope that you will enjoy this fall twist on a classic comfort food. And if you give this recipe a try please rate it and leave me comments below. I’d love to hear from you.

Enjoy friends!

Ingredient Health Benefits

Basil- phytochemicals; volatile oils (antibacterial properties)

Onion- antioxidants; fiber; vitamin C; folate

Pumpkin- fiber, potassium, selenium, vitamin A

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

Tomatoes- vitamin C; potassium; polyphenols

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

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Lasagna Stew with Pumpkin Ricotta

Vegan, oil-free, nut-free, and easily gluten-free with only 10 minutes of prep required. Take your next quick dinner up a notch with this fall twist on a classic comfort dish.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time4 hrs
Total Time4 hrs 10 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Vegan
Keyword: lasagna, lasagna soup, lasanga stew, lentils, pasta, pumpkin, pumpkin ricotta, slow cooker, tofu, vegan, vegan ricotta
Servings: 4 people
Author: Erin

Ingredients

Lasagna Soup

  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 cup brown lentils
  • 2, 15oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1, 15oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 3 cups vegetable broth see notes*
  • 2 tsp dried basil
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 5 lasagna noodles**, broken into large chunks gluten-free if necessary
  • 2 cups fresh spinach optional

Pumpkin Ricotta

  • 8 oz extra firm tofu, pressed
  • ¼ cup vegan parmesan see notes***
  • cup pumpkin puree not pumpkin pie filling
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • ½ tsp sage
  • 4-5 fresh basil leaves
  • water to thin see notes****

Instructions

  • Slow Cooker Lasagna Stew
  • In a large, 8 quart slow cooker place all lasagna stew ingredients except lasagna noodles. Stir to combine and cook on high for 4 hours or low for 6 until lentils are soft but not soggy.
  • In the last 60 minutes of cooking, add broken lasagna noodles to stew, cover and continue to cook until lasagna noodles are al dente. If adding spinach, shut off the slow cooker and add to lasanga stew. Stir to combine and cover allowing spinach to wilt for 10-15 minutes. Top with vegan pumpkin ricotta, vegan parmesan cheese, and fresh basil.
  • Vegan Pumpkin Ricotta
  • Add all ingredients to a food processor and blend until smooth and creamy but not runny. If the mixture is too dry add water 1 tsp at a time until desired texture is reached. Serve over slow cooker lasagna stew. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Notes

*Adding 3 cups of vegetable broth with result in a stew-like consistency.  For a thinner stew or soup add an extra 1-2 cups of broth.
**Do not use no boil lasagna noodles.  
***I use this recipe from Choosing Chia.
****Only add in water after all other ricotta ingredients have been added and processed.  If the ricotta looks too thick, add water 1 tsp at a time until ricotta is thick and creamy but not runny.

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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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