A flavorful and easy vegetarian Cauliflower Bolognese chock full of lentils and savory bolognese flavors we love! This recipe is vegetarian or vegan + optionally gluten free
My friend Emilie, the creator of the popular blog The Clever Carrot, just published her first cookbook! I’m grateful to be part of this celebration of accomplishment, and joy and to share the love of simply good food with y’all! I’ve been a reader of The Clever Carrot for a long time and I’ve been soooo… looking forward to this. It’s finally here!
When I received Emilie’s new book, I couldn’t put it down. Rob had just returned home with the mail in hand. We were due in town and had to leave straight away. I ripped open the envelope and there it was; The Clever Cookbook. Rushing out the door, I took it with me and proceeded to turn page after page, gazing at Emilie’s beautiful photography and inspiring recipes. Every recipe has a photograph, y’all.
The Clever Cookbook; Get Ahead Strategies and Timesaving Tips for Stress-Free Home Cooking is chock full of timesaving tips and practical advice, from prep-ahead vegetables to batch-cooking grains, make preparing meals on busy nights a little less time consuming.
In addition to fabulous recipes, she shares quick tips to boost flavor without spending loads of extra time in the kitchen. Emilie not only uses these double-duty flavor boosters in her recipes, but shares tips on how to incorporate them in any recipe.
Have you ever dumped curry powder on your oatmeal instead of cinnamon? I’ve been there and laughed when I read about Emilie’s experience with this! Emilie shares tips to get organized in the spice department and how to make homemade spice blends, just one example of her flavor-boosting tips.
One of my favorite practical sections is on beans. Emilie shares how to prepare several varieties of beans from scratch, with or without soaking and in the slow cooker, taking the mystery out of how to cook beans.
But it’s not just the tips, recipes and photographs that give me reason to love this book. Emilie’s wit, humor and warmth shine in her casual style of writing. I feel as though I’m in the kitchen with her cooking, sharing stories with a glass of wine in hand.
While The Clever Cookbook is not purely vegetarian, some recipes are and many recipes are easily adaptable. Like this Cauliflower Bolognese can easily be made vegan by subbing the dairy butter with dairy free butter. Emilie’s book is one I’ll return to for practical tips, inspiration, and delicious recipes. “Because at the end of the day, we all have to eat.”
If you’ve not visited The Clever Carrot, you can catch Emilie on her blog, and her book is available for purchase on Amazon.
More Scrumptious Vegetarian (and Vegan) Cauliflower Recipes to Love!
- Chana Dal with Cauliflower Coconut Milk and Cashews
- Cauliflower Tinga Tacos
- Cauliflower Potato Red Lentil Curry
- Roasted Cauliflower Mac and Cheese
- Thai Vegetable Cauliflower Fried “Rice” with Cashews
Cauliflower Bolognese Recipe
- 1 Small Head of Cauliflower
- 2 Tbs Unsalted Butter sub vegan butter
- 1 C Diced Onions 160g
- 1 Clove Garlic grated
- 2, 28 oz Cans of Whole Plum Tomatoes in thick puree, [794g]
- 1/2 C Red Lentils uncooked 96g
- Coarse Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper
- 1 lb Thin Spaghetti Gluten Free if needed 454g
- Drizzle of Olive Oil
- Leaves Handful of Fresh Basil
- Wedge of Parmesan Cheese for grating
- Slice the cauliflower in half, removing the thick center core. Cut into large chunks. Add to a food processor, break up the cauliflower into florets. Do not dump all of the cauliflower at once. You'll need to process in batches to create uniform pieces. Pulse the cauliflower, only 1-2 times. It will look crumbly with small florets through-this is perfect. Dump the mixture into a large bowl and repeat this step until you've processed all of the cauliflower.
- In a large heavy-bottomed pot, warm the butter over low heat. Add the onions and saute' until soft, about 3-5 minutes.
- Add the cauliflower to the pot. Increase the heat to medium and continue to cook stirring occasionally until the cauliflower begins to lose its shape and takes on a light golden color, about 5-6 minutes. Grate in the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Pour in the tomatoes and red lentils. Mix until well combined.
- Place the lid on top and bring the sauce to a gentle boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer (covered), for about 30 minutes. Remove the lid and cook for an additional 15 minutes or so, until the cauliflower is tender and the lentils are broken down. The sauce should look thickened. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- When you're about ready to eat, bring a pot of water to a boil. Cook the pasta according to the package instructions. Drain, retaining about 1/2 cup of pasta water (See Note) and return to the pot. Drizzle with olive oil to coat.
- Portion your hearty cauliflower sauce over the pasta, drizzle in some of the pasta water to create desired consistency and top with basil leaves and freshly grated Parmesan cheese, to serve.
Are lentils cooked or uncooked?
Hi George! The lentils are uncooked, then added to the pot to cook with the rest of the ingredients. I hope this helps (I added clarification in the ingredient list).
Hello! Sorry but can you tell me if this recipe calls for one or two 28 oz cans of plum tomatoes? Thanks! I’m looking forward to trying out this recipe.
Hi Debra! So sorry for the confusion. It is 2, 28oz cans. Thank you for your note and I hope you enjoy it!
Anjali @ Vegetarian Gastronomy
I’m totally into a cauliflower craze right now and this looks delicious! I haven’t tried bolognese ever, but have seen many recipes otu there…this one sounds like a perfect try!
It really is a great recipe with plenty off hands of time to prep a salad. If you love cauli, you’ll love this recipe Anjali! :D
I hope you enjoy it Theresa! Oh thats the sweetest, you and your husband prep together! Love it! Extra lunches is a smart idea and the freezer saves me so many time too. Because, like you said, plans change! It’s nice to have something on the ready when you need it! Thank you for sharing Theresa! :D
I use my freezer to save time. Through trial and error, I have a good group of things that I make, freeze uncooked, and then can cook quickly. Since I’m cheese free, I make about 6 full sized pizzas at a time, wrap them really well, and make my own homemade frozen pizzas. Another huge time saving tip is freezing pesto in ice cube trays then putting them in a baggie. Saves SO much time!
Oh my Mandy! The freezer saves me frequently! I love your tip about frozen pizzas. So smart on those nights when you just can fit anything else in! Thank you too for your tip on freezing pesto in ice cubes. I need to remember that because I just stuff it in a jar and have to thaw it all out when needed. I love the ice cube tip! Thank you for sharing Mandy! :D
Traci, this post is pure delight for the eyes! And I’m doubly delighted, in that I’m always on the lookout for new ways to eat more cauliflower. And this one has such a chic presentation! Thanks for the great addition to my recipe collection.
My favorite time-saving practice is salad-related. I’m a-salad-a-day kind of girl, generally eaten for lunch when I’m in the midst of busy,busy. And… to top it off, I prefer chopped salads (of course I would want the most labor-intensive kind!! :)), with several different types of greens, as well as a selection of hard vegetables, often a grain and some beans, and flavor pops like olives, capers, sun-dried tomatoes, etc.- I want the salad to be my entire meal, with all the needed nutrients.
So when I prep for a salad, I make enough for several days:
The night before, I cook and cool a pot of grains, and rinse and drain the beans. Then each goes into separate jars in the frig,
On prep day, I start by putting some of the beans and grains in a large mixing bowl. Next, I chop and shred all the greens, dice and mince the hard veggies (like celery, snap peas, peppers, carrots, etc), and add to the bowl. I toss on any “dry” toppers, like chopped sun-dried tomatoes, sunflower seeds, hemp seeds, etc., and stir it all up, Then I put it in glass jars in the frig.
When it’s time to eat, I just pour some of the prepped greens mixture into my bowl, toss on a few capers or olives, cut a couple of cherry tomatoes, add avocado, season it, and sprinkle with lemon juice and a drizzle of olive oil.
I know it sounds like a lot of work, but it saves a LOT of time for the several days between prep work!!
I’m so happy you like the Bolognese, Thia. Cauliflower is a favorite of mine too. You are talking my kind of salad here! I’ve shared several like this on the blog, but I love how you organize yours and prep them ahead. Putting the components into jars is smart and allows for a fresher taste when ready to assemble! I’m with you too on the more ‘stuff’ you can pack in your salads, the better. It really is worth the time and effort. Slow food is my kind of food! And it can be done… it just takes some time, creativity and attention. Love this my dear! Thank you for sharing! :D
I freeze A LOT! I usually make lunches for my son at school so I cook as much as I can at once. There are bags of mini sandwich buns and stuffed pizza. I partially prep some ingredients just so I can freeze then take out and less work later. I will double batches of casseroles, serve one for dinner and freeze the other. I usually like to take the time to cook, but sometimes there are those days, where having premade food not from a box is really nice.
Such a smart tip Jeannie! Freezing saves me too.. saves me stress! :D Thats such a good thing, making lunches for your son. Saves time for other important things… like spending time with your son! Definitely having food not from a box is a good thing! Thank you for sharing my dear! :D
Kylee @ Kylee Cooks
I love to prep things ahead for the week. Wash, peel and chop veggies needed for the first few days. Have some back up meals in the freezer in case of a change in plans, and meal plan meal plan meal plan!!!!
Oh my… that’s the theme of the day! Meal Plan, Meal Plan, Meal Plan, Kylee! Such an important thing to do for one’s sanity! Freezer back up meals are sooo smart. It totally takes the stress off when you just don’t feel like cooking and oging out is NOT an option! Thank you for sharing Kylee! :D
Looking forward to trying this recipe. Very interested in this ckbk as I’ve given up eating red meat.
Way to go on your new food journey! I hope you enjoy this Stephanie!
Dawn at Girl Heart Food
Oooooh! I’m totally down with this recipe!! Looks delicious and I love that there’s not a lot of ingredients. Definitely going to have to make this one :)
It’s soo good Dawn…. there’s so much flavor for such a simple list of ingredients. You’re going to love this!
Can not wait to make this! :) I too like to plan my meals for the week and use my Sunday left overs to make soup or stirfry, pot pie, etc. I am always interested to learn/try new time saving cooking ideas.
Planning seems to be a common theme and an important one. I know if I don’t plan, I’m left scrambling and it’s too stressful! So, I’m with you Billie Jo! Plan, plan plan! Thank you for sharing!
Using a garbage bowl, ie, when I am prepping food, having a bowl next to me for things I am going to discard.
Great idea! I do this too, but use two. One to separate trash and the other for compost. Fewer trips to the trash makes for speedy meals and quicker clean up! Great tip, Christine! Thank you for sharing!