Plant-based eating is heart healthy, super satisfying, and earth friendly. This Valentine’s Day, make your special someone a big bowl of spaghetti goodness—completely free of meat and dairy. This vegan recipe was adapted from creamy Bison Bolognese. We taste tested them side by side and couldn’t tell the difference!
Extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion − diced small
1 large celery stick − diced small
1 large carrot − peeled and diced small
3 garlic cloves − minced
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 lbs baby bella mushrooms − sliced
1 ½ cups red wine
1 cup cashew milk
6 oz tomato paste
42 oz San Marzano whole peeled tomatoes – crushed by hand
10 basil leaves, plus 3 Tbsp chopped
1 tsp red pepper flakes
¼ cup parsley − chopped
2 lbs bucatini pasta − cooked
Vegan parmesan cheese (optional, recipe on next page)
Heat a Dutch oven or large pot over medium-low heat with 1 Tbsp olive oil. Add the onion, celery, carrot, and garlic. Season with 1 tsp salt and a dash of pepper. Cook for about 10 minutes, or until the veggies are slightly brown, stirring occasionally.
Increase the heat to medium-high and add the mushrooms. Season with a heavy dash of salt and pepper, and cook until soft. Deglaze the pot with the red wine, scraping the brown bits from the bottom. Add the cashew milk, tomato paste, and tomatoes. Bring the sauce to a slight boil, then lower the temperature to medium-low. Let simmer for at least 30 minutes. The longer the sauce simmers, the better it tastes. (I like to make mine in the morning and let it simmer all day.)
About 30 minutes before serving, place ¼ cup of olive oil, the basil leaves, and red pepper flakes in a small saucepan and warm the mixture over low heat. Once warm, set aside and let steep for about 30 minutes. Strain the basil and pepper flake from the oil, then stir the oil into the sauce. Add the parsley and chopped basil to the sauce and stir to combine. Season the sauce with salt and pepper, tasting as you go to get the flavor just right. If using, stir in the vegan parmesan cheese. Serve over cooked bucatini.
TIP: This recipe makes a huge batch of sauce. It freezes perfectly for up to 3 months, and I think it tastes even better after it’s been frozen. 10 to 12 servings
Vegan Parmesan Recipe:
½ cup cashews q ¼ tsp Italian seasoning
2 Tbsp nutritional yeast q Pinch kosher salt
¼ tsp garlic powder
Add all the ingredients to a blender and combine on high speed until it’s the consistency of parmesan cheese.
Cecchi Bonizio Sangiovese 2017
Savory, smooth, and medium bodied, Sangiovese is a mix of earth and fruits—a chameleon of wines. Dried cherry is the dominant fruit flavor with dry tannins rounding out the back end. Tomato dishes bring out the fruit, while the tannins cut through olive oil, making it a perfect match for plant-based fare like Vegan Bolognese. Now that’s Italian! $10.99
See Oenophile Mary Catherine Reginelli at Pyramid Wines & Spirits. Pyramidwines.com, 901.578.2773.
Andrea LeTard is the creator and author of Andrea’s Cooktales, an heirloom cookbook. She is also a personal chef, small party caterer, and cooking instructor. Andrea has been featured on Cooking Channel, Today Show, and Local Memphis Live. She was chosen as a Top 100 Contestant on MasterChef Season 6. Her recipes are “next-generation southern”—fun and fundamentally southern with a modern twist. Follow Andrea on Facebook, Instagram (@andreas_cooktales), and her video blog series at Andreascooktales.com.