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Mushroom and Cauliflower Bolognese

Mushroom and Cauliflower Bolognese

  • Author: The Culinary Institute of America
  • Yield: Serves 4-6 1x


This recipe was produced by The Culinary Institute of America as an industry service, thanks to the support of the Mushroom Council.

Looking for classic comfort food with a healthy plant-forward twist? This Mushroom and Cauliflower Bolognese swaps out the saturated fat in ground beef with richly flavored mushrooms and cauliflower. Serve the sauce over pasta garnished with chopped parsley and some Parmigiano Reggiano, or plant-based cheese for a vegan version. This decadent and rich bolognese-inspired sauce packs an umami punch, and we promise you won’t miss the meat!


  • 1 lb. cremini mushrooms, cut in quarters
  • olive oil spray, as needed
  • 8 oz. cauliflower, roughly chopped
  • 3 ea. garlic cloves, peeled
  • 4 oz. onion, roughly chop
  • 2 oz. carrot, peeled, roughly chop
  • 2 oz. walnuts, minced
  • 24 oz. extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 oz. panko or whole wheat bread crumbs
  • 2 Tbsp. tomato paste
  • ½ cup white wine or vermouth
  • 4 ea. anchovy, finely chopped (optional)
  • 1 tsp. crushed red chili flakes
  • 28 oz. canned tomato, crushed
  • water as needed
  • ½1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • Salt, to taste
  • ground black pepper, to taste
  • ¼ cup flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • whole wheat pasta as needed
  • parmigiano reggiano (optional) as desired


  1. Heat the oven to 425℉. Line a sheet pan with foil.
  2. Place the quartered mushrooms on the sheet pan and spray with olive oil. Roast in the oven for 15-20 minutes or until they are cooked and dry. Allow to cool.
  3. Place the mushrooms in a food processor, and pulse until finely chopped. Set aside.
  4. Pulse the cauliflower in the food professor, and set aside. (There is no need to wash between processing each ingredient).
  5. Pulse together the garlic, onion, carrot, and walnuts, and place these items into a bowl together.
  6. Heat the olive oil in a large sautoir. Add the ground cauliflower and cook over medium high heat, stirring frequently, until it is a rich deep brown.
  7. When the cauliflower resembles cooked ground beef, add the breadcrumbs and stir until brown. Add the bowl of processed garlic, onion, carrots and nuts, and continue to cook until all the vegetables are nicely caramelized.
  8. Add the ground mushrooms, chili flakes, tomato paste, white wine or vermouth, anchovy (if using), and the canned tomato and juice. If the sauce is too thick, thin with water.
  9. Simmer for 10-15 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning with Balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper.
  10. Add parsley and serve over pasta. Top with Parmigiano Reggiano if desired.
  11. Note: This recipe can be easily made vegan by omitting the anchovy and Parmesan.