With colder months here in Jersey I think we all start to seek out warm comfort foods, right?! Bolognese has always been one of my favorite cold weather meals as it just warms me up from the inside out! Traditionally it is made with meat sauce or even turkey meat to lighten it up a bit. In the past, I have made it both ways and both ways taste delicious to me!
Adding in red wine really takes the taste up a notch too! I used a pinot noir that I was drinking and had some leftover so it worked out great! When it comes to using wine with any cooking I like to suggest that the wine you cook with is the same wine that you drink with as you will taste it throughout your meal.
Now what to use as the base for this yumminess?! There are several possibilities out there from zoodles to keep it low carb, good old spaghetti or bucatini (a thicker noodle) or even ziti to grab all the chunks of meat sauce or in this case veggies! The ziti I used is made with red lentils from Explore Cuisine
As I have begun to eat more plant-based meals, this pasta is great as it has around 11 gram of plant protein per serving! Getting in protein is not as easy as it used to be for me so I am always looking for new plant proteins to incorporate into my meals.
Now while this bolognese skips on the meat it doesn't skimp on flavor with the eggplant, mushrooms oh and of course the pinot noir!
This recipe called for a big batch which I was pleasantly pleased with as it served as leftovers the next day and I even froze some for later (probably a quick lunch during the week!)
A nice piece of Italian bread would go great to soak up anything left in your bowl....I know, I know but that is extra unnecessary carbs but if you go with the zoodle option you can enjoy a small piece, right?!
Bonus - hubby and son both liked it! One day I will get my daughter to explore more foods (sigh!)
1 medium eggplant
1 pound baby bella mushrooms (sliced)
1 medium onion-chopped*
2 carrots peeled and chopped*
2 celery stalks finely chopped*
2 tbs olive oil
1.5 cups drinkable red wine
2 garlic cloves chopped
1 (28oz) can crushed tomatoes (I like Pomi)
¼ cup tomato paste
8 oz pasta or zoodles
1 tsp basil
1 tsp parsley
1 tsp oregano
Seal salt to taste
Optional - fresh grated parm or nutritional yeast
*I like to buy a mirepoix mix so all the work is done already!
- Bake the whole eggplant in the oven at 350F for 1 - 1.5 hours until very tender. Let eggplant cool while preparing the rest.
- Saute mushrooms in large pan over medium-high heat until they have shrunk by half - maybe 8-10 minutes. Set aside.
- Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat until hot. Add in onion, carrot and celery mixture and season with salt to taste (¼ tsp should do). Cook and stir frequently until softened.
- Add garlic, seasonings and tomato paste - cook, until thickened up.
- Once the eggplant is cool, peel and chop small then add to pot along with mushrooms and crushed tomatoes, wine and salt to taste.
- Simmer over low heat with cover for about an hour until sauce thickens. Stir frequently.
- While sauce is cooking, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil for pasta (unless using zoodles)
- Once pasta is cooked, drain and add pasta to the pot of sauce and cook for a few minutes. You can reserve some of the pasta water to add if the sauce is too thick.
- Sprinkle the remaining herbs over and parm cheese if desired.
- Can be stored in the fridge for 3-5 days or frozen for up to 6 months