Pasta with Cauliflower Walnut “Meat” Sauce

Meat Your Match

Craving a bowl of Bolognese pasta but not the meat? We have the perfect recipe! Whether you’re vegetarian, vegan or just cutting down on certain proteins, our pasta with cauliflower and walnut “meat” sauce is a must! It’s so hearty and delicious, we bet your fam won’t even notice that walnuts and cauliflower take the place of ground beef in this meat-free take on a classic recipe.

“This meatless recipe is great because it sneaks in an extra serving of veggies and some heart-healthy monounsaturated fats.”

Carolyn Schut, MS, RD, LD, CLC Registered Dietitian, Health Plan of Nevada


For the “meat”:

  • 3 cups raw cauliflower florets (about 1 medium crown)
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast flakes
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke or Worcestershire
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder

For the sauce:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup dry red wine
  • 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano or Italian mix seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (or to taste)
  • 2 tablespoons organic granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1-pound box of your preferred pasta


  1. Start by making the cauliflower walnut crumbles. Preheat the oven to 375 F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Place the cauliflower, walnuts, nutritional yeast, soy sauce, red wine vinegar, liquid smoke, onion powder and garlic powder into the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until finely chopped. The consistency should be similar to ground beef.
  3. Spread the mixture evenly on the baking sheet and bake for about 30 minutes, flipping halfway through, until browned around the edges. You may need to bake longer, depending on your oven.
  4. While the crumbles bake, coat the bottom of a large pot with olive oil and place it over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the onion and sauté until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté about 1 minute more, until very fragrant.
  5. Stir in the wine and bring it to a simmer. Allow it to simmer until reduced by about half, about 5 minutes.
  6. Stir in the crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes, oregano, red pepper flakes and sugar. Raise the heat and bring the mixture to a boil. Lower the heat and allow it to simmer, uncovered, until it thickens up a bit, about 25 minutes.
  7. While the crumbles bake and the sauce simmers, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook it according to the package directions. When finished cooking, drain the pasta into a colander and return it to the pot.
  8. When the sauce finishes simmering, stir in the basil and season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir in the cauliflower-walnut crumbles.
  9. Divide the pasta onto plates and top with sauce. Serve immediately.

Nutrition information per serving

Makes: 6 servings

Saturated Fat1g
Sodium787 mg
Potassium726 mg
Calcium90 mg
Iron5.6 mg
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