RECIPES

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.

Ingredients

Name Amount
Puy Lentils 100 g
Vegetable Stock 1/2 Litre
Bay Leaves 1 Leaf
Onion 3 Medium
Carrot 2 Medium
Celery 2 Sticks
Garlic 2 Cloves
Chestnut Mushrooms 500 g
Walnuts 150 g
Soy Sauce 2 Tablespoons
Red Wine 100 ml
Paprika 2 Teaspoons
Red Pepper Flakes 1 Teaspoon
Dried Oregano 2 Teaspoons
Sugar 2 Teaspoons
Balsamic Vinegar 2 Tablespoons
Tomato Paste 3 Tablespoons
Plumb Tomatoes 2 400g Cans
Pasta 600 g
Olive Oil 4 Tablespoons
Parsley 25 g

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.

Method

  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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    2 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! 😍