This kid-friendly vegetable bolognese recipe is a great way to introduce vegetables to your family. Packed with 5 different vegetables along with walnuts, this vegan pasta recipe is healthy and delicious.
We love pasta in our homes—not only is it an easy-to-prepare food, but it’s also a great base for paring with nutrient-dense sauces, like this vegetable Bolognese.
Ever since making this a few months ago, it’s had a starring role in my kitchen ever since. I love that my kids gobble it down, and it’s incredibly customizable. Sometimes I’ll add in a can of cooked lentils and sometimes I’ll even add in browned plant-based meat, for an extra-rich taste.
Why we love this recipe
It really is hard to believe that this one packs in 5 different vegetables, along with omega-3-rich walnuts. Carrots, zucchini, mushrooms, garlic, and onion are all finely diced in a food processor to make a mince, then sauteed until very browned and reduced.
- Jarred pasta sauce
- Pasta of choice
How to Make this Recipe
- Finely chop the vegetables
Start by pulsing the vegetables in a food processor. As the key to the sauce is very finely chopped vegetables, we recommend doing this in batches. We use our food processor, but you can also use a blender in smaller batches.
To make things easy, we do the carrots first, then the onion and garlic. Then the zucchini and mushrooms and lastly, the walnuts.
- Cook the vegetables
Once the vegetables are finely chopped, heat olive oil in a large skillet or saucepan. Add in the vegetables along with the herbs and salt and cook until very reduced and softened, about 15-20 minutes.
- Add in the sauce
Add in 1 jar of your favorite sauce or about 2 ½ cups. Any pasta sauce works in this recipe, and we are partial to Rao’s and Vero Gusto when we can find it on sale, but Trader Joe’s also has a great tomato basil sauce as does Barilla.
- Toss and combine!
When ready to serve, toss with cooked pasta of choice and enjoy. We also love this with vegan parmesan, either homemade or store-bought, or any parmesan. Our go-to brand is Violife.
Tips for Serving for Infants and for BLW
To make this sauce work for the entire family, then we’d recommend not adding salt until after you’ve served baby’s portions. You can also choose a low-sodium pasta sauce or one without added salt.
For baby-led weaning, penne is our go-to pasta shape of choice as it’s easy to fit in a palmar grasp. Infants can hold the penne and gnaw the pasta off the ends.
Tips for Cooking Pasta
As we eat a lot of pasta in my house, these are the tips that I use to make the best pasta at home. When cooking your noodles, cook until just under al-dente, usually 1-2 minutes, then drain and reserve 1 cup of pasta water.
Add the cooked pasta to the warmed pasta sauce along with a splash of the pasta water. Then, toss continuously until the pasta is cooked, adding in a splash of pasta water as needed to help thin the sauce as needed. The pasta water helps the sauce cling to the pasta and finishing the pasta in the sauce adds in so much flavor.
For an extra glossy pasta, you can add in a little dairy-free butter just before serving. Off heat, I like to add in a generous serving of parmesan cheese and then toss to fully combine.
We hope you love this veggie Bolognese pasta as much as we do! If you try it, come back to leave a comment and a rating. Your feedback helps other readers and we love seeing you make our recipes.
Vegetable Bolognese Recipe
- 1 carrot peeled and cut into chunks
- 1/2 large onion peeled and cut into chunks
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1/2 large zucchini (or 1 small zucchini) cut into chunks
- 1/4 cup walnuts
- 4 ounces mushrooms trimmed
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1 40 ounce jar of your favorite pasta sauce
- 12 ounces uncooked pasta of choice
- Place the carrot and onion in the base of a food processor and pulse until very finely diced, like the photos above. Remove and set aside.
- Next, add the zucchini and mushrooms in the base of a food processor (no need to wipe out) and pulse until very finely diced. Remove and set aside.
- Finally, place the walnuts in the base of a food processor (no need to wipe out) and pulse until very finely diced. Remove and set aside.
- Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the finely minced vegetables and walnuts along with the salt. Cook for 15 minutes until reduced, softened and mushrooms have browned.Stir in the Italian seasinung.
- Add in tthe pasta sauce and simmer another 20-30 minutes over low heat until cooked through.
- While the sauce is cooking, bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta until just al dente, reserving 1/2 cup of pasta water. Add the cooked pasta to the warmed sauce along with a splash of pasta and toss until the pasta is fully cooked and pasta clings to the sauce. If using parmesan, remove from heat and stir in.