Walnut and Mushroom Ragu

Walnut and Mushroom Ragu

Looking for a filling, plant-based meal to switch things up? This walnut and mushroom ragu is sure to impress you and your family! Filled with flavor and bursting with nutrition, this recipe is one that you will turn to again and again. Plus, it’s easy to whip up, as you can get it on the table in under an hour.

Pasta dishes, like this one, are great ways to utilize vegetables, canned tomatoes, and other add-ins. For example, walnuts and cremini mushrooms are both great plant-based ingredients to use when bumping up the hardiness factor of a dish. They are easy to add, and enhance both the flavor and nutriton content to keep you full and satisfied. Additionally, these ingredients add a fun textural element to your pasta dish, which provides a different spin on a family favorite.

This recipe also includes canned tomatoes, which are a great source of vitamin C, fiber, potassium, and lycopene, an antioxidant with anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties. Plus, canned tomatoes actually have a higher lycopene content than fresh, as the cooking and canning process enhances the availability of the nutrient, making it easier for your body to absorb. Additionally, canned tomatoes are a great shelf stable product that is affordable and also good for the environment. What’s not to love about that?!

You can feel good about serving this Walnut and Mushroom Ragu to your family, and they will delight in the complex flavors. To make this meal extra special, serve with a simple side salad dressed with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Whether you’re enjoying it for a Sunday family dinner or a simple weeknight meal, you’ll be satisfied.

Get the full recipe for Walnut and Mushroom Ragu by visiting our friends at California Walnuts.

For other delicious pasta recipes, check out some of our favorites:

Puttanesca Pasta
Pasta with Marinara and Roasted Vegetables
Antipasto Salad with Pasta

California Walnut Firehouse Chili

California Walnut Firehouse Chili

Are you looking for a new recipe to switch things up? This California Walnut Firehouse Chili recipe is a definite winner. With only 30 minutes of cook time, this recipe may become your go-to weeknight dinner! This isn’t your average chili. The secret ingredient here is California Walnuts! The walnuts will give a great crunch on top as well as a boost of healthy fats. All you need to do is sauté your vegetables, season, add the canned tomatoes, walnuts, and beans and simmer! The dish can then be topped with hot sauce and fresh cilantro for an extra burst of flavor. The best thing about this dish is that you can add any other veggies that you like or are in season!

The base of the sauce for this chili dish is canned tomatoes. Adding tomatoes is a great way to not only add flavor to this dish, but to add tons of nutrition as well. Although fresh tomatoes could be used in this recipe, canned tomato sauce will cook more quickly and is more nutritious! Canned tomatoes are picked when they are perfectly ripe and then cooked before being canned. Cooking tomatoes makes them even more nutritious because it allows the lycopene to be absorbed better in the body.

The next time you are at the grocery store, pick up some canned tomatoes to use in your recipes! They are an affordable and sustainable option that is great for health. When shopping for canned tomatoes at the grocery store, be sure to choose cans that are free of any dents, cracks, or any kind of deformities.

Get the full recipe for California Walnut Firehouse Chili by visiting our friends at California Walnuts.

California Walnut Muhammara

California Walnut Muhammara

Have you ever tried Muhammara? It is Mediterranean spread made with roasted peppers, tomato paste, and paprika. This dish is so simple yet bursting with flavor. The entire recipe involves no cooking and can be made in just a few minutes! This recipe for California Walnut Muhammara is great to serve as a side dish or can be a great appetizer when entertaining friends.

A great thing about this recipe is its versatility. While it is recommended to serve alongside bread or fresh vegetables, you can serve this spread with almost anything that you like! This entire recipe can be made in the food processor for easy cleanup. Start by blending your walnuts, add your roasted peppers, tomato paste, and spices, and puree until smooth! Don’t forget to top your Muhammara with olive oil, parsley, and more walnuts! This dish is best served with a side of freshly toasted bread.

This recipe is filled with nutrient rich veggies, but the real star of the show are the tomatoes! Did you know that canned tomatoes are even more nutritious than fresh tomatoes? This is because they are cooked prior to being packaged. The cooking process allows our bodies to absorb lycopene, an antioxidant, much more easily than in fresh tomatoes. Lycopene is an antioxidant and is effective in preventing many diseases such as heart disease and cancer. The next time your recipe calls for tomatoes, grab a can of tomatoes and know that you are choosing a healthy option!

Get the full recipe for California Walnut Muhammara by visiting our friends at California Walnuts.

Lentil Walnut Bolognese with Spaghetti

Lentil Walnut Bolognese with Spaghetti

Tomato products provide just the right amount of pizzazz to pasta recipes, such as this hearty, plant-based Lentil Walnut Bolognese with Spaghetti dish. The deep red color of tomatoes is a calling card for lycopene—the plant compound linked with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity. In fact, lycopene is more available to the body in its cooked form, as in cooked tomato products, like pasta sauce, canned tomatoes, and tomato paste. Including these healthy plant foods in your diet more often is linked with prostate cancer protection.

Eating more pulses—beans, lentils, dried peas—is a healthy, cancer-fighting strategy too. In this super easy, one-dish meal, you swap out a traditional meat-based sauce for a tomato-forward, lentil and walnut Bolognese sauce, smothered over spaghetti noodles. Savory and delicious, your whole family will love it. Plus, it’s easy on the pocketbook and makes great leftovers the next day!

Check out the video for this delicious, plant-based recipe here.

Yield: 6 servings

Lentil Walnut Bolognese with Spaghetti

Lentil Walnut Bolognese with Spaghetti

Tomato products provide just the right amount of pizzazz to pasta recipes, such as this hearty, plant-based Lentil Walnut Bolognese with Spaghetti dish.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes


  • 1 cup brown lentils, dried
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 stalks celery, finely chopped
  • 1 medium carrot, finely shredded
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped walnuts
  • 1 28-ounce can crushed or diced tomatoes, with juice
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce, reduced sodium
  • 1/3 cup red wine
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning blend
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon salt (optional)
  • 12 ounces spaghetti noodles, uncooked
  • Garnish: 1/3 cup chopped fresh basil


  1. Place a Dutch oven or large saucepan on medium heat and add lentils and water to the pot. Cover with a lid, bring to a simmer, and cook for 10 minutes.
  2. Remove lid and continue to cook lentils for about 2 minutes until almost tender and liquid is absorbed.
  3. Add olive oil, finely chopped onion, minced garlic, finely chopped celery, finely shredded carrot, and finely chopped walnuts, and cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
  4. Add canned tomatoes, tomato paste, soy sauce, red wine, Italian seasoning, black pepper, and salt (optional). Stir well and cover. Simmer for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until thickened and vegetables are tender.
  5. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to boil to cook pasta. Add dry spaghetti noodles, and cook until al dente, according to package instructions (about 7 minutes). Drain noodles in colander.
  6. To serve: Divide spaghetti noodles among 6 serving plates or pasta bowls (about 1 ¼ cups each). Top with 1 cup of Bolognese sauce. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon chopped basil. Alternatively, place spaghetti noodles in one large serving bowl, Bolognese sauce in another large serving bowl, and chopped basil in a small dish, allowing guests to serve themselves as desired.


Recipe, video and photography created for AICR by Sharon Palmer, MSFS, RDN, The Plant-Powered Dietitian.