No, this isn’t some kind of joke, and you don’t have to be a vegetarian to love what’s going on here. Chopped-up cauliflower and mushrooms provide comparable richness and texture to what you usually get from the classic long-cooked ground meat sauce.
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Pulse mushrooms in a food processor until finely chopped. Transfer to a small bowl. Wipe out food processor bowl.
Working in 3 batches, pulse cauliflower in food processor until pieces are about the size of a grain of rice (some smaller and some larger ones are fine), transferring to a medium bowl as you go.
Heat ¼ cup oil and 2 Tbsp. butter in a Dutch oven or other large heavy pot over medium-high. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, 4–6 minutes. Add onion and 2 Tbsp. oil to pot. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is very soft and golden brown, 6–8 minutes. Add garlic, chile, and rosemary and cook, stirring occasionally, until garlic is softened and mixture is very fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add tomato paste and cook, stirring constantly, until paste is slightly darkened, about 2 minutes. Add cauliflower and cook, yes, still stirring occasionally, until cauliflower is cooked down slightly and begins to stick to bottom of pot, 6–8 minutes. Season with salt, then keep warm over low heat.
Meanwhile, cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until almost al dente, about 1 minute less than package directions.
Using a slotted spoon, transfer pasta to pot with sauce. Add 1 cup Parmesan, remaining 2 Tbsp. butter, and 1 cup pasta cooking liquid. Increase heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, until pasta is al dente and sauce is clinging to pasta, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in parsley. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt (it'll probably need another pinch or two). Finely zest lemon over pasta and toss once more.
Divide pasta among bowls. Top with more Parmesan, then drizzle with oil.
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Reviews (113)Back to Top
This is one of my favorite BA recipes. So satisfying. Also a great meal to make ahead and freeze. My go-to for camping.
Always will be people that have a "better way". But don't have the guts to do their own recipes. Just sit back and criticize... This recipe, iffollowedas stated, is really good. Hearty, healthy and tasty. Just try it and decide for yourself. Liked it a lot.
I was reading the recipe carefully and although I didn't make it yet, it seems this recipe is something I would like. I would not chop the mushrooms very small because they are supposed to sub the meat in vegetarian dishes and I really like them. Another thing is I always cook the mushrooms and the onions together... it seems it's time wasting to cook vegetables separately, if they have the approximate cooking time. Another thing is the addition of 1 cup of pasta water to the dish. I understand adding a few tablespoons to adjust the liquid in a recipe, but make the sauce with a whole cup of pasta water seems strange to me. Maybe I would add chicken or vegetable broth instead? I would give it a chance, but I would make this recipe less time consuming, by cooking some of the vegetables together and using broth instead of pasta water.
North Carolina, US
Followed recipe exactly. A lot of effort with bland results.
I DON'T understand people who leave a negative review after subbing out most of the recipe...I followed the recipe as written except used a mix of mushrooms, which was what was available in my grocery store. I DO NOT like mushrooms, but I gave this a go since we are trying to eat some plant-based meals once in awhile. It was really good. It had the texture of bolgnese, and a good depth of flavor. By chopping up the mushrooms I really couldn't tell they were in there. I will make this again., and will also pass it along to friends who are vegetarian.
Great recipe. Going to make it again this week.
Haddon Heights, NJ
Ignore the negative reviews left by those who went off-script!! This was so good and satisfying. You really don’t miss the meat just like Andy said. :) Followed the recipe to a T, except I was a little short on cremini mushrooms and added mushroom powder to help make up the difference. Used the food processor to also chop the onion. Opted for the chili flakes rather than a fresh pepper. If you follow the recipe as written, I can’t imagine how this comes out as poorly as others described.
I made this with 'nomato' sauce, and it still turned out great!
Super surprised that people say it didn't turn out like the picture, as I felt like this was one of the easiest recipes I've ever made to get looking like the "styled" photo. I used fresh shiitakes and got them nice and browned before moving on, same deal with every ingredient, and followed the recipe exactly. I would imagine adding a bunch of extra veggies (like carrots/celery even though they're "traditional") would water down the sauce, as would using chanterelles instead of the recommended shiitakes (chanterelles are probably 2-3 times as "wet" as shiitakes), so that could be peoples' issue? Also, using "double concentrated" tomato paste (the kind that comes in a tube) per recipe instructions is essential: if you're just using the normal canned stuff you're skimping on a lot of potential umami. I'm not a vegetarian and have had "real" bolognese countless times, and while not an exact copy, this is a very good dish in its own right. A tip to help beef up the flavor and texture might be to use as little water and as much salt as possible when cooking your pasta to really up the starchy broth factor, and only add to the sauce a quarter cup at a time, stirring vigorously until it reaches a velvety consistency. I wonder to myself about people who start by changing a bunch about the recipe and then comment how it didn't work for them...
This was such a painful dish to cook. At every turn it was so far away from what it needed to be... But I'm not a vegetarian and neither is anyone in my family. I'm just on a mission to feed them more veggies. I changed a lot about the recipe but I stayed true to it being vegetarian. I started off with a basic assortment of carrots, onions, garlic to get the "sauce going." I used the food processor for my mushrooms (chanterelles and crimini) and cauliflower. 1 head of cauliflower was way too much. I minced the rosemary and added some sage. All the veg created an enormous amount of water - no bueno - and I spent the good part of an hour trying to "cook it off." I added an embarrassing amount of salt and pepper (not to mention red wine) just to give the whole thing color and an attempt towards flavor. Against my better judgment I added in the cheese to the sauce (which I normally would never do) and it showed. The sauce was stringy and goopy and just not bolognese. Sad to say - my family ate it but I got nasty looks all through dinner. I'm trying to figure out what neighborhood dog to feed the leftovers to since even our parrots looked at me like I was nuts. If I had no idea what 'real' bolognese was supposed to taste like...maybe...just maybe...this could work. Anyone who's eaten the real deal will eat this and cry themselves to sleep at night.
Mill Valley, CA
I’ve made this a million times, sometimes subbing with what I have on hand. It’s so good when omnivores have it, they don’t realize there’s no meat. Mushroom haters don’t know there’s mushrooms in it. It’s so savory and delicious! It can be made vegan easily without compromising flavor.
Full disclosure - I subbed cauliflower with carrots. This recipe is awesome. The End. Not really....I did some research (I'm a researcher) after making the substitution thinking I'd chosen a more nutrient dense (and flavorful) veg with carrots. I was surprised. Moving forward I will absolutely make this recipe again, but I will use a 50/50 mix of carrots and cauliflower. They balance what the other lacks, like any good relationship. Look, I love meat. I'm not proud of it and I'm trying to inch towards vegetarian every day for ethical, health, and environmental reasons. However, I did not miss meat in this recipe one single bit. It is robust, so flavorful and satisfying that I didn't feel the need for parm. I'm one of those people who likes a lot of richness in my food. I have a high metabolism and my body craves fat, but this was perfect for me as is. With the following exceptions that were just regular items for me: I added thyme, a bay leaf, and a splash of red wine like many others here. This will be in regular rotation. Andy never disappoints. BA: Please make your recipes filterable by chef, please and thank you.
How could this turn out so bad? I did everything as written. It is Not Edible. I am thinking some of the steps need to be changed up - onions first, garlic next - hello? No way would the onions brown to golden after the sticky mushroom mush was "done", an throwing on the cauli-rice... I just wanted to cry. 1/3 cup double concentrate tomato paste made not one dent in the non-de-script colour of the cauliflower- mushroom stuff. Who took that mouth-watering photo anyway? Finally, I decided life was too short to safe this. Anyone else had this experience or was I targeted by bad food energy?
Terrace, BC Canada
Why are stems removed?
Haven't made it yet, but I will be adding carrot and celery as the traditional recipe calls for. The mushroom and cauli are great subs for the meat.