Cooking on Gas! Spaghetti with Cauliflower Walnut Meat Sauce

Recipe – (with a couple of tweaks)

Recently I realised that I’m cooking the same few meals over and over again and looked around for something new to try. Came across this recipe and thought it might be another one the boys would enjoy. This was my first attempt at cooking a plant based version of a family favourite – Spaghetti Bolognese – ably assisted by my sister as I was staying over at hers for the weekend. Hence the title – Cooking on Gas! I have an electric cooker at home but gas is so much more responsive when turning down to simmer for instance.


  • 3 cups cauliflower florets (about 1 medium crown)
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast flakes
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil (I used water)
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup dry red wine
  • 1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 (14 ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano (I used a mix of Basil and Thyme instead)
    • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (I used red chilli flakes – it’s what we had)
  • 1 teaspoon organic granulated sugar (I used maple syrup)
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 12 ounces dried spaghetti


  1. Begin by making the cauliflower walnut crumbles. Preheat the oven to 375F 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, stopping to scrape down the insides of the bowl as needed.
  3. Distribute the mixture evenly on the baking sheet and bake for about 30 minutes, flipping halfway through until browned around the edges
  4. While the crumbles bake, coat the bottom of a large pot with olive oil (I used water) and place over a medium heat. When 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 to a boil. Lower the heat and allow it to simmer, uncovered, until it thickens up a bit, 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, about 25minutes
  7. While the crumbles bake and the sauce simmers, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook according to package instructions. When cooked, drain and return to the pot. Toss with a dash of olive oil (I omitted this)
  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.
This is the cauliflower-walnut mix. I made a larger quantity – 1 1/2 times the recipe so we’d have additional meals for the week
Sautéd onions using water – one of my top tips!

I personally choose not to use oil and so for the last 10 months have used either water or vegetable broth to sauté. I don’t miss the taste of oil and really its not needed.

Don’t need oil to brown the onions

Don’t add too much water at the beginning as the onions will steam rather than sauté. The secret to sautéing with water or vegetable broth is to add a little more water if the onion or other vegetables start to stick to the pan.

This was half way through baking the cauliflower-walnut mix, before attempting to flip it over

We didn’t have any parchment paper so we used greaseproof paper to line the baking tray. We almost came unstuck at this point – or rather the mix almost stuck to the paper! Sis came to the rescue and saved the day.

Turning attention to the sauce – the Red Wine deglazed the pan perfectly

Top tip – As is often the case, we were missing an ingredient – Coriander – so I googled what could be used instead. The search came up with using Thyme or Basil in its place. In my experience there is always an alternative so don’t let a missing ingredient put you off making the recipe. I also don’t use sugar so chose to use maple syrup instead.

The “faux” meat out of the oven and the sauce ready

All that remained was to combine the baked cauliflower-walnut mix with the sauce and serve over spaghetti. The resulting sauce wasn’t as tomato ‘coloured’ as I expected so I added a tablespoon of tomato paste and cooked for a little longer.

The final product – should have saved some fresh basil leaves for presentation purposes!

The verdict – if you are expecting this to taste anything like a meat Bolognese sauce, think again! After discussing with my sister, it was the texture that was missing and she suggested leaving the cauliflower in larger chunks. The beauty of following any recipe is that you can amend it to suit your own taste. We thought we could add mushrooms for instance and my sister also wondered about not mixing the cauliflower- walnut mix into the sauce. So pasta, sauce and the mix on top – to keep more of the texture. We’ll certainly try that next time. Also, think about adding the green leafy stuff, kale or spinach for instance, either in the sauce or as a side.

Nutrition Facts – as per the original recipe: amounts per serving

  • Calories – 481 – from Fat 170
  • Fat 18.9g
  • Sodium 787mg
  • Potassium 726mg
  • Carbohydrates 55.7g
  • Protein 20g
  • Calcium 90mg
  • Iron 5.6mg

If you make this recipe, let me know what you think, and if you tweak it to suit you, I would love to hear about that too.

Please Like, share and/or comment including ideas for future posts. My aim in writing this blog is to provide information, tips and advice to aid those thinking about or already following a plant-based diet. I’m no expert but I can pass on what I know and what I’ve learned since deciding to follow a wfpbno lifestyle.

Published by smith57angel

Passionate about a Whole food plant based lifestyle. After years of yo-yo dieting I decided to tackle my weight problem once and for all. The difference this time being I focused on my health in terms of what I was putting in to my body. Health improved and weight reduced.

2 thoughts on “Cooking on Gas! Spaghetti with Cauliflower Walnut Meat Sauce

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