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Vegetarian Bolognese shown on a fork

The meatiest damn vegetarian bolognese.  You’d swear there was meat somewhere in this dish, but there isn’t. My wife likes to be a weekday vegetarian for health reasons, she has found that it has lowered her cholesterol, and I’ve been interested in reducing my meat intake to lower my carbon foot print.

When you are trying to eat vegetarian, what do you do when you are craving that meaty umami flavor? You find vegetarian dishes that pack a meaty umami flavor. 

This vegetarian bolognese is meaty and delicious and if you combine it with zucchini noodles it’s also a tasty clean keto recipe too!


On of the hard things about trying to stick to a weekday vegetarian routine is there are some days that you just need that savory umami flavor of meat. Something about that flavor can really lift your spirits, but how do you achieve that without the meat? It’s all about using the right ingredients.

I’ve been experimenting a lot recently with creating vegetarian and vegan recipes full of umami flavor. There are two main ingredients that I rely heavily on to bring out that flavor. Cremini mushrooms aka baby bella mushrooms and chinese salted black beans. I specifically have been using the Yang Jiang beans. This worked really well in my beef broth replacement, and these ingredients also work great in this recipe. 

Package of Yang Jiang beans next to a small bowl with the beans in it

Mouth feel is also important so I used 2 patties of pure farmland breakfast patties. These patties don’t have much flavor to them, but they do offer a nice ground meat texture to the dish.


Creating a tomato sauce with the right flavor is all about using the right tomatoes. Not all canned tomatoes are the same. Many are too sour and other lack flavor. I have found that italian tomatoes are the best for pasta sauces. There is just something so wonderful about the variety of tomatoes that are grown in Italy. For this recipe  I used Cento italian whole canned tomatoes and crushed tomatoes for this recipe. 


I’ve been working on lowering my carb intake to reduce my insulin resistance and this is a great recipe to use keto noodles in.

You’ve probably heard of using spiralized zucchini noodles. If you are like me maybe you have tried the frozen ones looking for an easy short cut. If you experience was like mine you were really disappointed! Heating up the frozen zucchini noodles turns into a disgusting soggy mess. 

Lightly fried zucchini noodles on a plate

The key is to make fresh spiralized zucchini noodles right before you are about to use them, and it’s not as hard as you would think. The key is the right tool. I used the Paderno world cuisine with the spiralizer attachment it’s inexpensive fast and easy to use and easy to clean up. 

The second thing I learned was not to boil the noodles, but quickly fry them in a bit of olive oil and a touch of salt. This enhances their flavor and actually adds to the flavor of this meal. 


Stick blender – with a food processor attachment. The Braun Multiquick with the food processor attachment is easy to clean and makes chopping the vegetables up easy. 
Spiralizer – If you want to make this recipe keto using spiral zucchini is a great way to do it. I used the Paderno world cuisine with the spiralizer attachment. It works really well and is very affordable! 


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Recipe by Tim Martin Course: MainCuisine: ItalianDifficulty: Easy


Prep time


Cooking time




  • 1 yellow onion

  • 3-4 cloves of garlic

  • 2 pure farmland vegetarian breakfast patties

  • 2 stalks of celery

  • 2 carrots

  • 1lb cremini mushrooms

  • 1 28 oz can of Cento whole peeled Italian tomatoes.

  • 1 28 oz can of Cento crushed tomatoes

  • 1/4 cup of vegetarian beef broth

  • 1 1/2 tsp. rinsed, soaked and mashed Yang Jiang black beans

  • 1/2 cup half and half

  • For the keto noodles
  • 2 large zucchini


  • Finely chop the celery, carrots and mushrooms in a food processor. I did each vegetable individually and then set them aside in a bowl.
  • Using a stick blender in a bowl roughly chop the whole canned tomatoes with juice.
  • Dice onion
  • Thinly slice the garlic, I think this adds a nice look to the sauce. Alternatively you could also mince the garlic
  • Heat a pot with oil, add in the onions and fry until translucent 3-5 min.
  • Add in the two veggie patties and break up in to small pieces.
  • Add the garlic and fry for 1 min being carful not to let the garlic burn.
  • Add in the roughly chopped canned tomatoes, the can of crushed tomatoes, the veggie stock and the mashed Chinese black beans. Let simmer for 1 1/2 to 2 hours stirring occasionally. You want the sauce to boil down a bit.
  • Turn off the heat and add in the half and half and stir.
  • Keto noodles
  • Spiralize the noodles.
  • Heat a frying pan with olive oil over medium high heat, add in some of the zucchini noodles enough to be able to toss them in the oil with out over crowding the pan. Salt and toss for about 1 min. Repeat for all of the noodles that you will need.
  • Combine the sauce with the noodles in a serving bowl. Use just enough sauce to coat the noodles with out too much excess sauce. Serve!

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