Walnut Mushroom Bolognese

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This delicious recipe for bolognese with walnuts and mushrooms will please everyone from vegetarians to carnivores.

Walnut Mushroom Bolognese Pasta in a White Bowl with Bronze Fork and Spoon to its Left
Photo: Caitlin Bensel
Hands On Time:
30 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs 15 mins
Servings:
6

Italian-inspired Bolognese finds new life in this plant-forward pasta recipe, which pairs mushrooms—aka, savory vegetarian superstars—with finely chopped walnuts. Though this duo might seem like an unlikely pairing, they're two go-to ingredients for finding rich, savory meat-like texture and taste in a meat-free package. Here, they're treated just like ground beef would be in the classic sauce—braised with aromatics, white wine, tomato paste, and finished with a glug of creamy half-and-half. Of course, if you want the recipe to be 100 percent plant-based, an unsweetened non-dairy creamer works, too. You'll be glad to keep this sauce on hand for weeknights. And during the holiday season or any other cause for celebration, this satisfying pasta makes for a delicious main.

Pro tip: Be sure to salt the pasta water generously before cooking the tagliatelle!

Ingredients

  • 1 pound cremini mushrooms, trimmed and quartered

  • 1 cup toasted walnuts

  • 1 yellow onion, quartered

  • 1 medium carrot, chopped

  • 1 medium stalk celery, chopped

  • 6 tablespoons olive oil, divided

  • 1.25 teapsoon kosher salt, divided

  • ½ cup dry white wine

  • .333333 cup tomato paste

  • 2 cups vegetable stock

  • .25 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • ½ cup half-and-half

  • 1 pound tagliatelle pasta, cooked

  • Grated Parmesan cheese, for serving

Directions

  1. Working in 2 batches, pulse mushrooms in a food processor until finely chopped. Transfer to a bowl. Add walnuts to food processor; pulse until finely chopped. Transfer to a medium bowl. Add onion, carrot, and celery to food processor; process until very finely chopped.

  2. Heat ¼ cup oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Add mushrooms in an even layer; cook, undisturbed, until browned in spots, about 8 minutes. Season with ½ teaspoon salt, toss, and cook for 1 minute. Transfer to bowl with walnuts. Reduce heat to medium. Add remaining 2 tablespoons oil to skillet. Stir in onion mixture and ¼ teaspoon salt; cook, stirring often, until mixture is golden and almost dry, 10 to 12 minutes. Stir in mushrooms and walnuts. Add wine; cook until absorbed, 2 to 3 minutes. Add tomato paste; cook, stirring, until combined, about 5 minutes. Add stock; simmer over low, stirring once or twice, until sauce is very thick, 35 to 40 minutes. Add pepper, remaining ½ teaspoon salt, and half-and-half; cook, stirring, for 2 minutes

  3. Toss pasta with desired amount of sauce. Serve with cheese. Place any remaining sauce in an airtight container; refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months.

Why Walnuts?

When finely chopped, this buttery nut mimics ground meat in sauces and fillings. However you use walnuts, you'll score heart-healthy omega-3s and inflammation-fighting polyphenols (found only in plants!)

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