This recipe is something I have been raving about for the past few months, and have even mentioned it in quite a few my weekly vegan meal plans (these will be coming back soon, hopefully this week). But, I haven’t been able to share it because it’s a recipe I kind of make up as I go. Does anyone else do that? When I cook, I don’t really measure… I just eyeball it and taste as I go. This makes it really hard for me to post recipes since I’m rarely measuring. But I took the time to really pay attention and measure as I made this last Sunday, so FINALLY I have a legit recipe for you!
This recipe was inspired by THIS recipe by Healthy with Nedi. When I wasn’t eating predominately whole food plant based (WFPB), I would make this bolognese recipe using ground turkey and it quickly became one of our fav meals. When I made the switch to WFPB, I knew I needed to play with this bolognese to make a vegan version.
What makes this vegan recipe so hearty?
This vegan bolognese is packed with a “meaty” flavor, and honestly you forget you’re just eating plants! I think a huge trick when making WFPB meals is making sure you have a good meat substitute that will pack a lot of protein. I always try to incorporate beans, lentils, tofu, or bean based pastas to achieve this.
For this recipe, I suggest using green lentils! They are filling with a huge amount of protein, are super easy to cook, and add make the meal hearty. My other secret weapon to add a “meaty” flavor to meals is to use mushrooms! They have a consistency similar to meat, and elevate any vegan meal. For this recipe, I use a ton of mushrooms!
Secret Ingredients for this Bolognese
For this bolognese, there are three major secret ingredients I think are SO important to make this meal out of this world. The first is placing sprigs of rosemary in the spaghetti squash before roasting. This infuses rosemary throughout the spaghetti squash and makes it taste SOOO good!
The second ingredient I highly suggest using is Rao’s Marinara. Once you try Rao’s you can’t use any other jarred marinara. Seriously! It’s soooo good and is one of the few marinaras on the market that doesn’t add sugar.
Lastly, adding in a healthy amount of cinnamon takes this recipe to another level. I know- it kind of sounds weird. But trust me on this one- you’re going to love it!
Okay, are you ready for the recipe yet?? Here we go!
Vegan Bolognese + Roasted Spaghetti Squash Recipe
Makes 4-6 servings
prep and cooking time: estimated one hour total
Roasted Spaghetti Squash:
- 2 mid size spaghetti squash
- 4 sprigs of rosemary
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- pinch of Himalayan salt and pepper
- 3 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 red onion, diced
- 3-4 cloves minced garlic
- 2 green bell peppers, chopped
- 32 oz sliced baby bella mushrooms*
- 1 1/4 teaspoon cumin
- 2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon Himalayan salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 – 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 jar Rao’s Marinara
- 1 cup dry green lentils
- 2 1/2 cup vegetable broth (no salt added or low sodium)
- optional: parsley for garnish
*I really wash my mushrooms thoroughly in the sink before cutting them to make sure there dirt is off of them. I’ve seen professionals wipe the mushrooms with a damp cloth instead. But for me, I really want to make sure no dirt is getting into my food. It’s your decision how to wash and prep the mushrooms, but thought I’d mention my preference.
Roasted Spaghetti Squash:
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees F
- After washing off any dirt from your spaghetti squash, take a fork and pierce holes all over the squash. They don’t need to be deep punctures, just enough to give the spaghetti squash some breathing room while you microwave it. Microwave the squash for 30 seconds. This makes it easier to cut the squash.
- Using a sharp butcher’s knife, CAREFULLY cut the squash in half lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds with a spoon.
- Brush the extra virgin olive oil over the flesh of the spaghetti squash. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Finish it off by adding a sprig of rosemary in the inside cavity (where the seeds were).
- Place squash on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. The outside skin should be facing up, and the inside part of the squash (the flesh) you just brushed with olive oil should be facing down on the baking sheet.
- Roast squash in oven for 45-55min (depends on the size of the squash) until the outside skin barely starts to brown and the inside of the squash is tender. Use a fork to “fluff” the squash and the get spaghetti out!
- While the squash is roasting, start the bolognese. Put a large dutch oven or pot on medium/high heat. Add the olive oil (if the olive oil starts to smoke, turn down the heat a tad). Pour in the diced red onion into the heated olive oil and let cook for one minute. Next add in the minced garlic and continue to cook the onions and garlic for another 3-4 minutes stirring occasionally, until the garlic barely starts to turn golden brown and the onions start to become translucent.
- Add in chopped green bell pepper and cook for 5 minutes stirring occasionally. Next add in sliced mushrooms and cook the mixture another 7-10 minutes (the mushrooms will start to release liquid). Stir this mushroom mixture every couple of minutes.
- Next add in the cumin, cinnamon, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Stir and cook for 1 minute. Pour in a jar of Rao’s marinara and bring to a low simmer. Cover the bolognese and allow to simmer for 15 minutes.
- As the bolognese simmers, cook the lentils. Wash the dry lentils (I like to use a fine mesh strainer to do this) and place in a small pot with the vegetable broth. Bring the lentils and broth to a boil, then lower to a simmer for 10 minutes.
- After 10 minutes, the lentils should be tender, but not falling a part. Add the cooked lentil so the bolognese and stir. Cook for another 5 minutes.
- Serve by placing bolognese on top of the roasted spaghetti squash. Garnish with chopped parsley. Enjoy!
This is one of our favorite vegan recipes! Let me know what you think of this recipe after you give it a try!