Easy Vegan Bolognese is a simple and delicious plant-based alternative to the traditional meaty version. It is a hearty and satisfying dinner idea packed full of flavour and perfect any time of the year.
Please, let me introduce one of my favourite recipes from my childhood. I'm sure I am not alone in this, but my family and I have been eating spaghetti bolognese a million times. It was one of my favourite meals when I was a kid.
We always had it with sour cream and cheese on top, and when I became vegan, I knew I had to make it the same way. Since then, I've made this recipe many times, so now it's time to share it with you too!
Have you seen my Vegan Pasta Bake and my Vegan Cauliflower Casserole with Meat-free Mince recipe I shared earlier? They have both been my favourites since I was a kid. Our parents made it for us so many times.
what is vegan bolognese
Vegan Bolognese is a simple and delicious plant-based alternative to the traditional meaty version. It is a rich, hearty and flavourful sauce made without meat or dairy. This versatile sauce can be used with various pasta types, such as spaghetti, penne, linguine, or whatever you have at home and tastes even better the day after.
The best part is that you can adapt this recipe to your preferences and experiment with different vegetables, herbs, or spices. You can also add plant-based proteins like lentils, tofu or soya protein like I did, to enhance the texture and nutritional value.
why you will love it
- Comfort food - This dish is the ultimate comfort food you and your family will love.
- Flavourful - Onion, garlic, chopped tomatoes and all the spices. How could it not be so delicious?
- Easy to make - This recipe is really easy to make using simple ingredients. Fuss-free recipe, hence why I love it!
- Vegan - You don't need any animal products to make this tasty vegan bolognese.
- Perfect for meal prep - You can make it in advance and store it in the refrigerator or freezer.
- Rich and creamy - This recipe is a rich and hearty meal. Adding some dairy-free milk to the sauce will make it extra creamy.
Vegan Bolognese Ingredients
Here's what you will need to make this easy and delicious vegan bolognese recipe:
- Pasta of your choice
- Vegetable oil
- Onion and garlic
- Meat-free mince
- Chopped tomatoes
- Tomato puree
- Veggie stock
- Unsweetened dairy-free milk
- Spices such as basil, oregano, bay leaves, paprika, marjoram, fresh parsley
- Nutritional yeast
- Salt and pepper to taste
For the full recipe and quantities, see the recipe card at the end of the post.
How to Make Vegan Bolognese
Here's a simple recipe for Vegan Bolognese:
- Firstly, chop onion, carrot, and celery. Heat the oil in a large skillet or saucepan over medium heat. Add the chopped onion, carrot and celery with a pinch of salt and sauté for about 5 minutes until it becomes translucent. Then add minced garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes until the vegetables start to soften.
- Add the meat-free mince to the saucepan, cook for a few minutes until it gets softer, and soak up some water and oil.
- Stir in the tomato puree and spices, mix it well and cook for 2-3 minutes. After that add the chopped tomatoes, passata, veggie stock, sugar and bay leaves. If you like it spicy, add red chilli flakes to the sauce. Mix well to combine all the ingredients.
- Lower the heat, put the lid on and let the sauce simmer for 30-40 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking. This will allow the flavours to meld together, and the sauce slightly thickens.
- In the meantime, cook the pasta al dente according to package instructions.
- Lastly, stir in the dairy-free milk, fresh parsley and nutritional yeast, mix it well and cook for another 5-10 minutes and that's it. Your sauce is ready.
- Finally, taste the sauce and adjust the seasonings if needed.
Serve it over the cooked spaghetti or pasta. Garnish with chopped fresh parsley or basil and vegan parmesan. Enjoy!
Hint: I love adding dairy-free sour cream and cheese on top for the extra flavour and creaminess. This is how I and my family have been eating bolognese since I was a kid. So delicious!
Variations And Additions
- Meat Substitute - I've been using soya protein for this recipe. But you can make it with other meat substitutions such as tofu, mushroom or lentils. Check out my lentil bolognese recipe here.
- Herbs - If you don't have the same herbs I've been using, add some mixed or Italian seasonings to the sauce.
- Spice it up - If you enjoy a bit of heat, sprinkle some red pepper flakes into the sauce.
- Bake it - Combine the sauce with your pasta choice, add sour cream and cheese on top and bake it in the oven. Et Voila, you have your delicious pasta bake.
- Add vegetables - This pasta is so versatile. You can add any veggies you like. It would be delicious with red bell peppers, courgette, aubergine or with mushrooms.
what goes with it
This vegan bolognese is so versatile and can be used in various dishes. Serve it with your favourite types of pasta, such as spaghetti, penne, or linguine. It also works well with other grains or as a topping for baked potatoes or roasted vegetables.
Bake some easy and cheesy garlic bread on the side! You will love it! 🙂
If you have any leftovers, you can store this vegan bolognese in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days, and it can be kept in the freezer for up to 3 months. If you are freezing the sauce, thaw it in the refrigerator overnight before reheating it.
- Adding unsweetened dairy milk will make your sauce creamy and help reduce the tomatoes' acidity. This is optional; you can still create a delicious vegan bolognese sauce without it.
- Adding dried herbs like oregano, basil, marjoram and bay leaf to the sauce will provide a savoury and aromatic profile to the bolognese sauce. If desired, sprinkle in some red chilli flakes for a touch of spiciness.
- Cooking the bolognese over low heat allows the flavours to develop and the ingredients to meld together. The sauce will be deeper, thicker and more delicious.
- Adding nutritional yeast will provide a delicious cheesy flavour.
- Add dairy-free sour cream and shredded cheese to your bolognese sauce. Your sauce will be super creamy, cheesy, and flavourful. You can thank me later 😉
Frequently Asked Questions
Vegan Bolognese is a plant-based version of the traditional Italian Bolognese sauce, which typically contains meat and dairy. Vegan Bolognese replaces animal-based ingredients with plant-based alternatives to achieve a similar taste and texture.
There are several meat substitutes you can use in vegan Bolognese, such as textured vegetable protein (TVP), crumbled tofu, tempeh, lentils, mushrooms, or even jackfruit. These options provide different textures and flavors to mimic the meaty component of traditional Bolognese.
Absolutely! Many of the meat substitutes used in vegan Bolognese, such as lentils, mushrooms, and jackfruit, are naturally gluten-free. Ensure that any other ingredients are gluten-free, or use suitable alternatives instead.
Carrots add a natural sweetness to the sauce, which helps balance the acidity of the tomatoes. They also add a different texture to the sauce. Although, if you don't like carrots, you can omit them or replace them with other vegetables that you like.
Absolutely! Feel free to customize the vegetables to your liking. While traditional Bolognese often includes onions, carrots, and celery, you can add other vegetables like bell peppers, courgette, or aubergine for additional flavour and texture.
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