Veggie “Meat” Bolognese

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Whenever I ask my husband what do you want to eat, it’s always the same: lasagna, pizza or pasta bolognese. I don’t mind as these are definitely part of my favorite food group (which is pretty large haha). However, 50% of the week we do try to eat vegetarian, which inspires me to create veggie-filled meals. This time I challenged myself to make a vegetarian bolognese, but to try to and get that meaty texture. I know a lot of recipes use mushroom, but this is definitely not part of my favorite food group. I really dislike any type of mushroom there is, so had to experiment with different vegetables. After using the combination of walnut and carrot I finally found that perfect meat-like consistency. 

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My husband (a true meat lover) really enjoyed this dish and my daughter devoured a plate full. So I must say this a true success and it will definitely make a frequent appearance during dinner-time.

This recipe serves 4.

Ingredients:

500g carrots, very roughly chopped (I left the skin on, so wash properly)

125g walnuts

1 medium onion, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic minced

1 1/2 cup tomato passata

1/4 cup tomato paste

1 cup vegetable stock

1/2 cup red wine

1/4 cup milk

1 bay leaf

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

1 teaspoon dried oregano 

3 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

Salt

Black pepper

Extra:

400g spaghetti 

1/2 cup pasta water

Directions:

  1. Pulse the carrots and walnuts in a food processor until a “meat-like” consistency (see above picture).
  1. Heat two tablespoons of olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat and fry the onion. Once translucent add the garlic and continue frying until fragrant.
  1. Now add the remaining olive oil and carrot mixture to the pan. Cook for about 8-10 minutes until the carrots are soft. Pour in the wine, and stir until the liquid has been absorbed. Add the tomato paste, tomato passata, stock, oregano, thyme and bay leaf. Turn down the heat and cover the pan, allow to simmer for 45 minutes. Keep an eye on the sauce and stir a few times to make sure it is not sticking to the bottom. Remove the lid and continue cooking the sauce for 15 minutes. This will allow it to thicken a bit.
  1. In the meantime, boil the pasta according to the instructions. While this is cooking remove 1/2 cup of pasta water and set aside. When the pasta is cooked, drain and rinse with cold water to prevent from sticking together. 
  1. Remove the bay leaf and start by adding about 1/4 cup of the reserved pasta water, the balsamic vinegar and milk to the sauce.  Mix well and season with salt and pepper if necessary. If the sauce is still too thick add the remaining pasta water. Toss the pasta through the sauce and serve with grated parmesan. Enjoy!

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