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Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Veggie Bolognese

I was recently challenged with creating a menu for a new client who was on a low protein diet, due to a genetic disordered called phenylketonuria, or PKU.  Think vegan, minus beans, nuts and tofu.  This certainly stretched my culinary creativity, but I was able to come up with, a colorful and well balanced set of meals, that met all of the client's dietary restrictions. 

Low-Protein Menu:

Vegetarian Chili-PKU friendly
Vegetarian chili with red pepper, garlic, fire roasted tomatoes, zucchini, butternut squash and sweet potatoes with classic chili seasonings of cumin and chili powder.

Roasted Seasonal Vegetables
Fresh, seasonal vegetables, roasted simply with olive oil, salt and pepper

Meal 2

Vegan Stuffed Mushrooms (PKU-friendly)
Baby Bella mushrooms stuffed with a sun-dried tomato, parsley and basil pesto.

Dairy Free Scalloped Potatoes
Gluten free and dairy free scalloped potatoes. Thin sliced potatoes in a creamy sauce made with vegetable broth and coconut milk.

Meal 3

Cauliflower Bolognese
All veggie "bolognese" sauce, made with cauliflower, mushrooms, carrots, onion, celery and tomatoes. Serve on top of quinoa, pasta or zucchini noodles.

Meal 4

Cauliflower Fried Rice [Vegan, Gluten-Free]
Cauliflower "rice" loaded with corn, onion, garlic, peas and carrots sauteed in a sesame-soy sauce

Asian Coleslaw with Ginger-Soy Dressing
Napa cabbage, red cabbage, carrots, and scallions with a dressing made of lime juice, olive oil, ginger, rice vinegar and soy sauce.

I was quite pleased with all of these recipes, but particularly enjoyed the taste of the bolognese, or perhaps I should call it "Faux-lognese" sauce.  This dish keeps well in the refrigerator for up to 3 days and actually tastes better the next day, after the flavors have had time to mix and mingle.  I made this recipe for my meat-eating family and received favorable reviews.

I loved the challenge of creating something that veered from my norm and hope that you will enjoy this recipe as much as I did.

Always remember to make every plate something to be passionate about!

Veggie Bolognese:

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 cup chopped yellow onion
1/4 cup chopped celery
1/4 cup chopped carrots
4 cloves garlic, grated
16 oz cremini mushroom, blitzed into rice sized pieces a food processor
1 head cauliflower, riced in a food processor (about 4 cups)
1 teaspoon Braggs sprinkle
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 dried bay leaf
4 tablespoons tomato paste
1 28 oz can of fire roasted crushed tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar

Optional Garnish:
Chopped fresh basil
Nutritional yeast


1)  In a large Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat and add in the onion, celery and carrots.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables have softened.  About 5 minutes.  Add in the garlic and stir to combine with onion mixture.

2)  Add in processed mushrooms, stir to combine and cook for 6-8 minutes until all the liquid from the mushrooms has evaporated.  It is very important to evaporate as much liquid as possible from the mushrooms or you will end up with a watery sauce.

3) Stir in the riced cauliflower and continue cooking for another 5 minutes before adding in the spices and tomato paste.  Stir to combine the spices and tomato paste and cook for 2-3 additional minutes.

4)  Stir in the crushed tomatoes and sugar.  Bring mixture to a boil, then cover and lower heat.  Cook for 20 minutes.  Remove lid, discard bay leaf and adjust seasonings. Serve on top of pasta, quinoa or zucchini noodles.

5) Garnish with fresh chopped basil and a dusting of nutritional yeast