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The Very Best Vegan Bolognese

Sometimes you just want something classic. Nothing screams pasta like bolognese and I’ve made it my mission over the last few months to come up with a fool proof vegan bolognese that’s better than the original. You read that right – “better” than the original. This bolognese has everything, salty, umami, crunchy, you name it. Believe me when I say you will not be disappointed with this recipe.

When to eat

Every day should be bolognese day, but to get the best of your veggies I’d recommend eating this dish from September to early March.

The Very Best Vegan Bolognese

Sometimes you just want something classic. Nothing screams pasta like bolognese and I've made it my mission over the last few months to come up with a fool proof vegan bolognese that's better than the original. You read that right – "better" than the original. This bolognese has everything, salty, umami, crunchy, you name it. Believe me when I say you will not be disappointed with this recipe.
4.71 from 34 votes
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 8
Course Main Course, Pasta

This meal is around 87% less polluting than the average UK meal.

Eating this recipe will save around 2.58 KG CO2e per person.

That’s equivalent to the emissions produced driving 21.30 KM in a modern car.

How do I calculate this?

Ingredients

  • 3 Medium Onions (peeled and loosely chopped)
  • 2 Medium Carrots (peeled and loosely chopped)
  • 2 Sticks Celery (loosely chopped)
  • 2 Cloves Garlic (peeled)
  • 500 g Chestnut Mushrooms (loosely chopped)
  • 150 g Walnuts
  • 3 Tablespoons Soy Sauce
  • 100 ml Red Wine
  • 2 Teaspoons Paprika
  • 2 Teaspoons Dried Oregano
  • 2 Teaspoons Sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon Balsamic Vinegar
  • 3 Tablespoons Tomato Paste
  • 2 (400g) Cans Plum Tomatoes (decanted and lightly crushed with your hands so no large pieces remain)
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 25 g Parsley (finely chopped)

Instructions

  • Place the 3 chopped onions, 2 carrots, 2 sticks of celery and 2 cloves of garlic in a food processor and pulse until the vegetables are very finely chopped. Tip the contents into a mixing bowl and reserve until needed.
  • Now tip in the 150g walnuts into the food processor and pulse until it resembles a fine crumb. Remove the nuts and place into a large mixing bowl.
  • Next place the 500g of loosely chopped mushrooms into the food processor. Pulse until the mushrooms are shredded but not a paste. Don't be tempted to over process, you need some texture. Once shredded, add the mushrooms into the mixing bowl with the walnuts and evenly combine.
  • Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a deep pan over a medium-high heat. Tip in the walnut and mushroom mixture and fry for about 5-7 minutes until the mushrooms have lost most of their moisture.
  • Increase the heat of the pan and pour in the 3 tablespoons of soy sauce and 100 ml red wine. Fry the mixture, stirring to make sure it doesn't stick, for about 5 minutes until the red wine has completely reduced and the mushrooms are nicely caramelised. Once cooked, remove the mushrooms from the pan.
  • Reduce the heat of the pan to a low heat and add a further dash of olive oil. Add the onions, carrots, celery, garlic mixture. Cover the pan with a lid and sweat the vegetables for about 5 minutes until they are nice and soft. Make sure they don't catch, if they are starting to brown you have the pan temperature too high.
  • Now add the 2 teaspoons of paprika, 2 teaspoons of dried oregano, 2 teaspoons of sugar, 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar and 3 tablespoons of tomato paste into the pan. Stir to combine the spices evenly throughout the vegetable mixture and fry for a further 30 seconds or so.
  • Tip in the caramelised mushrooms and stir into the cooked vegetables. Then pour over the 2 cans of plum tomatoes, stir to combine. Cover and simmer for 40 minutes. Once simmered your sauce should be nice and rich, season to taste with a good helping of kosher salt and cracked black pepper. Remove from the heat.
  • Serve the bolognese generously heaped over your pasta of choice and topped with the chopped parsley and some nutritional yeast.

Hi i'm Hugo

I started Lowly to help more people discover sustainable food. Planet-friendly food doesn’t have to be bland and boring. My recipes celebrate how diverse and flavourful it truly is.

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9 Comments

Ellie Parkes

July 18, 2020 at 9:30 pm

This was absolutely deliciousss!! Great taste, comforting and definitely a crowd pleaser. 100% recommend for vegans and non-vegans alike. This recipe makes tons which is great because, like standard bolognese, it’s even better the next day. I used packet lentils (which were also cooked in onion and bay leaf) which was a bit naughty but we had them in the house…

    hugo

    July 19, 2020 at 7:51 am

    So great to hear – thanks Ellie! 😍

Craig

May 8, 2022 at 1:07 pm

I don’t know if I missed it but I don’t see the lentil measurements and instructions in the recipe.

    hugo

    June 27, 2022 at 9:38 am

    Hey Craig, I’m assuming you’re coming from the Youtube video. I’ve actually removed the requirement for lentils in this recipe now. So don’t worry about it missing!

      Emma

      October 22, 2022 at 2:37 am

      So unbelievably delicious. I’ve tried a few vegan bolognese recipes and this is by far the best. I’ll absolutely be making this many times in the future. Thank you for a brilliant recipe!

        hugo

        October 22, 2022 at 8:24 am

        Thanks Emma, so nice to hear you enjoyed it

Mark Soderlind

July 22, 2022 at 5:21 pm

Awesome. Tasty.

Mel

October 13, 2022 at 7:49 pm

This has become a fast favourite in my house. It really tastes like that warm, earthy, comforting bolognese that you love to have after a long day. My family love it and can’t believe it isn’t meat or quorn or some meat imitation because the flavour and texture is on point. Although, I don’t often have wine in the house and have put in a wine stock pot when I happen to have one, but do you have any recommendations to add instead of the red wine?

    hugo

    October 22, 2022 at 8:28 am

    Hi Mel, great to hear you enjoyed the recipe. I haven’t found a great replacement for wine in cooking. It’s quite a unique ingredient. However, in the past, I have used a mixture of 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar, 1 tablespoon of soy sauce and 200ml of grape or cranberry juice. That being said, it’s definitely not the same. Sorry, I can’t be more helpful.