Simply Pasta is a monthly recipe column in which Best of Vegan contributor Teri-Ann Carty delves into her 20-year experience in fine dining and shares her best practices and recipes for making amazing pasta. In the new installment of Simply Pasta, she switches into full winter mode and shares her recipe for an incredibly comforting and satiating Vegan Tofu Walnut Bolognese.
Happy November friends! I don’t need an excuse to make cozy comfort food but now that it is officially pasta season we can start looking forward to richer, slow-cooked ragus and sauces that will stick to our ribs and keep us satiated over the winter months. For me, I just have to lean in now. I’ve switched gears from sweater weather into mittens and toque weather so yes, winter is coming. Let’s do this!
My Tofu Walnut Bolognese came about a few years ago after the mister and I made the walnut tofu meat. We made the “meat” to add into tacos and had leftovers so that’s when it got me thinking how great it would be to add to tomato sauce for a hearty bolognese. Boy, was I right. The combination blew my mind and right away I knew I had an award-winning recipe on my hands. Now, I will say I haven’t actually WON any awards (not yet anyway) but felt this recipe needed to be shared with all of you so YOU could share it with your loved ones.
This is my most requested recipe from my non-vegan friends. The first time they tried it they were blown away. I ALSO just made this recipe on a cooking show where the host is ITALIAN and NOT VEGAN. It was a risk but I won him over. I will take that feather and place it right in my cap thank you!
The most important element to this recipe is the “meat” so that is definitely made from scratch but you could easily buy a jar of marinara if you are pressed for time. I will say that our homemade marinara takes no time and tastes way better than any store-bought sauce but you do you.
Ingredients for “meat”
- 1 ½ cup walnuts
- 1 package extra-firm tofu
- 1 tsp each garlic powder, onion powder & oregano
- ½ tsp each ground cumin, cayenne, smoked paprika
- 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
- 1 tbsp olive oil and maple syrup
- 2 tbsp tamari
- 1 tbsp vegan Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
Ingredients for sauce
- 1 can of San Marzano tomatoes
- ½ yellow onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- Pinch of cayenne (optional)
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- Salt and pepper, to taste
To make the “meat”:
- Crumble walnuts in a food processor until pea-sized.
- Mash tofu with a fork (or hands!) until pea-sized.
- Whisk wet and dry ingredients together and combine with walnut and tofu mix.
- Spread on a baking sheet and bake at 350ºF/180ºC for 35 min, stirring halfway to ensure even baking.
To make the sauce:
- Sauté onions, add garlic.
- Add tomato paste and cook for 1 min.
- Add tomatoes, cayenne and cook on simmer for approximately 30 minutes.
- Cook pasta, heat pan with 1tbsp of olive oil, add walnut meat just to heat through, add 1-2 cups of tomato sauce (more if you like really saucy, less if you like more meaty) to create the bolognese. Add cooked pasta to the sauce and toss to combine. Check for seasoning.
- I added in fresh basil, chili flakes, olive oil, and tons of vegan parmesan.
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Recipe, text, and photography by Teri-Ann Carty.