VEGETARIAN BOLOGNESE

 

Bolognese ticks a lot of boxes:  classic comfort food, easy crowd pleaser and versatile.  This is a double recipe as it freezes well for the next time you’re in a pinch.  I also use it for lasagna sauce, so trust me, it pays to make a big batch!  Watching your processed carbs or have a gluten allergy?  Serve it over zucchini noodles for a full-on veggie-based meal!

PREP TIME:  10-20 min

 

COOK TIME:  Allow at least 4-5 hours for a long, slow cook.  If you have a Wonderbag, you can leave the sauce in the bag all day, or even overnight!

SERVES:  8-10

INGREDIENTS

FOR THE BOLOGNESE:

  • 4 Tbsp (60 ml) olive oil

  • 2 yellow onions, diced

  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced

  • 2 celery stalks, diced

  • 1 Tbsp (15 ml) dried oregano

  • 1 Tbsp salt

  • 1 ¾ pounds (800 g) mushrooms, finely diced

  • ½ cup (120 ml) milk (optional, skip if vegan)

  • ½ cup (120 ml) dry, white wine*

  • 3- 14 oz (3- 400 g) cans diced tomatoes

  • 1- 5 oz (1- 140 g) can tomato paste

 

FOR THE ZUCCHINI NOODLES:

  • 1 whole zucchini per person, washed, ends trimmed and shredded

 

OPTIONAL GARNISH

  • Parmesan cheese

 

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COOK THE BOLOGNESE
WONDERBAG METHOD

1)  Heat a 5 quart (5.5 litre) pot on medium-high.  Add the onions with 3 Tbsp (45 ml) of the olive oil and sauté for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. 

 

2)  Add the carrot and celery with the remaining 1 Tbsp (15 ml) of olive oil and cook for 5 minutes.

 

3)  Add the oregano, salt and mushrooms, and cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.

 

4)  Add the milk and cook until evaporated, about 5 minutes

 

5)  Add the wine and cook until evaporated, about 5 minutes

 

6)  Add the diced tomatoes and tomato paste and bring to a boil. 

 

7)  Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, covered, for 20 minutes.

 

8)  Seal your lidded pot in the Wonderbag and leave to cook for 8 hours (or overnight, the flavours develop the longer you leave it).

CONVENTIONAL METHOD

 

1)  Heat a 5 quart (5.5 litre) pot on medium-high.  Add the onions with 3 Tbsp (45 ml) of the olive oil and sauté for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. 

 

2)  Add the carrot and celery with the remaining 1 Tbsp (15 ml) of olive oil and cook for 5 minutes.

 

3)  Add the oregano, salt and mushrooms, and cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.

 

4)  Add the milk and cook until evaporated, about 5 minutes

 

5)  Add the wine and cook until evaporated, about 5 minutes

 

6)  Add the diced tomatoes and tomato paste and bring to a boil. 

 

7)  Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, for 4-5 hours. You will want to stir this about every 20 minutes to ensure nothing sticks to the bottom of the pot.

 

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HOW TO MAKE ZUCCHINI NOODLES

 

Blanch zucchnini noodles in boiling water for just 1 minute, remove and drain (you can easily do this ahead of time).

 

When ready to serve, get a large frying pan REALLY hot, add a bit of olive oil and then add the noodles.  Turn the heat down to medium and cook, tossing frequently, for 3-4 minutes, or until the noodles start to brown a bit in places (the timing will depend on how many noodles you have in the pan).  Sprinkle with salt and move to your plate.

 
SERVE

 

Salt and pepper to taste, serve overzucchini noodles (above) for a gluten free option, or over pasta of choice. 

 

Top with shredded parmesan as desired.

 

Recipe & Photo Credit:  Cathy Menees

INGREDIENTS

 

My go-too *dry white wine is a savignon blanc or a pinot grigio.  Steer clear of chardonnay or reisling as they are far too sweet for this dish.

 

One zucchini per person may sound and look like a lot, but trust me, they cook down quite a bit!

 

EAT THIS:  This is such a no-brainer meal to add to your standard diet - full of vitamins, minerals, fiber, anti-oxidents and zero processed foods, it's a 'free' meal in all respects. 

KITCHEN BUDDIES

 

I use a food processor to not only mince the mushrooms, but to finely dice the onion, carrot and celery as well – makes the prep time less than 10 minutes!  The fine mince is also best when you have picky eaters...they don't see the bits of food they 'think' they don't like!

 

The Wonderbag is ideal to enable a slow cook and retention of flavor and nutrients (i.e. you're not opening the sauce to stir, so all goodness is trapped inside).  Because we all know that Bolognese is ‘better the second or third day’ I like to make this recipe the night before and leave it overnight in the Wonderbag.  The next morning, I simply remove my pot and place it on the stove for 10 minutes (covered) to bring it back to a boil, and then seal in back inside the Wonderbag for the rest of the day to get that ‘third day’ taste in less than 24 hours!

 

A spiral slicer (pictured) is the best tool for making the zucchini noodles.  You can use various graters as well.

COOKING

 

There are a few ways to cook zucchini noodles.  The easiest is to simply place them in boiling water for 3-4 minutes, drain and sprinkle with salt.  I feel like they lack a bit of flavor when I do that.  This is why I blanch them first to soften and partially cook them, then sear in the pan to get flavor into the 'noodles' themseleves.

COOKS NOTES
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