Vegetable Bolognese with Brown Rice Spaghetti 

butterfly Serves: 6

Written By Eydie Desser


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Serve this to your meat eating friends and don’t tell them it’s plant-based.  I’m telling you, they’ll never know!  This recipe is inspired by Chef Michael Chiarello.  His recipes are divine.  All I did was apply his same exact cooking methods and techniques to vegetables as is done with meat, and voila, the final dish is super delicious and is totally satisfying for carnivores and plantivores, alike!  Serve it over brown rice spaghetti. It works perfectly and you and your guests will be so happy!


For the Bolognese:
  • 1 (12 ounce) onion, minced (1-½ cups) 
  • ⅓ pound finely chopped fresh portobello mushrooms, cremini or white button mushrooms, (1-½ cups chopped)
  • 1 medium sized carrot, finely diced (½ cup) ½ cup finely diced celery
  • 6 large garlic cloves, peeled and chopped  (2 tablespoons)
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 cup tomato purée (we use Pomi salt free)
  • ¼ cup water 
  • ¼ cup dry white wine, or veggie stock
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or more to taste
For the Pasta:
  • 6 oz. brown rice spaghetti or half a package
  • (8) basil leaves, chiffonade (thinly sliced) for garnish
  • red pepper flakes, optional


Make the Bolognese:
  1. Heat a large sauté pan over medium high heat for about 1-2 minutes.  Place  a little bit of onion in the pan, and if it sizzles, the pan is ready for the dry sauté technique.  Add the rest of the onion, mushrooms, carrot, and celery and stir continuously for 2 minutes so that the vegetables don’t stick to the pan, and start to soften. Stir in a little water if the vegetables start to stick.
  2. Turn down the heat to medium low, cover the pan, and allow the vegetables to steam and release their oils and juices for 2 minutes.  Remove cover, give it a stir and notice if the vegetables are softening. If not, cover again on low heat, and allow the vegetables to steam for a couple of more minutes, or until tender.
  3. Remove the cover and add garlic, parsley and rosemary.  Sauté for about 3 minutes to release their aromatics.
  4. Add the tomato puree, the wine and water (or water only).  Bring the sauce to a simmer and season with freshly ground black pepper. Simmer for 10 minutes.
Cook the Pasta and Finish the Dish:

Bring a 5-quart pot of water to a boil over high heat.

  1. Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook according to the package instructionsThis particular brand of pasta takes 18 minutes to cook.  It’s worth it, I promise!
  2. Drain the pasta, reserving ¼ cup of pasta water, in case the Bolognese sauce needs thinning..
  3. Return the drained pasta to the warm pot over medium low heat.  Add the sauce, stir to combine, and cook briefly so the pasta absorbs the sauce. Add reserved pasta water, only, if the sauce seems dry.
To Serve:

Place the Vegetable Bolognese in a warmed pasta bowl and sprinkle with the chiffonade of basil. I like to have red pepper flakes on hand in case any of the guests want to add heat.

butterfly Cook's Notes:

I often find recipes, usually starring animal protein, from a cookbook by a favorite chef. I plant-base it by using their techniques and spice combinations and substitute vegetables, grains, beans or legumes for the animal, and vegetable stock for the beef or chicken stock. Give it a try!

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