I have been working on meatless “meat” sauces because, hey, why not! Vegetables, if done well, can be transformed into anything. For the purists, I know this is not technically bolognese but I used the basic template for the traditional recipe – a mirepoix of onions, carrots and celery – so this one is going to change minds. It’s super easy, really delicious, and packed with plant power.
Note: cooking is an art not a science. So, the size of vegetables varies. For the mirepoix, it should be about 50% onions, 25% carrots and 25% celery.
This recipe makes a little more than 3 cups of sauce.
1/2 medium onion
2 stalks celery
2 cloves of garlic
1 cup grated cauliflower (about 1/2 of a head)
1 cup white wine *
1 tube of tomato paste (4.5 oz.)
1 jar of crushed tomatoes (18.3 oz.)
1/2 cup uncooked red lentils
1/2 cup cashew milk **
1 tablespoon olive oil, optional
Salt, 1 teaspoon, divided
*For wine, use what you like meaning what you would drink. I love my Vegan Vine Chardonnay.
**To make homemade cashew milk, add 1 cup of cashews to 3 cups of filtered water into the Vitamix and let it rip until it is smooth. If you don’t have a Vitamix, it is time to get one or soak the cashews for a few hours.
Start with the mirepoix. Evenly dice the onion, celery and carrots and add to the pot with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. If you are oil free, water sauté the vegetables.
Season with a 1/2 teaspoon of salt and cook on low heat until the vegetables have softened. This should take somewhere between 8 and 10 minutes. Press the garlic over the mirepoix and let it cook in for 2 more minutes.
Break up the cauliflower into florets and drop into the food processor. Pulse until it looks rice. Add to the mirepoix and cook for 5 minutes.
Add the wine and cook it down for 2 minutes so that the alcohol cooks off. Add the tomato paste and mix it in well. Cook for a minute. Add the crushed tomatoes and season with the rest of the salt. Cook on low heat for 15 minutes.
Add the red lentils and cashew milk and cook for another 15 minutes so that the lentils cook down into the sauce.
Store the sauce in glass containers in the refrigerator or freezer until ready to use and reheat.
Boil up some pasta and toss with sauce. Add a little more sauce on top and enjoy!