Plant-Based ‘Wafu-Style’ Bolognese

Plant-based Bolognese

Chef Dawn McClung

Piada Italian Street Food

Columbus, Ohio

Wafu-style blends the culinary techniques and flavors of Japanese and Italian cuisines, as showcased in this pasta recipe. Tomatoes, mushrooms, onions, carrots and garlic partner with soy sauce and soy milk to create a savory Bolognese sauce that mimics meaty flavors without the traditional meat. Cooked quinoa adds the right texture to the sauce. A long pasta, such as bucatini, spaghetti or linguine works best with this recipe.


½ cup canola oil

2½ lb. white onions, peeled and diced small

1½ lb. celery, diced small

1½ lb. carrots, shredded

1½ lb. white mushrooms, diced small

5 oz. garlic cloves, minced

2½ cups soy sauce

1 tbsp. sugar

3 tbsp. Italian seasoning

2 tbsp. garlic powder

1½ tbsp. cracked pepper

1 tbsp. kosher salt

15 lb. crushed tomatoes

1 2/3 cups quinoa

Salt and pepper, to taste

2½ cups organic soymilk

5-6 lb. bucatini, spaghetti and linguine, cooked and drained


  1. In 20-qt. over medium heat, warm canola oil. Stir in onion, celery, carrots and mushrooms. Saute 10 minutes or until onions and celery are translucent.
  2. Add garlic into pot and sauté for 3 to 4 minutes, until garlic begins to brown. Pour in soy sauce to deglaze pan.
  3. Stir in sugar, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, pepper, salt, tomatoes and quinoa; stir to incorporate. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 40 to 45 minutes, until quinoa is tender.
  4. Taste and adjust salt and pepper as needed, then add soymilk. Heat an additional 5 minutes. Serve over your favorite pasta.

Photo courtesy of Kikkoman

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