Scott Rounds
Active Time
40 Mins
Total Time
2 Hours
Serves 12 (serving size: about 2/3 cup pasta and 2/3 cup Bolognese)

When it comes to meat sauces, Bolognese is the heavyweight champion of the pasta world, clocking in at over 800 calories with almost 1,800mg sodium. The traditional dish has a rich cast of characters—up to three kinds of meat, cream, cheese, pasta—and packs half a day’s worth of sat fat into just one serving. Here, tempeh and two types of mushrooms mimic the texture of ground meat while adding plenty of savory depth. By upping the veggies and nixing the cream, we leave plenty of room for the good stuff—Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. Simmering the cheese rind with the sauce infuses the sauce with full-bodied flavor and salty tang. Our version delivers classic satisfaction for less than half the calories and 1,300mg less sodium than the standard.

How to Make It

Step 1

Toast fennel seeds, red pepper, and bay leaves in a skillet over medium for 2 minutes, stirring often, until fragrant. Cool 10 minutes. Transfer to a spice mill (or mortar and pestle); finely grind. Set aside.

Step 2

Place porcini mushrooms and 1 1/2 cups warm water in a bowl; let stand 15 minutes. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup soaking liquid. Finely chop mushrooms; set aside.

Step 3

Pulse shiitake mushrooms, onion, carrots, and celery in a food processor until finely chopped, 10 to 12 times.

Step 4

Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium. Add tempeh; cook 5 minutes or until golden. Add shiitake mixture, salt, and pepper; cook 10 minutes or until softened. Add garlic, ground spices, and chopped porcinis; cook 5 minutes or until mixed well.

Step 5

Pulse tomatoes in a food processor until finely chopped, 8 to 10 times.

Step 6

Stir chopped tomatoes, milk, wine, cheese rind, oregano, basil, sugar, and reserved 1/2 cup porcini soaking liquid into tempeh mixture in Dutch oven. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer, partially covered, stirring occasionally, about 1 hour. Remove cheese rind; stir in grated cheese.

Step 7

Cook spaghetti per package directions. Toss with butter to coat; serve with Bolognese; garnish with fresh basil, if desired.

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