The Very Best Vegan Bolognese

Serves: 8
Takes: 60 mins

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.


Each of our recipes comes with carbon emissions numbers for the base ingredients. If you’re unsure why this is the case, checkout out the about page to find out more.

Name Amount KG CO2e
Puy Lentils 100 g 0.103
Vegetable Stock 1/2 Litre 0.292
Bay Leaves 1 Leaf 0.008
Onion 3 Medium 0.077
Carrot 2 Medium 0.04
Celery 2 Sticks 0.018
Garlic 2 Cloves 0.006
Chestnut Mushrooms 500 g 0.135
Walnuts 150 g 0.227
Soy Sauce 2 Tablespoons 0.013
Red Wine 100 ml 0.241
Paprika 2 Teaspoons 0.016
Red Pepper Flakes 1 Teaspoon 0.008
Dried Oregano 2 Teaspoons 0.016
Sugar 2 Teaspoons 0.001
Balsamic Vinegar 2 Tablespoons 0.063
Tomato Paste 3 Tablespoons 0.14
Plumb Tomatoes 2 400g Cans 0.594
Pasta 600 g 0.978
Olive Oil 4 Tablespoons 0.281
Parsley 25 g 0.02

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

  • Eating this recipe will save around 2.58 CO2e per person.
  • That's equivalent to the emissions produced driving 21.30km in a modern car.


  1. Peel one of the onions and chop in half. Place the onion and bay leaf in a pan, then add the lentils and vegetable stock. Bring to the boil and simmer for 30 minutes or until the lentils are aldente. Drain the lentils, removing the leaf and onion, then reserve until later.
  2. Loosely dice the remaining onions along with the carrots, celery, garlic and mushrooms. Then place the onions, carrots, celery and garlic in a blender and pulse until the vegetable pieces are much finer. Remove the mixture reserve in a bowl for later.
  3. Pour the plumb tomatoes from their cans into a bowl. Lightly crush the tomatoes with your hands. You don't want any large tomato bits left.
  4. Next, blitz the walnuts in a food processor until it resembles a fine crumb. Remove the nuts and place the mushrooms into the blender. Pulse until the mushrooms are shredded but not a paste. Don't be tempted to over process. Add the walnuts back into the blender and blitz for a short time to incorporate. Remove the mixture from the blender and reserve.
  5. Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a deep pan over a low heat and add the onions, carrots, celery, garlic mixture. Cover with a lid and sweat the vegetables for about 10 minutes.
  6. Whilst the mixture is sweating heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a frying pan over a high heat and add the walnut and mushroom mixture. Fry on high for about a couple of minutes, stirring to make sure it doesn't stick. Then add the soy sauce and red wine to the pan and reduce the mixture until none of the moisture remains. This should take 5 - 8 minutes.
  7. Once the mushrooms are done, add them to the sweating onions. Turn the heat up to medium and add the paprika, oregano, sugar and red pepper flakes. Stir the mixture to combine the spices and fry for a minute or two before tipping in the balsamic vinegar and tomato paste. Cook for another minute then add the plumb tomatoes. Reduce the heat of the pan, cover and simmer for 30 minutes.
  8. When the tomato mixture has simmered for 30 minutes. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Then pour in the cooked lentils, cover and cook for a further 10 minutes.
  9. At this point you can cook your pasta. Bring a pan of heavily salted water to the boil on the hob and cook your pasta according to the packet instructions.
  10. Finely chop your parsley and serve the bolognese generously heaped over your pasta and topped with the chopped parsley and some nutritional yeast.

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