Monday, December 13, 2010

Vegetarian Spaghetti Bolognese Recipe


Vegetarian Bolognese Sauce
(Adapted from The Pioneer Woman courtesy of Pastor Ryan)

1 carrot, sliced in large pieces (will be removed after cooking)
1 medium zucchini, grated
1 large onion, diced
1/4 C olive oil
1 package Yves ground round "beef"
1/2 package Gimme Lean Italian sausage-style "beef"
2 Tbsp. Oregano
2 Tbsp. dried basil
1 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 6 oz. can tomato paste
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 C red wine (or juice, I used cranberry)
2 Tbsp. Worcestershire
1 14.5 oz. can crushed tomatoes
1 14.5 oz. can petite diced tomatoes
1 28 oz. can tomato puree
1 C milk
Fresh Parmesan cheese

Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add grated carrots, zucchini and diced onions and cook for a few minutes. Add garlic and stir to combine.

Make a well in the center of the mixture, then add in the ground beef and sausage. Gradually stir the "meat" into the carrot mixture. Add a pinch of salt and a dash of pepper. Add oregano, basil and red pepper flakes.

When the meat is combined with other ingredients, make another well. Add tomato paste and let it heat. Make a well in the center of the mixture and add red wine (or juice). Stir together, scraping up any bits that stick to the bottom.
Add Worcestershire and stir. Add canned tomatoes. Finally, pour in milk, stir, and let simmer for 30 minutes to 2 hours—however long you need. Remove chunks of carrot and discard. The original recipe calls for grated carrots, which are left in the sauce. However, I was taught that the carrots absorb the tomatoes' acidity and should be removed.

Serve over spaghetti or angel hair pasta.

Crock pot directions
Spray crock with non-stick cooking spray. Place all ingredients in slow cooker for 8-10 hours on low. Remove carrots, discard. Mix well, serve over pasta. Be sure to use 2% or lower fat milk or add at end of cooking process. 

Original recipe can be found here.

The Results
Normally, I open up a jar of packaged spaghetti sauce, add some mushrooms and "beef" crumbles and spice it up a bit. That's usually really good and suits our needs for a quick, easy dinner (also, if you're addicted to that jarred sauce flavor, you may want to add a bit of brown sugar). So, I was a little skeptical of taking all this time to "create" the same thing from scratch. But, in the interest of using more whole foods, I thought I'd give it a shot. And I'm glad I did. Yes, it took a lot more effort and time. But it was so worth it and our toddler absolutely loved it. I'll likely still use the quick and easy solution on occasion, but I will definitely make this sauce again. Also, this makes A LOT of sauce, about 7 cups. So if that's way too much for your family, be sure to cut the recipe down.


  1. If you have a freezer, you could freeze it for the future. It sounds like a good sauce and I am printing it up to make.

  2. It is really delicious. I think, given the choice, our toddler would drink it rather than freeze it ;) My husband gave it his highest mark of praise "oh, this is worth it. It's restaurant sauce good."