Cauliflower Bolognese

March 26, 2020

If you’re craving a hearty pasta sauce but avoiding meat, or just don’t have any at home, try Chef Xavier’s vegetarian twist on a bolognese sauce. By the name of the recipe, you probably have already guessed what the substitution for ground beef is—cauliflower! This cruciferous vegetable is high in fiber and provides antioxidants, which we can all use while we’re making the best of this challenging time.


  • 12 oz. mushrooms, such as shiitake or crimini, stems removed
  • 1 medium head of cauliflower (about 2 1/4 lbs) broken into florets
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, plus some for drizzling
  • 4 tbsp. unsalted butter, divided 
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped 
  • 6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 tbsp. finely chopped rosemary
  • 1/3 cup double-concentrated tomato paste
  • Kosher salt to taste
  • 1 lbs. rigatoni 
  • 2 oz. finely grated parmesan cheese (about 1 cup), plus a little more for garnish
  • 3 tbsp. finely chopped parsley
  • 1/2 lemon


  1. Pulse mushrooms in a food processor until finely chopped, then transfer to a small bowl.  Wipe out the food processor bowl.
  2. Working in three batches, pulse the cauliflower in the food processor until pieces are about the size of grains of rice (some smaller and some larger ones are fine), transferring to a medium bowl as you go.
  3. Heat 1/4 cup oil and 2 tbsp. butter in a large, heavy pot over medium-high heat.  
  4. Add the mushrooms to the pot and cook, stirring occasionally until golden brown, about 4-6 minutes. 
  5. Add the onions and 2 tbsp. of oil to the pot. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are very soft and golden brown, 6-8 minutes.  
  6. Add garlic, red pepper flakes, and rosemary and cook, stirring occasionally, until garlic is softened and the mixture is very fragrant, about 3 minutes.  
  7. Add tomato paste and cook, stirring occasionally until paste is slightly darkened, about 2 minutes.  
  8. Add cauliflower and cook, stirring occasionally until the cauliflower is cooked down slightly and begins to stick to the bottom of the pot, 6-8 minutes. Season with salt, then keep warm over low heat.
  9. Meanwhile, cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until almost al dente (about 1 minute less than the package directions indicate).
  10. Using a slotted spoon, transfer pasta to pot with sauce. Add 1 cup parmesan, remaining 2 tbsp. butter, and 1 cup pasta cooking liquid.  
  11. Increase heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, until pasta is al dente and sauce is clinging to pasta, about 3 mins.  
  12. 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.  
  13. Divide pasta among bowls, top with more parmesan, then drizzle with olive oil. Serve hot and enjoy!

Look Forward to More Recipes from Our Executive Chef

Since our facility is closed during the COVID-19 crisis, we’re bringing our delicious catering to you! Chef Xavier is sharing some of his favorite recipes that you can enjoy with your families. Check back on our blog for more coming soon!

Categories: Chef Recipes

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